Note: to make the course larger, just click on it.
It seems there are quite a few opinions on the Banks Back Jump (great name, egh? I made it up myself…) which I’ve circled in red. Basically the Banks Back Jump is going over a jump, turning the dog 180 degrees and then taking the same jump in the opposite direction.
An easy maneuver and I’ve heard from multiple sources at the trial that the majority of exhibitors and dogs handled it without a problem.
So why all the hoopla? Well, let’s take a look at some of the reasons I’ve heard:
“I’ve trained my dog not to back jump…” Come on handlers, give yourself the credit you deserve! Your dog doesn’t back jump because you successfully trained them to follow your signal for ‘take the jump and come around the jump upright’. You’ve already proven you’ve got training skills so…
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you taught a new signal for ‘turn and do the same obstacle’ they would! Dogs really are amazing creatures and are smart enough to be able to differentiate between the two signals.
How do I know this? Well, I trained this a long time ago with a Dalmatian that has since passed. I used the word ‘Turn’ and by golly, she clearly understood the difference between a wrap (come around the obstacle) and a turn (turn and retake the obstacle). It was quite handy in USDAA back in the day and I used it for jumps/tunnels/contacts…
“This maneuver is hard on my dog’s body…” I’m not following this logic, because we ask our dogs to do a 180 degree turn with speed all the time, especially in agility base foundation work (i.e. the front cross walk the line exercise, the rear cross turn out away from me exercise and much more). In the Banks Back Jump, the turn itself is done on the flat (ie on the ground) just like the foundation work exercises. If a dog is landing rough, then there is a problem that requires training of the dog, the handler or both.
“It’s not legal…” Yeap, it is legal in AKC and with the way some of the USDAA games are played, it’s also a handy skill to have. So, you might want to expand the skill set and train it.
“There’s not enough room for my dog to get back over the obstacle…” Sure there is! You’re the handler, you’re in charge and YOU can give your dog as much room as you want. Remember, just because you can turn your dog on a dime doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Heck, I double-dog-dare-you to be a rebel and take all the time and space you need to ensure the complete safety of your dog. It’s fun and you’ll feel good for it. : )
“Why have this maneuver…” A better question is, “You’re in Excellent…Why Not???”
I like when a judge puts in the time and interest to bring me a course that is different. I like the imagination. I like the various styles. I like a new challenge. New things peak my interest. They’re exciting, motivating and I WANT to tackle that skill and FEEL the accomplishment! Heck, I feel alive, rejuvenated and I look forward to the opportunity to test my training and skills!
“I just want my Q and I don’t want fancy maneuvers…” As you know, Q’s or Qualifying scores are earned. When I enter a trial, I know that the course of the day could be just about anything and when I send in my entry, it’s a gamble as to what I’ll receive when I show up. Agility isn’t for the lighthearted or those who need extreme consistency. By the time we get into Excellent, the highs and lows of a course should be a big portion of what keeps us hooked and coming back for more. If new challenges aren’t something you can like or at least tolerate, then it’s best to either change your thinking or get out before the fun is completely gone.
“I don’t care about International Courses or challenges…” And you don’t have to. Regardless of what International courses are or aren’t doing, course styles everywhere are bound to change, evolve and advance over time. It’s GOOD that agility is still fluid and it’s even better that we continue to have a vast range of course styles to suit all walks of life.
Back to the Course Above:
Someone long ago shared a great saying to live by and that is “Train, Don’t Complain”. Superb advice since training will help to accomplish agility goals and complaining just makes everyone miserable.
Here is an example of a handler who did a WONDERFUL job on this course. Thanks Greg for sharing and enjoy everyone!