Posted 18 July 2012 - 09:41 AM
I got a lot of flack not all that long ago on the NADAC list when I complained about how god damn annoying it is when people go around the course shouting the name of every obstacle they wish their dog to take, usually in a fairly high-pitched tone of voice.
Even worse is watching these handlers on a Hoopers course -- I want to stick a fork in my ears when I hear them HOOTING out, "Hoop! Hoop! Hoop! Hoop!" Come on, there are 22 hoops out there in the ring with you. Do you really think that your dog needs to be told, "Hoop!" when there are no other obstacles to take??
Once the dog has a basic understanding of agility and handling, they should know that the name of the game is to follow the path that the handler gives them and to take any obstacles which end up in that path.
The more words we throw that them, especially if those words are fairly meaningless to the dog, essentially trains them to tune us out. How is the dog supposed to differentiate between the mundane (Jump! Jump! Jump!) and the truly important cues (Come! Turn! Switch! Out!)? If you eliminate the pointless stuff, the important stuff has more of an impact on the dog and they don't have to concentrate so much on trying to figure out if you are actually giving them an important directive.
I will occasionally name the tunnel on course because my dogs find it motivating and it can give a boost in speed. I name the teeter so they know to put on the brakes and not go flying over it like it's a dog walk. The weaves are named so that they collect as required to make the entry. Dog walk and a-frame are both "up" and I will almost always use that cue, if nothing else to solidify the obstacle name for times of discrimination.
But to sit and call out every jump on course... Well, I just find it annoying. Not enough to do anything about it, but I tend to inwardly roll my eyes when I hear it. Mostly because I just think it's pointless, and in the case of many teams I see locally -- Not helping their cause at all.
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