Rule of Wings – Reading perfect Lines

Rule of Wings Or The Best way to Read a Course!

One of the hardest things I had to learn about agility was “reading course” or understanding the best way to set the tightest most efficient line for my dogs.

Over the years I have come up with, what I feel, is a great way to look at and read courses to come up with the best way to get the most affective line, determine what cross to do where and to stay consistent in my handling so my dog will be able to read my lines and motion. This method is called “the Rule of wings”.

In this method, you will look at the tightest possible path the dog can take. the object is to stay on the side of the path that will pull your dog to that side of the obstacle.

Let’s take a look at the course below …

Take a look at the first 4 obstacles —

Looking at the tightest line for the dog, the shortest path would be if the dog were jumping close to the right upright of #1, the right upright #2, the left upright of #3, and then into the weaves with a right turn after the weaves. I also call this a wing shift where the side of the tightest line changes right to left or left to right. Wing shift = side change for the handler.

So according to the rule of wings, we have a wing shift between 2-3 as well as 3-4. This would be where we could execute a side change by the handler.

So let’s look at # 4 – 12. what uprights should the dog jump close to?

Looking at course, here are the uprights I would like my dog jumping closest to;

#5 -right


#7-left (if in doubt I draw a line as shown)





#12- tunnel

This would tell me, I have a switch of sides between 6 & 7. So i need to plan a turning cue here.

Read the rest of the course. Where are your wing shifts? How would you handle it to stay on the best side and line for your dog?

As you go through a course, analyze the tightest path by acknowledging the upright the dog should jump closest to and plan your handling so you can stay on that side of the jump. This way of looking at courses will help you be more consistent in your handling.

Video Notes:

Questions? Ask DebbyQ