Ketschker vs Wrap vs Jaakko vs What?
Are we talking about dog agility or are these fancy food names on a ritzy menu? Uh, yes, could I get my Wrap with Ketschker and a Jaakko on the rocks, please? All kidding aside these are some of the handling techniques used over jumps. Now, I will admit I have to watch a video several times to see the differences and my runs aren’t so advanced that a few tenths of a second is going to help. But it is still very interesting to watch the difference it makes on runs that are polished and well advanced and fun to know what you are watching and be able to identify them while watching top teams compete on the same course.
When you are watching a team perform a jump wrap you will see that it happens when a dog collects before a jump so that it can jump and land all while turning. The turn is considered a wrap when the dog turns 90 degrees or more or in other words when the dog’s path goes back past the jump they just took.
Really there is only one way a dog can properly execute a tight wrap and that is for the handler to cue the dog before the dog commits to the jump. Stands to reason as the dog cannot make substantial changes mid air nor if the jump is initiated at the wrong angle. The dog has to have time to set-up for the departure, flight and landing before taking the jump. Because of this if your dog lands straight and has to make a wide turn, it is evident the dog was cued late or confused.
So how many kinds of jump wraps are there? I found eight variances of jump wraps. Some are a combination of different handling moves and some are so close there is debate on if they warrant a separate classification. Yet, many find those slight differences make a big impact on the way their dog handles the jump and therefore believe it warranted.
The Post Turn/Shoulder Pull Jump Wrap is one of the easiest and therefore one of the first that handlers learn execute with their dogs. As you approach the jump you will have your dog on the outside arm of the coming turn and thus you simply pivot around and your dog stays on the same side of the handler throughout the sequence. Though the easiest it can also turn into the sloppiest causing wide turns without pre-cues for the dog to collect before the jump. Some fix this issue by teaching a verbal wrap cue that can be given to give the dog a heads up and get his attention onto the handler instead of the jump tightening the turn. Others will draw the dog back to them by actually stepping backward in the pivot to draw the dog back to them.
Another basic jump wrap is the Blind Cross Jump Wrap that normally starts with the easy Post Turn where the handler accelerates and starts the Blind Cross as soon as the dog commits to the jump. Though it sounds like an easy move the handler has to be careful they don’t inadvertently send the dog to an off course obstacle if they don’t establish contact with the dog upon landing and if the landing is too wide.
Another classic Jump Wrap is the Front Cross. In this jump wrap the dog is sent over the jump using the arm nearest the dog and as the dog decelerates and takes the jump the handler turns toward the dog and changes arms thereby turning the dog by crossing the dog’s path and causing the dog to cross the handler’s path and change to the handlers other side. Thus, Front Cross. Of course, it goes without saying that a late cue will cause a wide turn as the dog is in the air not knowing where to go.
The Scoop Jump Wrap, often used with the Front Cross, would be used where the handler and dog start out on opposite sides of a jump with the handler being on the landing side and the dog jumping into the handler and then taking the handler’s path. Another advanced jump wrap as the handler must get ahead of the dog and around the standard to complete the move and the dog must be familiar with the technique and able to jump collected.
A variation on the Front Cross Jump Wrap is the Reverse Front Cross also known as the Backy Uppy Jump Wrap. With the Reverse Front Cross the handler faces the dog on approach to the jump and cues the front cross before the dog ever takes the jump. This is done while the handler backs up drawing the dog over the jump. This technique works well for dogs that are familiar with the cue to produce nice tight jump wraps.
A far more difficult jump wrap to get tight is the Rear Cross Jump Wrap due to the nature that the handler is behind the dog and may not be able to effectively give the dog cues to decelerate and collect for the turn. It is used for distance handling and could safely be said that when using it this way you need solid and loud verbal cues to help your dog set up for the jump wrap. It can also be used successfully if the jump is at a sharp angle or approaching the jump from the side.
The Ketschker which is a Reverse Front Cross to Blind Cross has it’s origins in the European scene and until recently, not used much anywhere else. Shunned a bit in the US due to the “blind cross” portion making it one of the most difficult wraps to perform without proper execution and exact timing. It can be a double blind cross as the handler loses sight of the dog and the dog loses sight of the handler’s cues. But when done correctly and with precision it can shave as much as a half second from a run time. To execute the Ketschker the handler cues a Reverse Front Cross Jump Wrap and when the dog is committed to the jump, the handler looks over their shoulder, step forward and present the new arm putting the dog on the opposite side of the handler.
And the final wrap being the Jaakko, a blind straight blind cross into a blind cross curved. The Jaakko mainly differs from the Ketschker in that the handler throws the dog across their body forward to cue the wrap while in the Ketschker the handler rocks their body backward to cue the wrap. This were there is some debate as to whether the two wraps are different enough to warrant different names. The proof is in the pudding as dogs themselves testify that the small difference between the two wraps makes a big difference to them. Some will read it incorrectly and cost you precious time while others will read it brilliantly and shave milliseconds off your time that could mean a first place.
And that cleared things up nicely wouldn’t you say? It will take practice and lots of videos to perfect these wraps and find the ones that work best for you and your dog so take your time and experiment. Maybe you can even develop a new one and get it named after you. And as they say in show biz, that’s a wrap!
I would like to thank AgilityNerd.com, GermanShepherds.com, and MuddyDogs.blogspot.com for all their expertise in dog agility and on the jump wrap debates. If you have additional comments or information feel free to share it with us.