Article I wrote for Agility Zone magazine on Cik&Cap:
As you probably figured out by now: I love training dogs! And I love it even more when I have a new, not-yet-tested idea. It's funny, because I actually really hate having new phone, computer or car, I hate getting used to new things and reading instructions is what makes me annoyed and nervous in like a second. People that know me always laugh at me to be able to test and develop new methods for years, they know patience, persistence and not giving up are my strongest points - until they see me reading instructions. Give me instructions to follow and I'm giving up in the next second. Give me the dog with the problem and I will solve it. Might take me years, but I will.
I love new challenges and I love that every next dog brings me some new ones: Aiken taught me how to motivate hard-to-motivate dogs, Lo taught me how to deal with fears and phobias, Bu taught me how to work with autistic dog with special needs and La... Hm... She showed me how easy it is with problem-free dog (if we don't see hyperactivity and total lack of self-control as a problem, of course 🙂 ). As I needed a problem to solve, something to improve anyway, I came up with that idea of cik&cap turns. She already won World Championships with 6s of advantage before that, so no, we didn't need it. But we loved it and with every next dog, every next student and every next course that I run, I love it even more, I see even more advantage in it and even more positive side-effects.
Cik&cap turns are born as a trick, that's where the name comes from: cik-cak/zig-zag was how I called figure 8 between my legs trick. And then simply generalized it for sending the dog to wrap other objects, eventually jump wings and then eventually jump wings with a bar inbetween - low first, and then higher&higher. Very easy, elegant way to cut off 2 to 5s off your course times, depending on how good or not your dog is naturally turning and how long or not he is jumping when jumping in extension. Yeah, most people think I gain most with running contacts, but as there are maximum two occasions to do running contacts per course (none in jumpers), that's not really true. You can gain the most on turns.
And it's not just about the turns. At the same time you are training for perfect turns, you are training sends, distance skills, independence, commitment and obstacle focus and you're making turns and agility as such way more fun for the dog. Especially if you're just starting, beginnings can be somewhat frustrating for both the dog and the handler as they both have so much more to learn - but knowing cik&cap makes it more fun for both, it allows the dog to run and have fun right from the start and gives the handler more time to think about where and how to cross etc. Handling and timing definitely gets MUCH easier with cik&cap, it allows you to get perfect turns even when you don't happen to be on a perfect spot at the perfect moment. And probably most importantly: as it allows the dog to know all the time where he is going next, so that he has time to adjust his speed and prepare for the turn, it takes lots of stress off your dog's joints. It always hurts me to see dogs landing in wrong direction, having to absorb all the momentum to stop and turn and then speed up again, sometimes even falling on their shoulders... NOT good! Cik&cap allows your dog to always land with front paws turned in the right direction, so the momentum from the landing is used for speeding up again.
So yes, cik&cap is definitely The trick that you want to teach to every agility dog. Have fun!