After Thursday night's disappointing performance on the A-frame, I reviewed the "Case Studies" section of Rachel Sander's DVD. As counter-intuitive as it seems to me, her recommendation for a dog who hits too high is to move the box up on the A-frame and then gradually move it down. I decided to give that a go as soon as the A-frame is free of ice. I also think I'll see if we can do without the stride regulator, since it will be an additional prop to fade.
Saturday, 12/17/11: The weather didn't really clear enough to try out the course I set up on Friday.
Sunday, 12/18/11, morning: There is hoar frost this morning, but I went out to the field to see if the A-frame was clear of ice. Since it wasn't slippery, I ran Belle across it a couple of times without the stride regulator. Then I moved the PVC box up about 9 inches. And did a couple more passes. She nailed it, so I raised the A-frame one link and move the box down a couple of inches. Belle was still hitting squarely in the box, so I moved it down another couple of inches. The top edge is now about four inches above the yellow. This afternoon, we'll go out again and I'll set up the video camera. If it warms up enough, we may even be able to use the dogwalk.
Sunday, 12/18/11, afternoon: I videoed our efforts this afternoon. After watching the video, I had to face the fact that Belle is not ready for the addition of a sequence before the A-frame. She must first become consistent in where she hits after clearing the apex. Included in Rachel Sanders' DVD are 13 pages of notes. This paragraph in particular is one that I will have keep in mind when we are training:
Once the dog can successfully perform the A-frame with a front cross and a push past, you can do some minor sequencing FROM the A-frame to other obstacles. When the dog is successfully performing these sequences and you have raised the A-frame to full height, you can start sequencing TO the A-frame. Sequencing to the A-frame is more difficult for the dog because he must learn how to negotiate being off balance as he enters the A-frame and how to regain his
balance for the apex stride.