One of the things that I have found most valuable in agility is the way I think about (and handle) jumps so that is the topic of this article.
The basic premise is that any individual jump is actually one of six different obstacles and only I know which one it is (since it looks exactly the same to the dog). Once I started thinking this way, it lead me to a number of specific conclusions that have turned out to give me a lot of control on course. The first is that each “obstacle” has a different name, for example, I might send my dog to a “jump” or to a “go on” and what she does (the way she jumps) is different as a result. I also decided that the physical cue for each “obstacle” should look different to my dog. And I also decided that if the verbal cue was going to be helpful at all, then I should train my dog to be able to perform that obstacle as if it was a “trick” (in other words, independent of my handling so that I wouldn’t have to handle my dog through the behavior chain of the jump, but could cue them to perform that behavior while I went off and did whatever else I needed to do on course).