Yesterday I shoveled out an area of snow in our backyard. It is actually a layer of ice on top of very dense, slushy snow. The grassy area around the jump is slightly larger than 4 feet in diameter and the “runway” is about 3 feet wide. The bar was set to 4 inches and I reversed the wing jump so the supports are not so close to the bar. I also varied the angle of the jump so Lil’s approach was easier at the beginning of the session. After watching the video, I think my saying YES, when Lil was jumping, was distracting for her at times. But I think it would be great for her to be able to stay focused on her job while I’m being my overly enthusiastic self. I’ll be keeping my eye on it to see how it is working out….
Silvia’s Response: Looks good! Great distance already! I don’t think it was your yes that was making her knock, I saw it before your yes if she will clear it or not. She clears it nicely when she goes all the way to the base and wraps it, but sometimes takes off too early and just crashes into a jump, like at 0:52. Try to recognize this style in time to not say yes to those tries and not reward them. Also, try to find a pattern in when this happens – easier to fix it if you know why it happens…
My follow-up post: Silvia’s feedback is great news to me because I can see how training “Loop and Wrap” will give Lil many opportunities to develop an efficient and consistent pattern for approaching jumps. Plus it will give me many opportunities to see if I can pin point the specific scenarios that cause Lil to take off early.
My first thought is that early take offs happen when Lil is rushing and fails to take a set-up step before the jump. When she does set herself up well, she jumps the bar straight (vs. slicing it away from the turn) which makes it possible for her to continue with a tight wrap after landing. I’m not sure a long-backed dog like an Australian Terrier will be able to bend as tightly around a jump like a lot of Border Collies do, but as long as Lil takes a nice set up step and jumps the bar straight vs. slicing away from the turn, I think she will be able to clear the bar and power out of the turn.
The next time we practice “Loop and Wrap,” I plan to position the video camera perpendicular to the jump so I can see the angle of Lil’s set-up step and the direction her feet are facing when she lands so that I can mark and reward “better than average” performances.
Exactly. Not every dog can wrap the jump as BCs or Kelpies can, BUT they can all learn a lot on appropriate take off and can find a different way to meet the criteria. La is also not nearly as flexible as my BCs, but she can turn really tight by adding an extra stride to get a good approach and then throws her hips in one direction to land on the right line.
Today was the first day Lil practiced Loop and Wrap with 2 widely spaced jumps (25-30′), with one additional straight jump between them. Lil seemed to have more obstacle focus after I added the straight jump in the middle. I think the vast distance between the two jumps was too much for her to grasp. I will try it again in 5-7 days and see how she does with it.
I was very pleased with her energy and speed since she has never been 100% confident in this particular facility. Not sure if it is the dirt or a scent but she has a great work ethic so even if she is not 100% confident, she gives it her all.
I added a soundtrack of “Jovial Jasper” performed by a friend’s percussion band, Nexus. There was too much ambient noise….happy dogs eager for their turns plus my high-pitched GO GO GO when Lil was weaving. I really should do something about that (my voice… not the happy dogs!)
Silvia’s Response: What a great commitment! But yes, maybe try a normal figure 8 first and then add the middle jump. Nice weaves too, just make those entries and challenges more&more extreme gradually.