Instructor: Amanda Nelson
Note: Week one class lectures will be released on June 1st but your instructor will not join the classroom until Monday, June 4 due to participation in the FDSA Training Camp. This class will be extended to July 15th to allow for this delay.
During this class, Amanda will be teaching her foundation training system that she uses with all of her dogs for distance skill training.
She will be going over all of her ground work exercises that teach a strong connection between dog and handler. These exercises also teach the dog confidence, which is crucial to distance work.
Students will learn how to apply pressure and when to apply pressure for distance work as well as close up work.
All of these exercises will focus on the groundwork skills needed for more advanced distance work that we will cover in the Advanced Distance and Directionals class.
Whether you have a young dog just starting their agility career or a more advanced dog that you would like to increase their distance skills, this class will teach a solid foundation for fast, fun distance work! This is a foundations class that will not be using a lot of equipment and will be working on building confidence with groundwork and cone exercises.
Intro to Distance Preview video
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 12:00 Noon Pacific Time.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Gold Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to post questions and videos to the course forums. Students will receive instructor feedback on written and video assignments.
Silver Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to participate in the discussion forum. Students may ask GENERAL questions about course materials and may submit two, one-minute videos for instructor feedback. Any questions specific to your dog MUST be accompanied by a video.
Bronze Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to read all questions and answers posted in the class forums. Students will not post questions or submit written or video assignments.
For more details, refund policies, and answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Week 1 - What is distance work and how do we use it?
Introducing Cone work
Week 2- How to reward and different kinds of rewards
Adding more distance to the cone work
Rewarding for distance and close work
Week 3 - Introducing multiple cones/increasing distance while working on handler cues and timing
Week 4 - Cone Patterns/ Introducing Barrels
Week 5 - Using targets with cone/barrel patterns
Lesson 6 - Lateral vs. vertical distance/distance drills and patterns
Road cones - 3-4
Barrels - 2-3 (trash cans can be used, or mesh compost barrels)
Target plate or mat
Hi Everyone and Welcome to Intro to Distance!
In this class we will be covering how I begin teaching my dog’s their distance skills. I do lots and lots of foundation work and this is what that class will be focusing on!
In future distance classes we will be working towards more equipment and course work, but in order to get there, we have to have a strong foundation!
So what is distance?
Distance is a skill I teach my dogs that I can use in Chances, Gamblers or FAST. I can also use this skill in Regular agility or any of the classes I run with my dog. What I love about distance training and teaching my dogs the skills for distance work is that distance is all about CONFIDENCE!
The dog’s must be very confident to really excel in distance work, so right from the beginning in my foundation training I want to be building their confidence. And not only do the dog’s need to be confident for distance work, but so do the handlers! :-D
So you will see that with these exercises I will start everyone really nice and close to their dogs, I want everyone in their “comfort” zone. Once both the dog and the handler can nail that exercise from their comfort zone, then we will start to add some distance. It will only be a couple feet, and then we will work from that distance until the whole team can do the exercise happy and confident! We will keep moving in those steps, really working on that exercise until the dog and the handler both feel secure and confident, then we will start to add more distance, small steps!
If we move through these exercises each at our own pace and with our own small steps it will pay off in the end! Not everyone is going to move through this class at the same pace, so remember to not push your dog to fast or hold him back, I want to work with everyone at their own speed! :-D
So the big thing to remember during this class, is small steps! And if either you or your dog start to lose confidence, back up a step! Trust me, you will love it in the end if you take nice small steps and really build that trust and confidence!
So for our first lesson we are going to talk about Base Cues. I am very body language dependent with my dogs, so what this means is that they will “read” my body language first and then I will confirm that cue with my verbal.
For example, if I am giving an Out Cue, my arm should be out and I am pushing with my lower body, I will be giving a verbal Out along with that body language. So my verbal cue is backing up my body language cue.
There are some cases where the dog will need to rely on more verbal than body language if the handler is layering some equipment or the handler is not in view. We will be covering that in the Intermediate Distance Skills class that is starting next term.
