Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Surviving my worst fear...

OK - maybe not my worst fear - but definitely one that is high on my list.  I have been thinking about working in some runs at 24 inches for Steeler during our agility class.  So tonight before actually running the course we broke down a couple of sections to work on some handling skills.  Well the first one didn't look that bad so I thought I would try it at 24 inches.  Oh what a meltdown we had, Steeler and I.  I am not really sure just what was too much for his spotty brain - because I don't think that I was concerned about anything.  Steeler ran around and around and away from me and his favorite squeaky toy.  He would not take the jump in front of him to save my life!  He tried to play with Trixie at least twice.  And Trixie was such a good good girl to just ignore him.  She so wanted to join him for a run around the barn.  Well I got him back and put him on leash and took him over some jumps and rewarded his attention.  This is one of my biggest fears - that he will just run away from me at a trial and run up to the wrong dog and get himself in trouble.  But I survived this and nothing bad happened!  Here is the first handling section.

The next grouping that we that we worked we decided to run Steeler at 20 inches and see how he did as far as paying attention to me.  And he was fine - back in working mode.   Something about the first set up and the 24 inch jumps was just too much for his spotty brain.  Wish I knew what it was.

And here is the actual course that we ran.  The maps are probably close to the right spacing - but there could be some wiggle room in what we actually ran tonight.  For example - jump 6 to the tunnel was a pretty straight line.  It was a fun little course and Steeler actually handled some tricky pieces really well.  We are working on "collection" cues and tight turns.  Tonight we also worked on wrapping jumps.  So the first 4 jumps we kept the dogs on our left with a collection cue (using our right hand) before jump 2 and then picking them up on the left hand as they come over jump three to continue with jump 4, 5,6 and the tunnel.  Rear cross the tunnel to the double jump to the table.  So from the table - the jump to the poles was pretty straight forward.  Or so it seemed when I walked the course.  Steeler has developed a table fetish and he kept trying to head back to the table after the jump.  Once we got into the poles, jump 12, 13 was an easier wrap for Steeler to the teeter.  The end was kind of tricky for us.  Catie wanted us to try to front cross the teeter so the dogs are on our left to jump 15 and then rear cross jump 16 and call them back over 17.  We had a little bit of trouble with it - mostly my working out the correct timing for Steeler - but he did get it after a couple of trys!


  1. Jenn How much conditioning do you do with Steeler? And how well does he generalize usually? he may be doing 2 things with the 24" jumps. 1 he may physically not be capable of getting over them consistently due to not having enough conditioning for them and being not strong enough. Or 2 he may literally not consider them the same as 20" jumps because he doesn't generalize well. I have seen that happen before. For that I usually put double bars- 1 at like 16" and one at 24" and I also have about half the jumps at 20" and half at 24" so he never knows which he will see and that tends to help a lot until they understand that at 24" jump is the SAME THING as a 20" jump

  2. Hi Katrin -
    I have been doing a bit of conditioning with him - not as much jumping once it got cold - but the stuff that you showed me last year with the balancing on two legs we do. And then there is his own little invention where he bounces from the bed to the floor to the storage chest. :-) that he does at least once a day - usually 6 or 7 times. The bed is probably over 24 in high and the chest is probably 20 in or so. Catie thinks we ran him at 24 inches last week and he was fine. I do know that whenever we do something new -especially if it involves leading out- he does not like to have that 24 inch jump in front of him. So I think part of it is that he does not generilize well. Also the set up was much closer to all my classmates.

  3. First, click to you for working through it! :) I agree with the might just be that the start-line "picture" changed for him and it stressed him out a bit. You might try setting the bars at different heights so that he gets used to seeing them that way. Or, just set the first jump at 20" so he doesn't notice the change right off the bat. We tend to work at 20-22-24 so Peyton is used to jumping everything in that range.

    You might also go back and do some one jump work at that height if you don't do it regularly. I highly recommend Linda M's developing jumping skills book - even if you don't follow her system, the foundation jump training is great. If I only work on one thing each week - it's with one jump.

  4. Thanks Kim ... it's too bad I didn't get it on tape ... after the second time he bailed on my my plea for help had the whole class laughing. :-) Thankfully Lisa didn't let Trixie play and reinforce Steeler for running away from me! Poor Trix - she sooooo wanted to play. Anyway - I have done some one jump work with him between 20 and 26 inches. Maybe not enough .... I sent him over the 26 inch jump in the yard a couple nights ago - and something looks strange to me in his jumping style. I'll have to get it on tape if it warms up anytime soon. I don't like jumping him too high indoors.

    I'll have to take a look at Linda's jumping skills book .... I have the Susan Salo DVD that I have done some of her exercises. Thanks!