Saturday, 20 August 2011

Impossibilities are merely things which we have not learnt.

It’s been ages since I last blogged. I’ve been really busy with training and shows I have hardly had any time. But.. The car needs a bit of TLC and requires fixing so it has given me some free time.

Stig and his Jumping.
So going back to the one jump training – clicker training I blogged about a few blogs ago. Well I feel this has really helped him understand the reward value for a clear jump on an individual jump, and then we built up on that.
Stig already had the drive motivation to get to the jump but always wanted to drive to the next obstacle, forgetting about his feet.  I now start and finish each training session on the one jump exercise. This means there is nothing else for him to do apart from one jump and reward. So his focus is entirely on the one jump. This is so he always starts and finishes by being rewarded for an excellent jump, an easy way for him to earn his reward quickly, and hopefully sink in quicker!

I ignore the behaviour when knocking the pole, replace the pole, I then allow him to jump again. When he does a nice jump I reward him with an awesome game of tug. I them increased his excitement level by playing before then allowing him to jump and then even tugging or ignoring depending on the jump. It’s been hard work so far and frustrating but I have stuck to my plan and I feel it is working. I had someone video some of his runs although his best runs typically were the ones I managed not to get videoed :-(

He seems to be coming along well. He is now only having 0 max 3 poles a run, hardly any lazy feet or shoulders either most are just taps, so a big improvement.  Before he had a bad habit of not even taking off just shouldering the jump/wing over because he was to excited and his was in his way.  Over 13 runs he has only knocked the first pole once.  Whereas 2 months ago I would say out of 13 runs the first pole would of been down at least 10 times.

He seems to be a little bit calmer whilst running so he is concentrating more on jumping. I have been trying lots of different techniques to try and keep him as chilled out as possible. It’s been a bit of trial and error but I think we finally have it.

The most annoying thing for us now is queuing. People trying to wind their dogs up letting them bark and playing tuggy with them. I have had a dog like this and don’t expect them not to try and get there dogs in the best frame of mind to work and perform to there best. So I now get someone to queue for me whilst I move away from the excitement. I allow Stig to watch the agility but away from other dogs that are wound up and near jumps. I will not let him watch near the weaves or contacts as this excites him even more.

He has done some really nice runs and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year with him. I’m enjoying running him more now that he is concentrating a little better. I don’t have to worry about him getting too over excited which led to knocking poles which led to more excitement and less focus and not being sensible on the equipment and falling off. So when he trashes a jump I take him out as this is my indication that he is not concentrating. I’m afraid that he could do himself an injury at the speed he runs at or doing something silly because he too excited to be sensible. It’s not worth it.

Stig broke his wait in his G3 Agility. It’s unusual for him to break so I put him back. (Got E’d) Then he went clear, a stunning clear too!  He has had a fair few lovely runs now with 1 or 2 poles and had fantastic times too. I know he is knocking on the door but I don’t want him winning up yet. So was quite glad I put him back.

Running Contacts
I have blogged and put a few videos up of Stig running his a frame and dog walk. I am still training these at home but due to the past poles issue I have decided that he would be even more wound up and less focused in the ring doing running contacts. The stop just allows him to calm back down again and think.  Once Stig is jumping consistently well I will start to introduce them in the ring.

Ben is 8 years old this month and I’m really happy how he is working. His A-Frame is not up to scratch but I have decided I am going to teach him a running a-frame over the winter, I’m looking forward to teaching him this as he is 8 and has always done a 2on2off so it will be interesting, but I’m sure he will like it more. So come January Stig and Ben should both be doing a running a frame in the ring.

Ben won his Champ jumping and came third in the Champ final at Dogs In Need so very pleased with him…. Ohh… he also got 3rd in the G7 jumping there too.

Here are a few clips from KCI and Dogs In Need.

Lucy Osborne