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  #1201  
Old 06-10-2013, 11:42 AM
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YAY Izzy and Mandy!

Em's getting super consistent and picking up speed with her weaves, I'm so happy. Now I just need to make more, since I only have four, lol.
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  #1202  
Old 06-10-2013, 10:34 PM
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Talon's second day at his agility foundations class is tomorrow and I'm super excited! ^_^ He had a hard time with his release word last time, he got too excited and just booked it a few times. Worked with it a lot this week and he's doing soo good I can't wait to show everyone! ^_^
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:02 PM
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So, I got back to agility lessons last night after taking two months off to prepare for my move. There were some good parts, and some notsogood parts, but all told it was a productive and fun class.

I gotta tell ya, I'm getting REALLY sick of Cohen knocking bars. I'm not sure if it's wise, but I was marking knocked bars with a "whoops" and resetting the exercise. Cohen is pretty resilient, so I doubt I'll see any fallout from it, and it would be nice to be able to communicate that knocked bars = fun is over. I know I have to do some jumping drills with her if I really want to fix the problem, but my time is limited these days. Knocked bars on a straightaway are largely her responsibility, and knocked bars on turns are largely my fault for bad/late cues.

Other than the bar knocking, we had a good deal of success. I've posted about Cohen's weaving issues in this thread before (she pops out at the 10th pole constantly) and I was pleased to see that Cohen stayed in the poles for the entire obstacle each time we did them. Then, at the end of class, we pulled out another set of 12 poles and lined a full 24 up since someone is doing a 60-pole challenge with their dog this weekend. Cohen had zero issues weaving a full 24 - she was fast, accurate and happy. I was very pleased.

Our classes are set up so the room is divided in two, with half the class working on one set of obstacles and the other half on another set of obstacles. At the end of class we take down the gates and run a full course. I'm pleased to report that Cohen managed to keep every bar UP on our last run of the day.

We have a few runs this weekend at a nearby trial, so I'm hoping for a bit of success. But our Q rate has been miserable lately, so I'm not holding my breath. It'll just be a fun morning out with the dog with few expectations.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:57 PM
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NOM accidental double post

Just got my confirmation for the trial this weekend! Nerves are starting up already!
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sekah View Post
it would be nice to be able to communicate that knocked bars = fun is over. I know I have to do some jumping drills with her if I really want to fix the problem, but my time is limited these days. Knocked bars on a straightaway are largely her responsibility, and knocked bars on turns are largely my fault for bad/late cues.
It's not really fair to say the knocked bars are her responsibility when you know you need to do jumping drills but haven't been able to do them. I know jumping drills take a surprising amount of time, it was something I had to do CONSTANTLY with Auggie, and it's rather unfun work to do as well (seriously, suuuuuper boring) - but I would never say Auggie dropped a bar and that's his fault if I haven't put the work in to help him not drop bars. It's sort of like saying it's the dog's fault for not knowing how to do any given trick if you haven't put the work in to teach it. It's your responsibility to train the dog, and if you haven't been able to put the time in, the mistake is your fault... not hers.

I'm not trying to be mean, I know it sucks. Honestly towards the end of Auggie's career almost all the agility practice we did was just jumping exercises over and over and over again. Susan Salo says if she has limited amounts of time to train she'll just do a jumping exercise or two. She does set point exercises in hotel rooms while traveling. Boring. as. hell. But I could tell the difference it made when I worked on it with Auggie. Set point exercises were almost ALL I did with Auggie when he needed to warm up at a trial. No real jumping and running at the practice jump, just set point. over and over and over and over. It meant working less on fun stuff like doing "real" agility (running sequences) but really, since every course is made up by and large of jumps, it makes the most sense to work on the skill of jumping the most.
And of course it has been AGES since I did any real jump work with Payton because BOOOOORING but I have been thinking over the last week that I really, really need to do more of it. =P But it's so boring...