My Base cues are: ] ( we will lightly touch upon this directionals in this class, but they are covered more in depth in the Directionals 101 class)
Out – Means for the dog to move away from me
Here – Means for the dog to move toward me
Switch – Means for the dog to turn away from me
Tight – Means for the dog to turn VERY tight toward me
Those are the directional and distance commands that I consider my “must have” commands and what I base my more advanced verbal commands from.
The video below goes over my Base Cues and what they mean
One of the biggest things with distance work is that you have a black and white view of your commands, you should be able to explain exactly what each cue means to your dog and what you expect your dog to do when that cue is given.
Part of your homework this week is to show me what you consider your Base Cues, the cues you feel that you would use the most when training/trialing. Submit a video showing you and dog performing your different cues and then also write out for me what each cue is, and what they mean. (Similar to my write-up above)
The second part of your homework is to start working on your footwork! :-D
During this class not only will we be building your dogs confidence and distance skills but we will also be fine tuning your verbal cues and your body language cues.
Most all dogs (there are always a few exceptions to the rule) read the handlers lower body and will cue from that first. So I really focus on proper foot work and cueing my dogs with my feet and lower body. So I do a lot of practice to focus my feet to where I want them to go. The below video shows me doing some footwork exercises, you should be able to watch my feet and see exactly where my dog will go around the cone. My upper body will be my second cue and is also my defining cue, my feet should push them in the direction I want them to go and then my upper body (my arms and shoulders) really fine tune that direction and my verbal confirms everything for the dog.
The below video shows some footwork drills and I go over my Lower, Upper Body and Verbal Cues
So for the second part of your homework I want you to show me some footwork drills, It doesn’t have to be exactly like my video but I should be able to tell where you would be sending your dog.
I am HUGE fan of practicing handling and footwork without our dogs, really get that repetition and our bodies tuned in to what we want to do before we bring our dogs out. J
A sampling of what prior students have said about this course .......
Amanda is very responsive to each student's needs. Bronze turned out to be my best choice because we added a puppy to our family. You know how much time attention they need!!! She's faster than mercury going down a glass hill so I knew we were going to need distance assistance; I won't be able to handle her any other way! P.S. It is also helping my 8-year-old dog work away from me. Thanks heaps!!!!
I really enjoyed learning the foundations for distance with my young dog. This class focused strongly on my footwork and body language. I feel that this base will help to build better communication with my dog. He has already improved wonderfully with his distance and sends. Looking forward to the next level.
A great and fun course, with an enthusiastic teacher, with a lot of material to go over, video and written to explain everything very clearly. Learned a lot! Thanks! Gerry V.
Brilliant course for dogs just starting distance work in agility. Whether young dogs or old ones that are already used to sticking to their handlers. I really enjoyed the course and even though my dog was already very skilled when it comes to distance we still improved and I fine tuned my handling.
This was an excellent class that would make a perfect introduction to Agility for any dog, whether or not distance is even a particular concern. The exercises were highly valuable. Even after almost 10 years competing in the sport of Agility, I learned quite a lot. Kristine
Amanda not only has a ton of technical skill, but she is very positive and encouraging to her students. Tho I was only in the class at bronze level, I still benefited from her constructive attitude - I felt much more inclined to try out, film, and review the exercises. I will definitely be signing up for the next class in this sequence!
I REALLY LIKED how she broke down this class into small, achievable steps! I trained for 3 years but we just never got the distance thing. I can honestly say, I think we can be successful; not that we don't need more training but I SEE the difference in my dog and in me and I know we are going to be able to get this. Amanda is a VERY positive trainer, not only with her dogs, but with her students too! She is at the top of her game both as an exhibitor and a teacher!
Thank you, Amanda! I learned a lot I can apply myself and/or use for my students. I loved the personal attention for every gold with solutions fit to the handler dog combination in front of you. I'm looking forward to seeing you when you visit the Netherlands for you seminar (really hope that will become a reality!)