Saturday, November 9, 2013

They Call It a Dummy Jump for a Reason

I set up this modified Novice JWW course (the weaves were at #10) for Willie today.  I realized the distances between obstacles was pretty big just looking at the course map, but once the course was set, the distances looked really huge.

I didn't think Willie had enough distance skill for me to send him out to 3 and 4 while I moved into position for a FC between 5 and 6, so I tried a blind cross which Willie didn't understand.  Then I tried sending him out on his own so I could do a FC, and he did just fine!

Our next problem was the #11 jump.  When Willie exited the tunnel, he drifted toward me and missed the jump.  I would have preferred placing my FC between 13/14, but the only solution for this problem was for me to move in closer and do my FC between 12/13.

Our final problem was getting from 15 to 16.  (I added the red dummy jump to make a box when I set up the course.  Not one of my better ideas.)  Willie repeatedly hit the bar at #15, and just didn't understand he was to go straight through the box.  Later I had Belle try it, and much to my dismay I discovered that adding the dummy jump was a really poor idea since even she had trouble getting from 15 to 16.  I removed the dummy jump and found Belle could complete the course when I used either handler path shown at the left.  Willie still had trouble driving through in a straight line, so obviously we will have to work on this some more.

Well, at least I have some training ideas for this week:
  • Work on getting RC and blind cross at 5/6.
  • Work on increasing lateral distance so I can do a FC between 13/14.
  • Work on driving from 15 to 16 in a straight line.
  • It would be a good idea to not use bars when introducing Willie to a full course.  There's enough new stuff going on that we shouldn't have to stress over knocked bars.
  • Keep working on obstacle focus!!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Divide and Conquer

Yesterday, I set up this BYD sequence from Clean Run, 09/12, for Willie.  It proved to be quite difficult for him, and I made several mistakes.

First, we worked on this way too long, even considering that 75% of the time was spent playing between attempts.

Second, I failed to make the challenges simple enough for Willie to succeed after he failed two times.

Third, there were too many challenges embedded into this sequence:
  • The tunnel entrance at 2 calls for collection.  I should have changed the location of 1.
  • The 270 at 3/4 is a wee might strange, so I have to have Willie on my right.  However, even having him on my right is no guarantee of success.  I should have used winged jumps for 3 and 4 and reset them to maintain the 270.
  • When we got as far as 5, more often than not, Willie ran by it on the left.  Should have ended the sequence at 5 so I didn't have to worry about the turn to 6.
  • I realized Willie was looking at me instead of the first jump when I lead out.  I have to remember to wait until he looks at the first obstacle before releasing him to run.
(The funky 270 caused most of the difficulty we faced with this sequence.  In order to have any chance of getting it, Willie had to be on my right.  That means I cannot stand at the tunnel entrance--I have to be able to indicate it and MOVE!  Turning right on a RC at the following 180 is not a given for Willie at this point in his training.  However, given how closely I have to handle the 270, I simply can't do a FC between the 270 and the 180.) 

This morning, I set up this simple sequence (white circles) to work on Willie's ability to remain committed to the tunnel entrance I indicate while I move into position for a FC between 3 and 4.  I also made sure not to release him until he was looking at the first jump.  Once Willie was comfortable with my lateral movement at the tunnel, we tried the original opening (black circles) which had given us so much trouble.

Yesterday, I had tried both a lead out pivot and and serpentine handling for the opening.  After trying both with Belle, I decided serpentine handling was a better choice for us since it gave me a chance to cue some collection as Willie makes the turn into the tunnel.

When time allows, we will tackle the 270 problem.  Also, we will be doing a lot more work with wingless jumps so that Willie can develop a better understanding of what his job is in relationship to a jump.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Willies - A Backyard Exercise

Willie's understanding of my handling has grown by leaps and bounds.  Last week, I designed a setup that would allow us to work on several different skills.

Getting the white circle ending proved very difficult for us.

Here is the video of Willie and me working on one of the sequences.  The emphasis was supposed to be on the rear cross to the tunnel, but much to my surprise it became an exercise in getting the third jump in a pinwheel.