Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Raising the Dog Walk to Full Height

Day 58 of the re-train:  I wanted to raise the DW to three feet today, but raising up to that height using milk crates was just too unsteady. Since I don't feel like making new legs for my dog walk supports, I decided to see what would happen if I raised the DW to full height.  The reps were pretty good, but I felt Belle was checking her stride ever so slightly so I opted to add more speed to see what would happen.  Belle began hitting fairly deep in the yellow with only one rear foot.  This is an acceptable hit, but she had been running the DW and hitting with one or two front and two rear feet.  (Hitting with all four feet is something I expect to disappear as Belle becomes more and more confident running the DW.)

The jury is still out whether we will stay at full height.  We'll do another session or two to see if her striding improves before I lower the dog walk back to two feet or bite the bullet and build new legs.  However, if I were working with a dog who wasn't a re-train, I would definitely build new legs for my dog walk so we could get used to doing it at three feet before moving to full height.

Another thing I've been doing is watching Belle run through the yellow, which is something I don't do at trial.  I want her to get used to running through the contact with me watching and not think I'm looking for 2o2o.  I've also finally found a word to use for our running dog walk--"fly."  Right now, I'm using "okay," as in "don't stop at the bottom, keep moving."  When I use our old cue, "walk it,"  Belle becomes unsure of what I want unless I also use "okay."  That's a little too cumbersome for me, so for now I'll just use "okay," and when Belle is striding nicely again at full height, I'll introduce the new cue.

Notice what an absolutely beautiful day it is in the video.


  1. Are you able to rest one of the DW planks on top of the other plank at all?

    1. I could try that, but I'll give it a few more sessions starting from the down ramp and the cross plank striving for speed. This morning I tried adding more speed by sending Belle to a tunnel first, but that produced mixed results. This afternoon, I used Belle's favorite toy (a Jolly ball) to increase her speed and to get her to stride into the yellow. I started her about mid-way up the down ramp and we progressed to about two feet from the down ramp on the cross plank. I really liked the results.