Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Little Bit of Motion Gives Clear Direction

I set up the course below  based on the Balsell's course I posted a few days ago. 

This is just one of several sequences we ran.  Last night, I decided to add the dog walk at the periphery of the course so Belle and I could get in some DW practice.  This morning I added the two hoops and moved jump 5 to the square #13 position to produce this challenging course.  At least it proved to be challenging for Belle and me.
Our first problem was getting from tunnel 4 to tunnel 5.  My path is along the orange line and my plan was to get to the left wing of 6 and send Belle to tunnel 4.  Wrong.  When I stood still and tried sending her to 5, she came over 6.  When she realized that wasn't what I wanted, she defaulted to turning right out of 4 and taking 9.  (Over the last few days, more times than not, that is the direction I asked her to take in the sequences we worked on since it gave us so much trouble in the original course.)

I finally wised up and realized I had to keep moving along the orange line until Belle had passed the middle of jump 6.  Standing still just wasn't going to cut it with this dog and in this particular sequence.  It doesn't matter where I am along that line since it is not my proximity to the tunnel that matters.  What cues Belle to take the tunnel without taking the off-course jump is my movement along the that line until she is committed to the obstacle.

Next bobble was the backside jump, #11.  Belle is used to working with lateral distance and although I didn't have my left arm extended out to the side, it was far enough away from my body that Belle took the dog walk.  The solution here was simple.  Keep my arm even lower, call Belle's name and make eye contact with her.

The last two challenges involved which way to wrap after the straight tunnel.  Once again, since we've been working on wrapping away after a tunnel, Belle's preference was to turn right.  Getting her to turn left proved to be quite a bit harder.  I finally realized that what I had to do was make sure that my motion was going in the direction of the turn I wanted before Belle entered the tunnel.  As soon as she was committed to the tunnel, I could make the left turn indicated on the purple line if I wanted a left wrap.  If I wanted her to wrap right, I had to keep moving along the green line until she was in the tunnel.

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