Last night was Part II of the jumping workshop that Carmie and I are taking. Yesterday’s class focused on serpentines and threadles (or box work).
We started class working on the serpentines. Amanda wanted us to run the serpentine in a straight line.
She had some good pointers for me and Carmie.
Much like Webb Anderson suggested for Ike in the disastrous seminar we attended at Clean Run a few years ago (it was disastrous because Ike was STRESSED to the point that I wanted to cry), Amanda suggested I wait until Carmie is just about to exit the tunnel before I start moving out to the first jump in the serpentine. She felt this would help motivate Carmie to move faster.
Between jumps 1 and 2 she told me to “move” and I never slowed down resulting in Carmie missing jump 3 a couple of times. I felt like I was running the line pretty tight with Carmie. Amanda said she didn’t think so and to re-evaluate if my dog starts dropping bars. She asked me if Carmie drops bars. Ah, just about never - Alright then.
Amanda appears to be a big proponent of starting your dog with movement that includes you – versus sending them to an obstacle – at least in terms of starting a sequence versus a course. I am not sure if she suggests the same thing on course. By saying she suggests starting your dog with movement I mean she’ll ask you to start your dog facing away from the obstacle and the two of you turn toward the obstacle together – so you are moving together. I’m not sure if that’s clear, but I feel like it is a variation of sending them around the stanchion from last week.
The box work was tougher for us. I did a two jump lead out and bent to release Carmie. I always do this (bend); It is such a bad habit. She told me to stand up and then commented that I was very stiff. Had anyone ever told me that before? No, but that doesn’t mean I’m not.
First run through I lead out past jump two, bent way down to release. Did a FC between 2 and 3 and a sloppy front cross after 4 because I was waiting for Carmie to commit to 4. Then I forgot where I was going. Gah! I wanted to go to jump 8. Not sure why! It felt like where the course should go to me.
Amanda had me release Carmie when I got to 2 and was still moving versus the more static release I used initially. She asked me to go into the pocket between 3 and 4. At which point Carmie blind crossed behind me.
We took a second and Amanda described a couple of training games she does to prevent blind crosses.
Set up a single jump. Put your dog in a sit. Walk alongside the jump. Release your dog to your hand. She said it is tougher for more experienced dogs because they see the obstacle and want to take it versus running to the dropped shoulder/hand. You can start at the half-way point of the jump if your dog is having a tough time. Eventually you want to be able to run around the jump with your dog targeting your hand versus taking the obstacle.
She also suggested a front cross on the flat exercise. Toss a treat for your pup. As they run for the treat turn the other way and call them to you. Do a front cross and treat them from the correct hand. Toss another treat forward and turn run away. I can’t describe this as accurately but I am looking forward to playing both games with Carmie and Bug.
We went back to the sequence and Carmie handled it much better. Carmie still wanted to blind cross me between 3 and 4 but I changed my movement enough to prevent it. I thought her pinwheel was decent and the second and third time I did the complete sequence the final front cross after 9 was MUCH smoother.
I feel like I have walked away with a lot of information for two one hour classes (and I can’t believe how quick the hour went). I can’t wait to try and implement some of the exercises. These classes have also caused me to re-evaluate my handling in relationship to Carmie. I think perhaps I haven’t been trying to suit my handling to Carmie but make Carmie suit what I want to be doing. It is interesting – there is a difference between focusing on skills and handling AND skills. I have been focusing so much on the skills I would like to acquire that I might not have been cognizant of how my handling also affects those skills with the particular dog I am working with? I’m not sure. Food for thought, definitely.
13 hours ago