Rusty was taught the basic tunnel command about a year ago when we were attending agility classes during the autumn, and then after the classes stopped I received a tunnel as a Christmas present so was able to continue practising with her.
Over this past summer Rusty and I have put a lot of work into our jumping skills, but I decided recently that the tunnel had been neglected a bit, so brought it out again at the weekend. It is fair to say that Rusty was a little rusty (if you’ll forgive the pun) and we had a few slip-ups in our session, most of which have been included in the video at the end of this post.
To begin with I calmly walked her to the tunnel entrance – this was just to refresh her memory and get her used to running through the tunnel again.
Then I added a jump directly in front of the tunnel, which encouraged her to gain speed towards the tunnel. As Rusty is less confident with the tunnel she hasn’t quite begun to ‘lock’ onto it in the same way that she does with jumps, so this exercise was also intended to help her with that.
Once Rusty had got the hang of running to the entrance in a straight line, I added a bit more challenge to the sequence by placing two jumps curving around towards the tunnel. She still found this relatively easy although I found that I had to be much closer to her to guide her to the tunnel entrance (when we are just working over jumps I can handle her from a greater distance which makes our routine much smoother).
From here I added a jump next to the tunnel with a sharp turn into it – I like including sharp turns in our training as it teaches her that whilst I want her to be independent and to work away from me at speed, she must also continue to listen to what I am telling her to do and not just zoom off in the direction that she wants to go in!
My final exercise was asking a much greater question of her – I incooperated a 180 degree turn between a jump and the tunnel, linking in our previous training sessions (see my blog post from October on this subject). As she prefers to stick nearer to me when the tunnel is involved, this was tricky for her to complete and I really had to lead her round to it.
Her lack of confidence here resulted in some moments of confusion where she skips along next to me unsure of where to go next, but we figured it out in the end!
There are some clips from our training session in the video below.