When Payton drops a bar I will usually stop, not reward, pick it up, repeat the exercise, and I don't worry too much about his feelings being hurt - but I am aware of his response. I know a handler who uses negative punishment when her dog drops a bar. The dog definitely got the message that dropping a bar is bad, and as a result the dog starts getting stressed and running worse, which results in the handler getting more angry, which results in the dog getting even worse, repeat the process. This is not a sensitive dog either, but it happened over time and over many runs. Over about a year or so, the downward spiral just got worse and worse. The dog no longer competes. A simple "whoops!" and resetting the bar is probably not going to be soul-crushing, especially with resilient dogs, but it's something on my mind whenever I work with Payton and a dropped bar is involved. I never want it to get to that point or even START approaching that point, so I'm just acutely aware of his response. And if what Cohen needs to learn some jumping skills in order to learn how to not drop bars, punishment for dropping a bar (negative or positive) won't really do anything except potentially frustrate you both.


Sorry if this comes across as mean, I sincerely don't mean it to. Having a dog who has jumping problems as a result of a physical limitation, and having those jumping problems eventually turn into major motivation problems - and seeing the same thing happen to other dogs - I'm a bit sensitive on the subject. =/
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  #1206  
Old 06-12-2013, 03:06 PM
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Nah, not mean. Fair.

I'm hesitant to do jump drills because none of my trainers have ever so much as mentioned them, let alone taught them. I've not done much autonomous agility training, so I've been relying on what I've learned in class and that's about it. A bad decision on my part due to me being a green handler and a side helping of not ever really clicking with a trainer (my first trainer never so much as mentioned how to teach a dog to jump properly, and my current trainer's answer to everything seems to be "slow down"). I'll look into buying a jump/jump drill book. How many jumps are needed for the exercises?
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:19 PM
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The nice thing (I think) about jump drills and having to go them alone is that they are so easy to set up. You'll get the exact distances and heights and stuff. I've been so lucky with my dogs who have never had jumping issues (*knock wood*) but I've worked with some people who have done pretty extensive jumping drills. I've seen them done with anywhere from one to five jumps, but it sounds like Beanie is definitely the experienced one in this!

Good luck at your trial this weekend.

We have our "home" trial this weekend, run by our club. Both dogs are doing pretty limited runs (Meg because she's Meg, Gusto because it is his first trial back since his injury). It should be interesting. Gusto's had very limited outdoor trial experience, and very limited agility for the last couple of months because of his injury. He hasn't even been on contacts since...April, maybe? I was going to let him on them for the first time at practice this week, but it got cancelled because of the rain. At least it is supposed to stop for the weekend! I'm actually curious to see if all the focus/start line work we've been doing while he's laid up pays off. If he has issues with the obstacles, I won't worry!
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:06 PM
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The Bad News: With my new job I have to stop going to my Puppy Prodigy class, which wasn't actually a puppy agility class, but we did stuff like cone work and front crosses while everybody else worked on stuffy training like LLW (because who needs that anyway ), so sad day Also, I'm having a TERRIBLE time finding any kind of class to put Siri in as a replacement.

The Good News: I found out today that I get to stay at my current (pet food) job part-time as a team member. Which means more money. Which means I think I'm just going to start foundations with private/semi-private lessons with one of the great agility trainers in the area. Eeeee!
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
I've seen them done with anywhere from one to five jumps, but it sounds like Beanie is definitely the experienced one in this!
Unfortunately. Ugh.
ETA: I should not say 'ugh,' it's not fair to Auggie. We had a lot of challenges but we learned so much. Really I am blessed to have had him as my first agility dog. It just doesn't always feel like that!

My trainer doesn't do jumping work either and I think it's a mistake. After everything I have read and learned about jumping, I truly do believe it's a super important skill to teach our dogs. I did baby Salo stuff with Payton and Georgie both early on and, like I said, because it's so boring and as humans we want to hurry up and do "real" agility, I have done less and less over time and I really NEED to do more.


I have done both Suzanne Clothier's jumping program (Naturally Jumping book) and Susan Salo's jumping DVDs. I like both of them for different reasons. I have never picked up Mecklenburg's book, I believe there is at least one person on this forum who has done it (Shai maybe?) so I can't speak to that one. I know competitors who use it and like it, I just don't know the details.

