Monday, September 6, 2010

Jumping Update

Well, I looked back and I haven't posted anything since July about Dare's jump training. Where does the time go? We have been consistently working on the jump training, I guess I just haven't been good about posting.

I guess I'll start with the very basics of what we're doing and what we're learning. First, I knew it was important to teach the dog to be comfortable and proficient at taking off with the rear legs. One of the pre-jump skills that we work on is the beg-stand-beg exercise. Here's Dare demonstrating that drill.

Then we've worked on the up and over collected jumping exercise that I showed you in the previous jumping post. Placing the dog right in front of the jump and targeting just a body length beyond the jump in an attempt to get the dog to simply lift the front legs off the ground and push off for the jump with the rear legs. We did this starting at 8" and worked up to 16"

We've also been working on baby front and rear crosses...These exercises also have been started at 8" and worked at all angles and then repeated at the higher jump heights on both sides.

We have also been working on some jump grids. This one is test help us see how well she is able to scope out the differences in spacing and in heights.

What we noticed in the grid work you just saw and when I started adding more distance and speed to our baby front and rear cross that Dare prefers to take off for jumps from further away, (rather than striding in closer), which is neither efficient or a safe way to jump.

This led to a series of drills where we are trying to use the stride regulator to get Dare to stride in closer to the jump before take-off. We had some success, and a lot of experimenting in the process, and we are still working on it.

It was also around the middle of August that it was suggested that I take Dare in to the veterinary opthamologist to see if she was having issues with her depth perception or eyesight in general. In examining her eyes, they did find that she has Distichiasis, which is just simply eyelashes growing where they shouldn't. It can cause irritation and eventually scarring of the cornea, but at this point, they said that it doesn't appear to be even causing any irritation, so I'm just to keep my eyes on it for any changes. Other than that, they said that her eyes looked great, and they found nothing that they felt would account for her early jumping.

So, having ruled out any major vision problems, we are back to training. With Andrea's help, we are focusing on helping Dare get more comfortable with striding in closer to the jumps and rewarding that behavior. We are actually doing this not only with jumps, but with the table as well, since she exhibits the same tendency to take off too early for the table as well.

It's a slow process, but a fascinating one. One of the other things that I'm looking into is how to help condition her better for jumping and agility in general. I got the DVD "Building the Canine Athlete" and I'm trying to come up with a practical routine for Dare and I to work on.

Anyway, as with the last jump training post, this is now more of a book, so I'll just end it here for now. Hopefully we'll have more updates and progress soon!


  1. Miley does that too. The faster you go, the sooner she takes off because you know the fastest way to get anywhere is to fly. LOL Diana

  2. All very interesting stuff - you would think that jumping would be simple for a dog but it just isn't the case, is it? Like I said on YouTube, I really enjoy seeing what you are doing with Dare! Thank you for sharing it!

  3. Diana,

    Yes, the faster we go the sooner she takes off. :-( She also seems to think that when I'm running with her, it's good cause to run faster to beat me. LOL That's when we've had some pretty scary crashes. Have you found anything to help this?

    I'm really hoping that over time that all the work we're doing to reinforce that striding in closer will pay off, but I have a feeling that this is a default behavior that I'll probably be struggling to overcome from here on.

  4. Ricky,

    It's amazing to me now that my other dogs just learned to jump like they did. LOL I just kind of took for granted that there was a jump and they'd naturally jump it correctly, and for the most part, they did.

    Now with Dare, I'm gaining a huge appreciation for what skills dogs like Zoe were employing to be such successful jumpers. Now the fact that Zoe has only knocked a couple bars in her 9 years of doing agility is an amazing feat to me! :-)

  5. I know the stride regulators totally work but Just wondering why she would not just jump from way before the stride regulator if that is what she wanted to do- when I was reading your post it just made me wonder why,....LOL. So you can send in your videos to Amanda and she will help evaluate them is that part of the regular course or is that an extra service (just wondering because I would love to do a program like that with Cricket)? That is soooo cool to be able to have a nice jumping program and someone who really knows that you can glad you found her, I think I might go ahead and sign up with the Crickster who is almost ready to start jumping soon. I have been watching your videos on youtube and gosh Dare is amazing, what a good girl. So do any of her relatives do the early take off thing. Doing all this jump work seems soooo smart to head off any bad habits or trouble before they get all guys are going to be such an awesome team. Looks like you guys have done some fantastic work!---Kathy

  6. Kathy,

    We have to mess around with the spacing of the stride regulator, or she does just launch over both the stride regulator and the jump. LOL I am trying to mark her with a yes or a click when she steps in between the two though to reinforce that that is what we want. Honestly, I don't know how much she'll respect that though as she picks up speed.

    As for the services that Andrea offers...She does have jump DVD's and you can purchase them and work through them yourself, or through an online class. She also offers analysis which you can purchase by the hour, or by the month. We just finished up a months' worth with her, and I really felt it was well worth the money. You just have to go to her site and go to analysis and coaching. Of course, you should contact her first and tell her what you have in mind and see what she recommends.

    Thank you so much for your kind words about our training. I have days where I find the whole process interesting and challenging, and others where I just want to bury my head in the sand and give up. :-( Every time she does crash through a jump I ask myself if it's worth it? Sorry, today is one of those bury my head in the sand days. LOL