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Old 03-19-2012, 02:19 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Do look into the ETS first, as if he has it it'll make foundation stuff muuuuch more challenging.

I'm starting my crew with Mecklenburg's jumping foundation stuff instead of Salo's - just got the book, though I've been working on some basic exercises already and I'm already seeing Aeri's jumps rounding out more.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:51 PM
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Aleron Aleron is offline
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Originally Posted by ~Tucker&Me~ View Post
I have a question for all the agility people out there. So Spy and I love agility, but he consistently jumps low and flat, and often takes off way too early. He knocks bars at home, and knocks a LOT of bars when we train anywhere different and he gets more excited. Sp he is not just an 'occasional' bar dropper, he is constantly knocking them down and just doesn't seem to care. For this reason I haven't pursued agility as much as I would like because I have heard from a number of people that dogs who are bar-droppers probably will always be and its not really a fix-able problem. Or if not unfix-able, it is very ingrained and the training I do would likely fall apart in a competition environment.
Taking off early and jumping flat are different issues, which can require different solutions. It is extremely common for BCs to jump flat with many it gets worse the faster and/or more wound up they get. Some of these dogs do much better at the next jump height up from their's, so that is something worth trying. You can improve flat jumping with work. Some dogs can become much more consistent but it does seem that some dogs will also struggle with keeping bars up. This is true of some dogs with anything in agility though. There are dogs who struggle with maintaining contact performance, weave pole performance, etc.

Taking off early may or may not be ETS. If he takes off early on a pretty regular basis though, there's a pretty good chance that it may be. It's really hard to say without seeing him running. ETS may somewhat like jumping flat because by time the dog gets to the jump, they are already on the downside of the arc (and that's what causes the knocked bars). BCs are one of the breeds prone to it, along with Shelties and Belgians but I have seen dogs of many different breeds with it - some trialing at very high levels. With ETS, lower jump heights tend to help keep the dog from crashing the jumps. ETS is not believed to be a fixable problem but it can be managed through running the dog in a lower height, making sure you handle in a clear way, knowing the best distance to work from the dog and consistent jumping practice. My dog with has ETS gets much worse when he doesn't jump regularly.

There's a lot of other jumping issues as well. Some dogs do tend to just try to charge through the jumps without thought of clearing them or not. Some dogs just need better conditioning or training to learn how to properly jump. At any rate, I wouldn't be quick to just accept the "once a bar knocker, always a bar knocker" stuff. Whatever his problem is, it can likely be improved at least to some degree with training, conditioning and/or management.

I think Susan Salo's DVDs are a good suggestion. Although, a forewarning would be her program is very involved if you want to follow it all the way through. It requires a bit too much repetition (and math LOL) for me to really get into it. Still, I have used some of her jumping exercises and she is certainly considered the best of the best when it comes to jump training. If you can determine what your dog's specific issue is, she has done quite a few Clean Run articles with jump grids and the such that would be worth looking into for sure. I know she definitely did one at a point for ETS with a lot of suggestions and jumping exercises. I did work with those exercises with my ETS dog and they did seem to help...while I was doing them (and she pretty much said what I observed - you have to practice regularly with ETS dogs).

Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:27 PM
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BostonBanker BostonBanker is offline
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I took a class based on Salo's program with Meg a few years ago and thought it was quite good. Meg's never had real jumping issues, but her form certainly improved.

My friend has a young-ish BC who sounds a lot like Spy. He's a terrible bar knocker, and it is mostly just crazy speed, "who cares if I knock it" stuff. He's been taking a class similar to the one I took with Meg, and there has been a definite improvement.

I think if everyone who had a BC who pulled jump bars regularly gave up, we'd have about 8 border collies running agility in the world There's definitely ways to help it tremendously.

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