Clothier's program is nice because it lays everything out VERY clearly. Week one, day one. Week one, day two. Week one, day three. It's basically a calendar that you follow. You need a total of ten jumps for her program, starting with five and then working up to ten (you use two together to make an oxer - a jump that is as wide as it is tall.) The first several weeks are pretty boring because it's just about teaching the dog rhythm. I have a playlist on my YouTube channel with a lot of the Clothier videos:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...858EB8C93F5E05
(Rather boring videos. No fun to edit either.)
Once you have the rhythm down, she takes you to a troubleshooting phase where you start to space the jumps out differently and introduce things that make the dog actually think about his jumping and take-off point and such. At this stage you see the dog's jumping break down again, then improve as they start learning. It's interesting stuff and I like the theory behind it. I really did a lot of this with Auggie and he seemed to really enjoy doing it too. If I left the jumps set up in the back, he'd run back there when he was out to potty and start jumping through the chute. My mom took him outside one day and the jumps were all put away, and he paced around by the fence crying because he wanted her to set up the jumps for him. =P


I also have some Susan Salo videos up too but not as many:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...CTjF17SaKW_Xsi
Most of these (if not all) are actually filmed from the side, which IMO if you can film your jump work from the side it's better than working from the front. You can see a lot more of the little things in jumping style from the side.
I really like the Salo exercises, but the problem I have is everything isn't laid out super neatly in a "this is what you should do when" kind of formula, so I start floundering and struggling. For these I think you only need five jumps. She also likes you to use different jumps and different LOOKING jumps (in her DVD she's like "Put a flower pot in front of the uprights, now you've changed the look of the jump!" so it can be very simple stuff.) I did kind of work out a schedule with these that I worked with Auggie, but since he is retired I don't really remember what it was like. I did a lot of googling and found some people's notes from seminars and worked something up. I think I have my jumping notes in my training notebook at home and I can pull it out and see.

The most common one she does is the set-point exercise which is done with two jumps, though I frequently do a similar exercise with only one jump... basically without the stride regulator. When I warmed him up on the practice jump at trials, we did almost exclusively set-point-esque jumping. These also did not seem to be as "fun" for Auggie to do, but he definitely learned things from them. I got a leg up on a LOT of competitors with difficult courses because Auggie became a master at being able to slice a jump super tight. I could set him up on a start line with a tight slicing angle and basically run a straight line with him, while other people are throwing in crosses and trying to get a good lead out so they can handle. I'm thinking of three courses right off the top of my head where stuff we learned doing Salo jumping made a course super easy and other people struggled and even bombed on it.



I like both programs, but if I only had to pick one, I think I would go with Salo. Clothier's jumping program is a bit outdated and a new version has been "coming" for years. Part of the problem is the world of agility has changed as far as the kind of courses judges are putting out. They used to be smoother with wider spacings, but that was "easy" so now they are choppy, tight spacing, twisty-turny. I've seen people on Facebook praise courses that are basically built to completely prevent the dog - or the handler - from getting any real flow, because they're "hard." Personally I think the increasing difficulty in agility is why you are seeing more dogs struggling with jumping, because what we're asking them to do is not very natural and difficult for them to do. And I think Salo's program is better suited to the more recent types of courses. But I do really like them both and I'm glad I have both, because I've learned a lot from both programs. Of course, Clothier has a book that is like $15-20, and Salo involves a DVD set that I think is $40-50... and there's both foundation jumping AND an advanced jumping DVD. =P LM has both a book and a DVD series if I remember right so that might help. I do wish the Salo stuff was in a book, because I like to be able to take a book into the yard, look at the book, and say "okay THIS is what we're doing and it looks like this." I took notes from the DVD so I have something to take, but it's not nearly as nice as if it were a real book with pictures and stuff.

Hopefully somebody else can chime in about LM program specifics!
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  #1210  
Old 06-12-2013, 04:21 PM
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Yeah I work primarily through Mecklenburg's jump/handling system. It just feels very natural for me and lends structure to how I run my dogs naturally and they way we communicate.

I'm not sure what is actually being asked though and I'm currently limited to my thumbs for typing. But if anyone has specific questions on LM's method I will do what I can to answer.
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