We specialise in teaching Distance Handling. Whilst this is the usual form of handling for competitors in Hoopers, its very unusual in agility.
What is Distance Handling?
If you watch any dog agility, typically handlers always run alongside their dogs, usually guiding their dog to the next correct obstacle by running to it themselves.
Distance Handling is the term used to describe an unusual type of handling, where the handler isn’t right next to their dog and running with them. Distance Handling means different things to different people. Some consider distance to be sending their dog on ahead of them by one or two obstacles. To someone else, Distance Handling might mean the handler being pretty stationary.
We like to break Handling into 3 different categories:
Full Distance – Minimal movement from the handler around the ring.
Semi-Distance – The handler will move around the ring, possibly even at running pace. However, the handler does not run with their dog, instead sending their dog off across the ring whilst moving into position themselves. The dog will work away, come back in close to do a trick section, before being sent away again.
Independence – This is often where handlers do still run with their dogs but are unable to keep up with them so the dogs learn to work a few obstacles away from their handler.
Why do people Distance Handle?
For most distance handlers, distance handling is not a choice but a necessity.
Medical reasons, physical disabilities or debilitating conditions are typically all common reasons that people do distance. They want to continue with a sport that they love even though they are unable to handle in a conventional way.
Behavioural issues can be another reason that people choose not to handle their dogs at a running pace.