After a few weeks of training Jake and Lil to target an upside down feed bucket with their front feet, we have started taking the show on the road.
Day 1: This session was their first time being asked to run and stop (4-on) on a flat A-frame.. or on any A-frame for that matter. The reason the A-frame is resting on the ground is because it is too heavy for me to lift by myself without potentially tweaking my back. But since I dragged it out to the yard this morning, I figured why not do one session with it flat on the ground to see what Jake and Lil do.
(above) video of Jake and Lil’s first session running on a flat A-frame and stopping 4-on
I was super impressed. Both dogs ran with really nice speed and targeted the very end of the A-frame by collecting / putting on the brakes. Most reps, they stuck the 4-on vs. reverting to 2o2o, a behavior both dogs have been practicing for years and years….on steps, rugs, you name it and they put their back feet on it so this was not surprising.
The reason I slowed down the video was to see HOW they were putting on the brakes. Were they dropping their butts down or crouching? I didn’t see much butt dropping but it might happen naturally once the A-Frame is raised… or maybe not. One thing I’ve noticed recently was how much LESS angle a longer-backed dog has when sitting, compared to dogs with longer legs. This translates into longer-backed dogs having less braking power when dropping their butts. Here are 2 photos, including a quick and rather sloppy Photoshop of Lil showing how her SIT would look if she had longer legs.
Once I raise the A-frame, I’ll be carefully watching to see HOW Jake and Lil put the brakes on in order to do 4-on. If it looks relatively easy for them to do, I’ll continue training 4-on. If it looks grossly unnatural or hard on their bodies, I will go back to running A-frames and find another way to deal with running consistently and safely over both 8′ and 9′ A-frames.
This morning’s session was such a blast. Both dogs LOVED IT and so did I. Can’t wait to nab some unsuspecting person who walks by our property to help me raise the A-Frame. 🙂