Reality Lines

by | Dec 18, 2020 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

To be able to predict where you will be on course in relation to your dog, it’s important to understand reality lines.
Reality lines refers to where your dog will actually take off, land, and turn between the obstacles.

Here are some things to consider:
– dogs jump in straight lines

– their head and paws can be turned in the correct direction, but their backs will turn on the ground

– a dog’s ability to turn is affected by their stride length, height, jump height, speed, and approach to the jump

– if you want to change the landing, you need to change the take-off

Dog’s takeoff and land on the same line, and then take some time on the ground to turn to the new line: that stride where they are turning is the correction stride.

Shorter backed dogs, or more square dogs, can have shorter correction strides: I think of those dogs like jeeps 🙂

Longer backed dogs, or less bendy dogs will take more real-estate to make a correction stride: I think of those dogs like limousines.

Training can also affect your dog’s reality lines:

– the higher the obstacle focus, the more they may be looking at other obstacles, causing them to have wider correction strides

Natural tendencies can affect your dog’s reality lines:

– If your dog likes to naturally work further from you, and you get close to them, they may have a wide correction stride to fix that

– if your dog is a herding breed that likes to “flank” motion, you might get wider correction strides when you are running away

When walking the dog’s path, you need to have an idea of their reality line. You will need some data about where they typically take-off for a jump when they are going in a straight line, and where they typically takeoff when they are turning, and what kind of turner they are: do they react like a jeep or a limo?

Here is a compilation of some in-person training I held last year where students had to predict their dog's reality lines before running the sequence!


This lecture is from Megan's FDSA Class: AG400 Smooth Moves. Keep an eye on the website to know when it will be offered next in 2021! 



Megan Foster


I have been training in agility nearly my entire life. With seventeen years of experience, I have had the opportunities to work with hundreds of dogs within a large variety of breeds.

I began my agility journey with an American Eskimo and a Westie. In 1999, I began competing with my first Shetland Sheepdog, Buddy. Buddy’s lesson to me was about connection and bond. While running him, I knew that agility was what I was meant to do.