I took the video camera out to see how Dusty and Belle were progressing. I have added handler motion to Dusty's grid work. I was very disappointed to see that he was not getting all four feet into the box. Unfortunately, I didn't catch it until I watched the video in slow motion. I will have to go back to no handler motion until he understands he is to collect his stride for this grid exercise. If need be, I will place a gate about 10 feet from the PVC box and see if that gets Dusty to think about what he is doing with his legs.
I started Belle on the A-frame Saturday. After sitting down and re-watching the section on Rachel Sander's DVD demonstrating to introduce the actual A-frame to a dog that has been taught TOTO, I decided to back up a couple of steps and make sure that Belle was confidently hitting the box without needing a release command to exit the A-frame. Thanks to my lack of consistency in using a TOTO, she didn't have much trouble with this.
After trying that exercise from different positions on the downside of the A-frame, I placed Belle in a stay and had her perform the entire A-frame. After I viewed the video, I realized she was hitting quite high in the box, and sometimes she was even hitting the top of it. Rachel Sanders explains this is due to not landing far enough from the apex on the downside of the A-frame. Her suggestion is to try a stride regulator, which is what I did. It seems to work. The next time we work on this, I will probably move it another inch or two lower.
One thing that really impresses me about training Belle to do a running A-frame is how it eliminates all the extra steps she was taking as she approached the apex and when she was on the downside of the A-frame. She just comes smoothly over the top, something I don't think she was ever able to do before. Here's a compilation of video clips which demonstrates how Belle's A-frame performance was deteriorating. I also included one clip from today's work to show how much smoother Belle's performance of the A-frame is already.