a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: A Gimble Gamble

Friday, October 17, 2003

A Gimble Gamble

Jake and I got a difficult gamble last weekend that stymied all but 3 Elite and 1 Open dog (and we were over time due to stuff *before* the gamble, but that wasn't Jake's fault, and we GOT it).

Here's the situation: Handler has to stay outside the dotted line. Dog has to take the teeter-totter (#1), into the right side of the tunnel, then out over jumps #3 and 4.

When we all walked it ahead of time, we thought that the thing to do would be to hang back (A1) as the dog went up the teeter, take one step out (A2) as the dog got to the bottom of the teeter, giving a good strong "out" command, then back up a step and start running (A3) as the dog came out of the tunnel.

The problem with this was that the dog was looking back over its left shoulder at you as he did the teeter, so giving an "out" from that position (pushing the dog away from you) simply pushed him into the left side of the tunnel.

We already knew that going out to B1 to give the "out" might get the dog into the tunnel, but the dogs would come out of the tunnel so fast that they'd catch us running back along the diagonal line and we wouldn't be in a position to push them to the remaining jumps, although a couple of people tried it anyway.

The only solution that worked (Jake & I did it, but only after watching the other successful 2 gamblers) was to go out to B1 to give the "out" to the far side of the tunnel, then step further in to give the dog ANOTHER "out" to the first jump as he came out of the tunnel.

Most dogs who have been trained to take obstacles straight out away from their handlers have learned to do more than one jump in a row that way, although we almost never see a situation where that's necessary on the course with the handler standing completely still.

So after the dog turned and headed toward the jump, you had to keep your hand and arm pressure out, and continue giving your "go on/jump" commands, "go jump!" in our case.

This is the second time I've seen a gamble like this, where that was pretty much the only solution to getting the dog through it (and oddly enough 2 of the 3 dogs that did it this time were the same ones who did it then, if I remember correctly--my Jake and Ron's Meg).

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