My Top 20 jump cues
Here are my top 20 most used jump cues. You will want to have an answer for all of these type of turns in your handling system. Below is a description of some of the key reasons that these cues work for me. You can evaluate what you do against some of this thinking to make sure you feel good about your handling.
I didn't put the verbal obstacle names in the cheat sheet (you can check out the article "8 jumps and counting" for that if you are interested). This is just the body language I use for each jump. Here is what you will notice:
1) BLACK colored figure: The cue on the approach to the jump is the same. In other words, I am always supporting the path into the jump or the back side. If I am pushing on their path, I am moving into the 1/2 way point on the ideal path between my dog (black dog) and the obstacle with arm and leg closest to them. If I am pulling on the path, then I am using arm and leg closest to them to pull as if I am dragging a garden hose. If I am pulling them toward me, and they are supposed to anticipate a turn away on the jump, I use the far hand to pull.
2) BLUE colored figure: The next “thing” I do after I give them permission to jump, is new information and tells them what happens next. This information is given as the dog commits to the path into the jump (blue dog). The "thing" I do, is show them the new path out of the jump (also called supporting the 1/2 way point on the new path).
This information is given on the approach to the jump, not when they are in the air or have landed. I prioritize setting the line out of the jump and use almost no shoulder turn to show any turns (that information comes later). You can see this if you contrast the basic front cross and post turn cues - the send and initial pull is exactly the same because the behavior I want on the jump is exactly the same. This is also when I show which hand to drive to, for example if I am doing a blind cross.
3) GREEN colored figure: After I set the direction out of the jump, and show them which side of me to drive to I keep moving! I try very hard to practice the mechanics of how I move through supporting the approach, moving through the footwork that sets the new line and accelerating in the new direction. I practice (in the living room), dropping my arm, looking where I intend to, turning my body - everything I want to be good at. I practice from all approach angles, all exits.
When I have decided what my cues will be, and have checked them for uniqueness, and proven to myself that these are cues that I could give consistently, and I have practiced enough in the living room, that I am pretty good at them. Then I take my air-handling to an actual jump. I get my thoughts together and then I teach my dog how to respond to the cues.
Eventually, I practice on all jump types so my body knows exactly how to move and my dog knows how to respond.
When I am training myself to be consistent, I personally concentrate on what my feet do because that moves my whole body and because I use a lot of sending and independence in my handlig. Some people find that concentrating on their core, or where they are looking works better. You will find what works best for you in execution with practice and good advice.
When my dog is quite adept at responding to the physical cues, I then apply the name to the obstacle that helps add clarity to what my body is doing and practice that working on as much independence in the name as I can (see back side jump article).
This is where the 8 jump behaviors that I have named comes in handy (Go-on, jump-left, jump-right, jump, jump-out, zip, back, here-around). Back-left and back-right are just extensions of what are the same behaviors so I don’t count them. You can read about them separately if you like using verbals.