We are now a few days into Silvia Trkman’s Cik & Cap method for training tight turns and powering out of turns. But since Lil has been having trouble jumping well when running fast on straight aways, I wanted to add that element early on, thinking it will be good for her to practice running fast over a bar on the ground before gradually raising all the bars back to full height. The other element I am adding early on is me running with Lil, since my movement can be distracting and cause her to jump inefficiently.
So yesterday I set up a pair of wings and a pair of cones (since that is all I have at my house right now), with a Manners Minder about 15 feet beyond the 2nd jump. My focus was on Lil powering out of 180 degree turns, running fast and jumping in extension over the second bar. Adding that 2nd jump on the straight-away created the exact jumping scenario Lil has been having trouble with lately.
After watching the first few reps (unfortunately I didn’t have my video camera out yet), it became clear that Lil was bouncing over the bars vs. driving or just striding over them.
The first video clip shows how Lil often takes an extra step before jumps on straight aways, which diminishes her speed. But you can also see at the November trial that she sometimes over-jumps, which can diminish speed by transferring forward momentum to upward momentum, not that I felt her slowing down at that trial. But I could definitely feel something wasn’t quite right at the December trial. I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was. The final video clip is of a CPE trial from one year ago. You can see that Lil’s striding is not even on straight jumps and that she often takes off a bit early. I wouldn’t go so far to call it ETS (early jumping syndrome) but it is not the most efficient way to jump. ps–I am open to the possibility that Lil (and Jake) will always have a tendency to take-off a bit early when jumping. And I am OK with that as long as it doesn’t involve dramatic studder stepping or crouching before jumping.
I can think of two reasons I don’t want Lil to over jump. The first is because it slows her down and it is much more fun to run agility at maximum speed. The second, and more important reason, is that what goes up must come down. Bouncing vs. driving makes for harder landings. The other thing that causes a dog to land hard is when the dog doesn’t know a tight turn is coming well before it approaches a jump. I believe this is the most important aspect of training Cik & Cap.
Over the past few days, I have been thinking about how I have been using the verbal cues Left and Right in a general way, adding specificity to them through movement, body language or following the words Left or Right with “Lil, Lil, Lil” which means wrap tight and come back towards me. But I am now thinking it would be better to have different words for wrapping left and right so that my dogs know well in advance how tight a turn they will need to take. My practice partner came up with two good verbal cues: Loop and Wrap, which I just might be able to remember since Loop starts with an L and Wrap phonetically starts with an R.
Today I am looking forward to doing a short session focusing on speed, tight turns and powering out of 360 degrees and multiple turns around cones and wings with the bar at 2″ using a ball vs. the Manner’s Minder.
These sessions are so much fun!