SUMMARY: Working on Boost's lead-out pivot, go-on, bar knocking, runouts, and refusals. Is that enough?
OK, if I could fix these things about Boost, I'd have the perfect agility dog. Well...OK, table issues and starting to leave contacts early, but those are so minor in comparison.
- Lead-out pivot: This is typically where the first two obstacles are in a straight line and the third obstacle is off to one side. So you put the dog in a stay, lead out to your front cross position (or somewhere along that line), release the dog, and then pivot (make your front cross). Boost has been repeatedly going past the second jump if I move too soon or sometimes even if I don't, and sometimes even past the first jump.
- Go-on: When there are obstacles in front of you and I'm yelling "go! hup! go hup! go!" and running as hard as a can, don't stop and turn back at me to see whether I'm serious about it! (Notice I changed who "you" is between first and second bullets.)
- Bar knocking: Slam bam crash.
- Runout: Dog runs past the plane of the obstacle they're supposed to be taking. (See bullet #1 for a specific case.)
- Refusal: Dog approaches correct obstacle but then doesn't take it. (See bullet #2 for a specific case.)
So I've been doing these things:
- Put a toy beyond a line of jumps and run with her saying "go!". She runs without a second thought to me, fast and directly to the toy. After doing it a couple of times like that, I don't put the toy but use the same sequence of jumps, so she still drives out and then I throw the toy past her once she gets there.
- Setting her up with a variety of lateral lead-outs (where I move further and further away from the second obstacle but still indicate with my body language that she should take the first 2 obstacles).
- Practice lead-out pivots where I'm more and more visible off to one side (an extension of previous bullet).
- Say "oopsies" and make her stop EVERY time she knocks a bar. I'm back into the camp that says that she has to take responsibility for some things. The fact that she can jump just fine given the right motivation indicates to me that she can grasp the concept of not knocking the bar.
- Just plain bar-knocking drills, more or less standing in place close to the jump and then getting her to jump it from weid angles with me doing weird things and reward for not hitting the bar.
- Just trying various full-speed maneuvers of the kind where she's likely to not take a jump or run around it, and back-chaining to better performance.
- For "go-ons", trying very hard to keep running myself until I reach her. Also trying to make sure that I go THERE to play with her and the toy, not waiting for her to bring it back to me.
- Going up to Power Paws to practice, where they've got more space and a less-familiar set-up and more options with the same obstacle arrangement.
I think I see improvement already after 3 fairly intense training days (an hour a day at power paws (split between 2 dogs plus plenty of rest in the shade) plus another 10-15 minutes 2x/day at home).
Here we are at Power Paws, practicing out lead-out pivot. Dog is lined up so she's looking straight along a straight line drawn over the centers of the first 2 jumps. (Although in this shot her body looks like she's facing a bit to the right. This was my nth attempt at setting the camera in a good position, so she might be off by a wee bit here.)