Lil takes a ride on her new “magic carpet”

This is Lil’s second day running on her new “magic carpet.”  It is different from a typical magic carpet in that the “magic” of this carpet is that it encourages Lil to run more and fly less!  ps–Silvia recommended I switch from a board to a carpet to get rid of the bounce Lil was taking onto the board sometimes.   This detail is important to me because Lil currently leaps onto the A-Frame sometimes and hits it harder than she would if she just strides onto it.

The carpet seems to be working beautifully!  I am also finding it easier to see what Lil is doing on a 12′ carpet vs. an 8′ board.  It’s also easier to “see” when I focus on just one aspect of Lil’ performance: running vs. bouncing.

I am surprised that Lil  only takes 3 strides across a 12′ carpet.   I would have expected 4 strides but I’ve seen several Australian Terrier do lure coursing and they all seem to run this way when running full-out.

My questions to Silvia were: Do you think I am “calling” the leaps accurately? After watching the playback, I wonder if some of the reps that I called “perfect” had slightly elongated strides on or off the carpet. Or is it OK when Lil takes a longer stride on or off the carpet?  And when should I be throwing the ball? I sometimes threw it after she was already running and sometimes before…

LoLaBu’s avatar


Not so easy to decide with this style of running yes… But I pretty much agree with your comments, just that last one doesn’t look all that good to me. My favorite try was 1:34. Ideally, she runs with equal strides the whole time. You need to throw a toy early enough that she sees it well in front when nearing the carpet.

2 thoughts on “Lil takes a ride on her new “magic carpet”

  1. Hi Dev, Watching this clip, it seemed to me that the way the ball bounced governed how Lil ran across the carpet. Didn’t seem to me that she was actually thinking about the carpet, just running to get the ball. The time you rolled the ball down and then released Lil, she ran very nicely, but again I felt that was because of how the ball was acting. So I am wondering how the dog gets the message because she is reinforced for every run even though some are not what you want.

    • I have since asked Silvia about the timing of the throw and she said I should be throwing the ball before Lil approaches the carpet. It makes sense because this puts Lil in a full-on chasing/ running mode from the start. I also think keeping the ball lower to the ground is good to do with such a small dog.

      Prior to asking that question, I was intentionally throwing the ball after Lil started to run, thinking that I was rewarding fast running but I am going to switch to throwing the ball much earlier in future sessions.

      I am beginning to understand why Silvia does things the way she does them, which is sometimes different than the typical way I’ve been taught to do things. For example, when I first began having Lil run on a board or carpet, I thought I needed to reward fast running, so I was waiting for Lil to run fast before I’d throw the ball. But now I see that this carpet running game is NOT about training or reinforcing fast running but rather it is about capturing fast running, which happens naturally when a dog is chasing a ball. Because of this distinction, the ball is not being used as a lure, anymore than I am a lure when playing restrained recall games with me running away from my dog. The dog is just running after the ball instead of running after me.

      At this early stage, every repetition is rewarded equally since it is only about capturing full-out running. Once the dog is consistently striding over the carpet or board (no leaping on or off), that is the point where you start jack potting hits that are closer to the end. I hope this makes sense!

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