Dog Agility Handling Terminology

handling_mapIf you are fairly new to dog agility then you may have heard or read terms and wondered what they meant. Or maybe your friends talk agility and you feel left out. Well, we put together a list of some of the more difficult handling terms to not only know, but also perform.

180 Turn – A transition between two obstacles performed so that the dog makes a 180° turn to the left or right. (see diagram).

270 Turn – A transition between two obstacles performed so that the dog makes a 270° turn to the left or right. Also known as a German turn. (see diagram).

Blind Cross – Handler crosses in front of the dog with the handler’s back to the dog. For that moment the handler has to take their eyes off of the dog.

Course Fault – Any fault incurred while running a course. Errors such as refusals, dropped bars, missed contacts, and wrong courses are course faults.

Forward Send – Sending the dog forward ahead of the handler.

Front Cross – Any maneuver where the handler changes sides in front of the dog’s direction of motion. This cross enables the handler to keep their eyes on the dog and is usually done as the dog performs an obstacle in prep for the next. Also called the Belgium Cross or Axford Axel.

Lateral Lead Out – The handler goes to a position that is off to the side (lateral) of the dogs position at the start line.

Lateral Send – Sending the dog away from the handlers path, handy to avoid traps.

Lead Out – The handler goes out ahead of the dog at the start line. This enables the handler to get ahead of a fast dog or help avoid a trap early in the course.

Lead Out Pivot – A Lead Out Pivot is used when a front cross is needed early in the course. The handler goes out ahead of the dog at the start-line to the position where a front-cross would occur. The handler turns (pivots) when the dog is committed to taking the previous obstacle.

Offset Line – A line of jumps that are not directly in front of each other but the dog can still see a line (see diagram).

Pinwheel – A circle of obstacles, normally jumps that require the dog to take them in a circular pattern.

Post Turn – The handler rotates next to the standard or wing of the jump.

Pull Through – The handler calls the dog through two obstacles.

Push – A verbal and/or physical cue is given for the dog to execute the backside of a jump.

Rear Cross – The handler crosses behind the dog to execute a side change and indicate a turn usually performed as the dog commits to the current obstacle.

Reverse Flow Pivot (RFP) – The handler turns around and faces their dog which reverses the handler’s flow of motion and draws the dog into you.

Serpentine – Three obstacles that you could do two front-crosses to indicate the change of direction but can also be done with handler remaining on the same side (see diagram).

Slicing – The dog executes the jump at an angle.

Threadle – The handler pulls the dog through two obstacles to execute the obstacles on the same side (see diagram).

V-set – The handler resets the dogs path by recreating their line into a V (see diagram).

Wrap – A verbal and physical cue to the dog directed over a jump to turn back neatly around the wing or standard in the direction from which he came.

Zoomies – A display of canine exuberance in which the dog runs around the ring out of control of the handler, but having a terrific time nonetheless.

There are many more terms floating around the practice and competition ring, but hopefully this is a good start to help you better understand what is being said. Start looking for the handling techniques at trials, practices and even videos to help you see the differences, benefits and even downfalls of them all.