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Tightening the Blind Search

An agility perspective

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Got to thinking recently about using agility techniques to produce tighter, more correct blind searches. The most common techniques used in agility include wraps, serpentines, pinwheels, and threadles. Sketching them out, I realized the with a little modification, most of these approaches can be adapted to the schutzhund blinds…in fact, some typically are from the beginning.

To make sure everyone is on the same page, I’ve included the agility interpretation of each "move" above the blind search exercise equivalent. The blue dotted line indicates the dog’s path, while the X marks the position (at least the starting position) of the handler.

Any of these exercises could be augmented with the "pop goes the helper" trick of placing a helper in a random blind, or in plain sight behind the handler as a reward for a particularly tight search from anywhere in the sequence…but they are also teaching style to the dog so that focusing on turning tightly becomes part of his muscle memory. All of these exercises can be reversed, so that the dog doesn’t become stronger in one direction.


In agility, a wrap occurs when the dog curves tightly around a jump and returns to the handler. This is often practiced as tight figure-8s around a single jump.

Blind Wrap


In agility a serpentine is a sequence of jumps aligned so that a dog can be pushed over one, pulled over the next, pushed over the third, pulled over the fourth. In the beginning the jumps are in a straight line…as the dog/handler skills improve, the jumps may be angled, complementary, so that the dog is literally one-bouncing through the serpentines because they have gained efficiency.



In agility, pinwheels occur when jumps are arranged in a star or almost floral pattern so that the dog is jumping out, looping, and returning over another jump, only to repeat this again. This is a common way to begin teaching the blind search for those who teach an obedience blind search before introducing the helper to the picture.



Perhaps the most maligned (especially when it occurs on a course), threadles introduce a high level of control but care must be used to avoid making the exercise demotivating.



The Malinut Page is the product of Jona Decker and the 'Nuts of south central Wisconsin.


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