180 and Offset 180 Sequences
31 Dec 2009
The 180 obstacle sequence is a very common element in agility courses. A “180” is when the dog takes two obstacles and the dog turns through 180 degrees so they are facing the direction from which they started the sequence. Pretty much any two obstacles can be used as either the first or second obstacle in the 180. Of course a “180” need not require the dog turn be exactly 180 degrees. Here are some example sequences:
Since the dog’s path moves through 180 degrees the handling for the 180 is often the same as for aor (see the 270 article for handling diagrams and photos, maybe someday I’ll shoot a video for handling 180s). Just about any handling manuver can be used. There are two categories of handling:
Dog Stays on Same Side of Handler
The handler can:
- Move into the space between the two obstacles and pull the dog around their body using a
- Send the dog over the first obstacle and "run away". This is effectively a Post Turn but uses the dog's motion over the first obstacle to propel them to the second one and the handler's motion brings the dog over the second obstacle. I call this Pulling on the Dog's Line Dana Pike calls it "Throw and Go".
Handler Changes Sides of the Dog
You can use any type of Cross and (depending on the two obstacles in the 180) you can put it before the 1st obstacle, between the 1st and 2nd obstacle, or over the 2nd obstacle. In the diagram below a Blind Cross can also be used in the locations indicated by the FX ( ) markers.
A 180 is considered an “Offset 180” when the second obstacle is further back from the first obstacle. So the dog must move forward after the first obstacle to the back side of the second obstacle. This arrangement can be more challenging for the dog and handler. Here are the example sequences converted to Offset 180s:
Offset 180 Handing
The handling for the Offset 180 can be a little more challenging than a standard 180 since the handler has to support the dog’s path past the plane of the first obstacle to the second obstacle. Some handlers use a verbal command like “Out” or “Around” to indicate the dog should take the back side of the second obstacle. Judges can use this need for extra support as a challenge that can put the handler behind their dog or otherwise out of position for subsequent obstacles.
Other 180 Thoughts
The AKC is considering not allowing a 180 where the second obstacle is the A Frame. That combination of obstacles can be difficult for dogs to safely ascend the A Frame due to the short space for the dog to accelerate before ascending the A Frame.