Handler Movement | Exploring the Holger

Developing creative handler movement is no easy job. We tend to move in the way we move and there is so much to do when doing interior moves. We’ve got to handle the dog, wrangle discs and get into position. It’s not simple and not easy, but there are things we can do. It might be as simple as spinning in the “wrong” direction, like the Holger.


So What Is it?

As mentioned in the video below, the Holger is a method of movement that came out of a camp personal session in 2006 in Germany. Holger Berthmann went and spun the “wrong way” on a Thru… Wait… Flip move and the Holger became a thing. It’s really rather simple. All you do to do a Holger is take the long way around with a spinning motion.

If you have to turn 90º to the right, just take the long way around and spin 270º to the left and a simple ho hum movement that you do everyday becomes something special and engaging.

How to Do It?

Performing a Holger in flow requires the handler to move quickly and efficiently while the dog is busy catching or otherwise engaged. Waiting for the dog to be in position is not an option. The handler must be proactive and move immediately.

It doesn’t require fast movement, it requires quick thinking and purposeful intent. Speed is much more about knowledge than athleticism.


Mechanics and Flatwork Applications

The Holger is more than a cool movement. It has practical flatwork applications. Depending on which direction the dog is going, the Holger movement can be used to perform a Front Cross and line the dog up for the next trick or it could be used to push the dog around on the flank and soften the dog’s line.

Spinning against the dog’s movement will create a Front Cross by changing the dog’s working flank and stop the dog and/or create a sharp line to the handler as it did in the video above with Eppie. This Front Cross is a critical tool for overs and vaults and who doesn’t want a critical tool that looks all fancy and cool and whatnot?

Spinning with the dog’s movement will soften the dog’s line and/or maintain a working flank which can be useful for launching into an out throw or creating some additional space and time for a vault or flip in your sequence.

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