The Ever Evolving Sport of Dog Agility

Cik and CapThough I have never heard these terms; cik and cap, zip and zap, trick and track or the like then you are probably hearing someone that is a follower of Silvia Trkman.  What are these terms referring to you ask, they are different commands she uses and teaches for jumping with collection.  She also has a third jump cue which is hop.

“Cik and Cap” tell the dogs to jump collected, legs under the body and land as close to the wing as possible and already turned in the direction indicated.  “Cik” being left and Cap being right.  While “hop” tells her dogs to jump with extension or distance.  They are expected to jump stretched out and land as far away from the jump as they can.

Obviously, these cues are for a more experienced or competition driven handler as many of us starting out are having enough trouble keeping up with our dogs and remembering a jump is a jump not a tunnel.  But there is a catch and a reason that I say a competition driven handler.  Silvia has found that older dogs not taught on body awareness and trick training may have a hard time learning to collect over a jump.  Why?  They don’t know where their back feet are and how to use them efficiently.

This isn’t because they can’t, it is because they have develop their way of movement and are relying on what comes natural.  There are dogs that are natural collected jumpers and thus are super at tight turns, but because of the collected jumping style lose time jumping lines slow.  Others that are natural extended jumpers find it hard to make the tight turns and lose time on course with a lot of turns and fly through courses with lines.  There are very, very few dogs that do both naturally.  So, the handler has to learn how to help his dog with his “unnatural” jumping or just lose time on course.

Silvia treats extended jumping and collected jumping as two different behaviors just like a bar jump is different from a spread jump.  The dog has to use his body differently, so if you can teach him a command that lets him know what to do, he will become better and enjoy his job more.  The better you become at letting your dog know where he should when he can make adjustments the easier it becomes and a better team you become.

The best part about this is that if you are interested in gaining more control of your courses and helping your dog learn to love turns it is easy to start.  Just taking minutes a day to work on body awareness and tricks will get you well on your way to your goal of a better agility dog all around as well as preparing them for jumping skills.