Backyard Mastery - Turning the "Wrong" Way

28 Jun 2020Steve Schwarz

In my Backyard Dogs articles I’ve written how you can improve your team’s skills by handling an obstacle sequence in ways that aren’t your “usual” handling method. Most folks think to use a different cross or handle from the other side of the obstacles than they normally would. And those are good challenges. In this article, I’ll show you a different way to challenge your handling: turn or push your dog the “wrong” way around one or more jumps. You’ll find making these simple changes will really increase the difficulty, help you put together multiple handling moves, and all in a small space!

I’ve put the number on the end of the jump where I want you to turn or push your dog. Figure 1 shows the dog’s path for the four possible number locations at jump 2

Wrap/Back Side Direction in Diagrams
Wrap/Back Side Direction in Diagrams

I’ve drawn the dog’s path on the first few sequences to help you see how the number location changes the dog’s path. But, I’ll leave it up to you to find the best handling to make that happen!


Here is the obstacle setup for 40’ x 50’ (12 m x 15 m):

Setup in feet
Setup in feet
Setup in meters
Setup in meters

If you have more space spread out the obstacles and use 6 or 12 weave poles, a straight tunnel, or a long jump to get from the last jump back to the first jump as shown in Figure 3.

Setup in feet
Setup in feet


In the PDF below, the diagrams are in groups of thee. They are each a variation of the same sequence with only the side you turn or push your dog changed on different obstacles.

For the ultimate challenge: run all three variations back to back, as though they were a single long course. Go from the last obstacle right back to jump 1 and start the next variation!

Challenge yourself by "turning the wrong way" on every course you setup!

With practice you’ll see your skills really improve and you can use this technique on every sequence you setup in your backyard!

The Sequences

Let’s get to work! Download a PDF of all the sequences on a single page.

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Copyright Steve Schwarz, AgilityNerd LLC