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Vocabulary Reboot Part I: Threadles

I've been thinking a lot about threadles lately. It's something that historically, I've handled my way out of, rather than training, for the most part. I love training. I went to ALL of the Bob Bailey Chicken Camps, and I loved all of them. But for some reason, I just never viewed threadles as a training challenge. Insert maniacal laughter here.

I'm also thinking a lot about running contacts right now. Way back in 2008, when I started training Solar's running contacts, before the days of online classes, and when NObody had thought to use FOOD or a remote controlled treat dispenser to get going, I figured it out largely by myself, along with Silvia Trkman's writeup of the process she followed on her website. Her writeup was largely conceptual, and frankly, I think that was better for me to have read than a step by step process.

The concept of the process to be followed, along with my mind spinning with ideas, fresh out of Chicken Camp, meant that I really tried hard not only to be a good trainer, but also, to fully understand the concept of what I was training, as well as the ramifications of any ripples that might affect other training I was doing (there are, and JUMP training ripples in to running contacts, but, more on that later).

So, with my puppy, I expect that when she is old enough to step in to the arena to tackle an FCI style course, she will need a thorough understanding of landing side approaches.

What is a landing side approach?

First off, I think we would be wise to discontinue use of the term ‘threadle', and instead, adopt a term that more accurately describes the type of challenge a threadle represents. So, I'm no longer going to use that word (plus my autocorrect hates it). Instead, I'm going to use the term landing side approach.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 16 comments
Sharon - a couple of years ago

I really enjoyed this discussion. The diagrams made everything very clear to understand. I had never thought of tunnels and weaves as potential Landing Side Approaches, but you are absolutely right.

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SharonYildiz - a couple of years ago

I loved this article, and the diagrams were so clear and easy to follow. I had never thought of weaves or tunnels as being in the same class as a back-jump, but your explanation has won me over. Thanks!

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    Daisy Peel - a couple of years ago

    I’m still working through understanding of this myself, and so far, the important thing for me is that I’m recognizing where a particular mechanical effort (decelerate, shift to the rear, turn hard, often away from the handler) is required of the dog over and over again. I’m looking forward to Linda Mecklenburg’s Volume Two of MJS, I understand that there is quite a lot on landing side approaches contained in it.

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Melinda F Schneider - a couple of years ago

I’m not wild about the term landing side. When viewed from the approach, every obstacle has two take-off sides and two landing sides (confusing when in discussion) depending on whether or not the dog is to take what’s in from of him or is pulled or pushed to the backside. Each has only one front side and one backside when viewed from the approach. So, while I appreciate your desire to get rid of the term threadle, I would argue for frontside and backside in preference to take-off and landing sides.

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    Daisy Peel - a couple of years ago

    Two takeoff and landing sides? You might want to explain that one! smile

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Alan Gardner - a couple of years ago

Love the science behind your thoughts (as always). I think this will take a few days for me to work through smile and understand though! Thanks x

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    Daisy Peel - a couple of years ago

    Alan, I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts once you’ve worked through it a bit!

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SteveSchwarz - a couple of years ago

I like your idea that because the dog’s behavior is the same in all those obstacle sequences we should describe them with the same term is a great idea. Unfortunately, like threadle, “landing side” still has a significant cognitive load when applied to non-jump obstacles; I’d argue it is more difficult for learners to see the landing side on non-jumping obstacles than for them to see the dog’s path being a threadle. Mostly because people don’t think of tunnels and weaves as having take off or landing sides.

I’ve been hearing people use “non-obvious side”/end for those sequences and applying it to all obstacles. I’ve found it helpful when teaching new students since it is very clear to them which side/end of the obstacle is obvious to the dog as the dog moves along the desired path.

I’m looking forward to your discussions of handling these sequences.

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    Daisy Peel - a couple of years ago

    Absolutely, it’s more of a cognitive load. BUT, the advantage is that you start to see how the mechanical skill is essentially the same for the dog, whether it’s a tunnel or a jump. And, if you can wrap your brain around that, you can start to see how you can TRAIN the dog to understand the landing side as a concept on a variety of obstacles, not *just* jumps (and in my opinion, the more you can help them understand the concept without repetitive jumping, the better).

    Because jumping is the most complex behavior the dogs are doing out there on course, I *do* think it’s helpful to think of landing side and takeoff side, for every obstacle, not just jumps. It’s a bit of a stretch even for me, but I *am* using those terms, because I do think that the words help form the thoughts, and the thoughts help shape the actions.

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LyndaCaughlin - a couple of years ago

Great article, most definitely will have me looking at threadles in a different way, thanks
Diagrams were helpful

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    Daisy Peel - a couple of years ago

    You’re welcome!

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Badollar555 - a couple of years ago

Very interesting. Something I have pondered myself, can’t wait for part two

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    Daisy Peel - a couple of years ago

    Probably there will be a part three, and four, and…but first, CYNOSPORT!

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Kelly - a couple of years ago

Daisy,
Thank you for this! I have been doing agility for over 10 years and have never been comfortable with the whole threadle thing. It caused me to do timid signals to the dogs and a lot of unsuccessful attempts because the dogs were never sure what I was asking for. Now this I understand!

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    Daisy Peel - a couple of years ago

    I’m glad it made some sense! smile I’m still working on all of it myself…understanding is a process, for sure!

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CaroleMann - a couple of years ago

Very well put for my brain. Its all about the action. What is being required for the Dog to understand. Thank you. Loved the diagrams

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