Monday, November 29, 2010

Communicating Clearly

Yesterday, I set up a jumpers course from a NADAC trial we went to in mid-October at the Quad Cities Dog Center in Davenport, Iowa.  When I saw where the bonus line was, my heart sank.  Too many turns to even consider the bonus line.  It was a fun course to run with Belle, but  I decided to set it up in my yard yesterday and work on trying to work it from the bonus line.

Here's the video I posted of Belle:

This is video of Dusty:

In running the course from the bonus line with Belle, it became very apparent that we have to work on "turn" some more.  With Dusty, I want to eliminate head checking that was so noticeable after the jump #11 in the four jump pinwheel.

I went out this morning without the camera and worked on the rough spots.  I finally came to the realization that I may not really want to train Dusty and Belle to go out a great distance as I stop moving.  Stopping with Belle has a tendency to produce wrap or a tight turn, or, worse, a very confused dog who proceeds to the next obstacle without conviction. 

Actually, this is similar to running up to the handler line in Chances and stopping.  You've just given a very strong collection cue, yet what you really want is for the dog to go out away from you.  You want obstacle focus and speed; not handler focus and collection.

This problem was much more noticeable when I was running the course with Belle and Dusty.  I wanted to be able to send them into that pinwheel and be ready for the tricky bits that followed.  Well, I can do that.  But I may have to pass the plane of the first jump and support their path out to the second and third if I want to be clear in my handling.  That still leaves me plenty of time to get in position to handle the tricky bit that's coming up.  The more laterally distant I was from them, the better I handled it.  But there was still room for improvement on my part even at a distance.

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