Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yippee for Jumps!

I recently had my birthday and for months I was planning on asking for a chute. As I have frequently commented, Ike has chute performance issues.

Recently I was made aware, once more, of how much Ike doesn't really care for jumping and how it would benefit us to practice more. HOWEVER, that would mean having jumps. I didn't want to buy them because I KNOW I can make them. Again, HOWEVER, when do I have the time?

So, I broke down and asked for two competition quality jumps for my birthday.

Ike and I practiced yesterday evening with our new jumps. I set up the teeter, the new jumps in a 180, and the weaves. He was FLYING! He has started to hop through his weaves. Yay! Yay! Yay! The only bad thing about this much faster performance is that he is starting to over shoot his weave entry and sometimes during the weaves he is moving so fast he misses a weave. John suggested that everyone deals with this as their dogs become faster and more confident and I will just have to practice more so he has better muscle control. Thoughts from the group?

Should I condition him to slow prior to the weaves or is that self-defeating? As you all know I have worked HARD to make him faster!

Other Random Ike Thoughts

The past month has been awash with change for Ike. I have been thinking about this a lot, about what might have caused it. In my last lesson with Erin S. she commented that she feels dogs never change unless we change. Alright, so something about the way I view the world or do things has changed.

Lets see, Katrin and I had a real heart-to-heart about what my expectations and hopes for Ike are about a month and a half ago. Perhaps verbalizing my real dream for Ike, of him attaining a level of comfort with the world at large that he doesn't currently have, has helped us move closer to that goal?

I can't help but think it was only a month ago that I switched Ike to a completely raw diet and all of these changes started to occur. I was speaking to my friend Michele yesterday about Ike and before I could mention the raw diet, she mentioned how we had stopped going to the rehab a little more than a month ago. Hmmm....

Last night I told John all of my theories about why Ike has changed and John, very logically said, "Well, there have been some subtractions but there has also been addition. You've been working with him every day. Of course he's going to make progress." Now that isn't necessarily always true, but there is truth in the fact that I have been focusing much more energy on what Ike needs and what his capabilities at the moment are.

I do have relapses (ahem, Tuesday), but I'm getting better. Ike is not a mini-Julie! He is a miniature schnauzer named Ike with some baggage (that's getting lighter [or more manageable] by the day)!


Katrin said...

That's good thinking! Ike is a VERY lucky puppy!!!!

On the weaves, there was a discussion about this on one of the corgi lists, but my ideas were dismissed. I'll give them to you instead. I've done this stuff and it WORKS. (contrary to what the corgi people said!)

1. I will put a jump bar (no up rights) where I want the dog to check his stride to make the entrance. This simple visual cue can help many dogs learn where he needs to collect to make the weaves entrance.

2. I will put 2 sets of poles 1 right after the other. So the dog does set 1, and then is immediately put into set 2 (about 15-18' away from the 1st set). For set 2 I *only* worry about the 1st 3 poles when I start. I want that fast, accurate entrance into the 2nd set. After the dog is consistently nailing the entrance, then I start asking the dog to finish the full set of poles.

3. If a dog is having real difficulty, I will go back to putting a cage or 2 on the poles to help with the muscle memory.

4. I do NOT give a verbal 'easy' cue into the poles. I want the dog to learn to collect his stride, but I don't want him to slow down! So why would I tell him to do that? Plus your timing has to be so perfect for that to work AND you have to do it all of the time or else your dog won't listen to it. So say you are running a course, and you're out of breath, and tell your dog to 'weave' but just can't get the 'easy' out at the correct time. What does your dog then do? He doesn't check his stride, and you then have to spend time 'fixing' the poles.

Just my .02

Katrin said...

Oh yeah and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!

JULES & IKE said...

Thanks Katrin!

How far from the weave entry should I place the jump bar? 2.5 feet?

I will try this next week.

Katrin said...

Depends on the dog. I would experiment (this is where another set of eyes or a video camera can help) and see what distance works best. I am pretty sure the closest I have ever put it was 2' for a chihuahua

Shelly said...

I think it is a combination of things--stemming initially from the conversation you had with Katrin regarding what your expectations of Ike are, along with what HIS needs are. I think that once you thought about that--the decisions that you made for him, fell into line with what worked best for him -- he started responding better, which helped you work with him more (and with less frustration on his part) u7wqnd that's why he's making such improvements. Good MAMA!!!!

JULES & IKE said...

Thanks, Shelly. It's super exciting!! baffling!! and almost scary!

Katrin said...

Julie, just LET IT GO! Stop worrying about it!! I know how hard that is, trust me! It's OK that it's baffling. It's OK that it's scary. Change usually is, even if it is for the better! (and you are talking to the change resistance movement head. LOL. I haven't changed my hairstyle since I was 8. Or the type of cloths I wear since I was 5. Drives my mother insane! BUT changing the way you think about interacting with your dog or any animal can be a really good thing!)

JULES & IKE said...

Okay, okay....letting it got, or trying, I swear!!

ann & partner said...

Happy birthday Julie. Sounds like Ike has a very loving and patient Mom.

Katrin said...

I believe you! :-)

JULES & IKE said...

Thanks, Ann. I have a good little doggie - he puts up with me being a little too much of a stage-mum at times!

Katrin, I will give myself some sort of reward for not (!!) pondering this any longer. I am like a dog with a good-icky smell.

Shelly said...


Shelly said...