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Tips for Operating SwiftPaws Pro Machines

 

#1 Rule: The person operating the machine is responsible for the safety of the course and the participants. Safety Tips:

• ALWAYS have a pair of scissors on hand, if a dog gets tangled in the line, cut the line immediately next to where you are standing (do not go to the dog just cut the line wherever you are) and this will release the tension and free the dog.

• Watch dogs for signs of overheating - slowing down, tongue hanging out, tongue curling up. Never run a dog for too long.

• If you think a dog shouldn't run (they're limping or older etc.) it is the operator's choice to say they won't run a dog for safety reasons - in this case you can offer a refund. For example, I once had a dog enter the field with a bandage on their belly, the dog had been spayed the day prior - I told the owner this kind of activity could affect the sutures/spay site and refused to run the dog and offered them a refund)

• The line can cause severe line burn. NEVER let children on the course without parent or guardian present and let them know the child cannot go near or touch the line.

• The line will break at the drive wheel as a safety mechanism but this is only if the dog is holding the flag or standing on the line etc.

• Always have water nearby the course and remind owners to give their dog a chance to cool down and get a drink after running.

 

  • When you first introduce a dog to the course, have the owner keep the dog on-leash about 10' away from the flag. Motion is what catches the dog’s eye and makes them want to give chase. Tap the trigger to make the flag “jump” and switch direction to make it go back and forth. 
  • Once the dog is pulling on the leash trying to get to the flag, you can then stop and ask the handler to unclip the leash and hold onto the collar/harness.
  • Once they've done this, start running the flag (make sure the dog sees it) and tell the owner they can release their dog.
  • When introducing shy or less confident dogs, you can tap or pulse the trigger so that the flag jumps down the field. This makes the flag appear more interesting and fun for the dog.
  • The first time a dog approaches the flag (at the end of a run or if you pause during a run) do not move it until they seem comfortable - most dogs take a moment to realize it's not a real squirrel or something scary!
  • If a dog stops to look at a pulley stop running and let them check it out. It's best not to scare them if they are curious about the pulleys at first. Eventually they will lose interest in the pulley and you can keep going.
  • Run the flag around the corners ahead of the dog. You want the dog to see the lure make the turn before they get there. Otherwise, they will overshoot the turn and might loose sight of the lure. A good trick is to slow down the lure about 30 feet before the turn, then zip it around the turn as soon as the dog slows down. This way, they see the turn and are able to turn with the lure.
  • After the turn, slow down or even pause for a moment to let the dog make the turn before starting the lure again.
  • Once a dog is more experienced, they will begin to anticipate turns. This means that you can run the flag at a more constant speed through the turns.
  • If a dog begins cutting the corners (the smarter and more experienced they are the more they will do this) you can stop as they are cutting the corner which will draw the dog around and make for a nice change of direction.
  • Changing direction quickly or while going down a straight line or while the dog is running at full speed is strongly discouraged.
  • To change direction it is best to let the flag slow to a stop, wait for the dog to initiate a turn, and then start running again once they've turned.
  • The faster a dog is, the farther ahead you have to run the flag.
  • Experience is key, you will quickly begin to get the “feel” for operating your Swift Paws Machine, just be prepared to lose a few plastic lure bags in the process!
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