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Shadow Skills

Starting with shadow skills

Shadow skills are not quite like rally or obedience.  In those two disciplines your dog works exclusively on the left.  In shadow skills your dog works on the left or the right and will learn to do all the moves equally well on both sides.

In the novice section alone there are 32 different moves but some of them are similar to rally.  One move that's very familiar to agility handlers is the front cross.  The only difference is it's done on the flat.  Perhaps you can see where this is leading and why I'm so keen on this new game with the dogs. 

Change of sides exercise

•The handler will perform a 180° turn with continuous motion towards his/her dog.

• The dog will perform a 180° turn with continuous motion towards its handler in unison with the handler’s turn.

• The team will proceed forward with the dog now on the opposite side of the handler.

If you can work this discipline and play the shadow skills game effectively with your dog it's brilliant for agility training as well.  It puts no stress on the dog's body and they learn a series of complex moves and voice commands without ever seeing a jump or a contact.

Competing at Shadow Skills

As yet there are no competitions where I live so I have registered Jilly with Wag It Games and we're competing in the online video trials section.  We passed our first trial with A qualifying score of 101 points. We're waiting now for the second trial to be judged.

When we've achieved five qualifying scores we'll have a Novice "A" Shadow Skills title.

It's easy to take part in these trials but you do need somewhere to set up the course and compete.  For our first trial we hired a field for an hour and for the second one we used the car park in the local business park.  None of the businesses are open on a Sunday so the car park is extremely quiet.  Our trainer, Melissa, has her dog training business down there and we filmed each other.  Next time though we'll be getting together with some other people and hiring an indoor riding school for a couple of hours.