a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: How Danged Refusals Killed Our Snooker Run

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How Danged Refusals Killed Our Snooker Run

SUMMARY: Boost won't go over jumps that are right in frigging front of her.

This is an ongoing problem. There are certain situations on course where she's so busy looking at me that she won't take a jump that's right in front of her. Rear crosses are sometimes the cause, but not always. Drives me nuts. Instructor says her mother was the same way. A friend was shooting photos this weekend and got a lovely sequence that shows her looking back at me constantly instead of looking at the course.

Coming through the #2 tire--we're good, she's fast and ahead of me, which is where you want the dog before a cross-behind. (Although I see in the photo that she caught the tire coming through.)
Uh-oh, already halfway to the blue jump she's looking back at me instead of looking at where she's going.
She's still looking at me instead of looking for an obstacle. Can you believe that she actually finally took that jump without knocking the bar?
As she's taking the jump, she's STILL looking at me and not picking up that I want to go to the left. I think I must have taken the extra steps past the jump to keep her from backjumping it after this point.
And now I'm on the wrong side of jump #3, she's facing me, and we have nowhere to go. She's jumping around in front of me, looking at me, instead of thinking about obstacles.
On this snooker run, we had a lovely lovely opening with me being able to send her a bit over jumps and back through a straight tunnel. She was so good, and kept her bars up, and didn't run around the first jump when I led out quite a ways. Then we rounded the very wide 180 from the tunnel exit to the tire, and that's when the trouble began.

I wanted to send her ahead of me over the blue jump (#3) so that I could rear cross and pull her back over #4. But she'd glance at the jump, then look back at me, so she was running kind of half sideways at the jump, repeatedly. And I'm holding my arm up and saying HUP! and running at the right side of the jump. Instructor said I have to keep going, don't try to cut across behind her until she's committed to the jump. Which, in this case, wasn't until after I was PAST the jump, so now she's between me and #4 and I have no way of getting her there because she's still facing me instead of looking around for obstacles.

When she finally turns, she turns to her left and the wrong end of the tunnel is the first thing she sees, and in she goes, for an offcourse.

And it was SUCH a nice opening, too!


  1. I have the same problem with Lola and my instructor gave me an easy to set up exercise for it. Set up a jump chute then stagger every other jump just a little bit (a couple of inches to start). Then run the jump chute with her using only 'Go Jump' verbal cues. You can't use your arms to cue the push/pull, she has to focus on the jumps and figure it out herself. Then you gradually increase the stagger distance once she's focusing ahead and not on you.

  2. Could you have gotten from the tunnel entrance to the other side of the tire before she emerged? Then you'd be in position *and* ahead of her? It looks like a lot of yardage, but with you running at an angle it might work.

  3. Oh, yeah, the staggered jump exercise! One I've done many times before but not in a while. Good suggestion.

    I might have been able to get to the far side of the tire but I'm not sure it would have worked well--I really had to pull her to keep her from going to the table or the red jumps on the start line; if I had been moving to get around the back side of the tire to somehow straighten her up for the tire (not a great move anyway), I'm afraid I'd have pushed her into an offcourse earlier. Or--a front cross on the tire? (Not sure what you're suggesting.) That would be very tricky positioning, since she's coming at such an angle from the tunnel to get to the tire, which is really a right-angle turn to get to the blue--not sure how I'd basically get next to the blue and still manage her into the correct side of the tire.

    But the point really being that this is an ongoing issue, not just this one situation.

  4. Oh, ouch, and what a nice fast little snooker course - so unlike what we've been seeing around here...

    Our instructor says if the dog is looking at you, it's because they don't know where to go or what you want...soon enough. Logical, I suppose. Don't know if it would apply for you, just thoughts...

    Maybe video would help you, always helps me.

  5. sounds like you already have a plan, but something to think about:

    dogs only "look" for a femptosecond. Anything longer is an interaction, an exchange of information.

    So there's interaction between you guys when you don't want it. Your half of the deal would be to stop interacting so much at those points..encourage periods of non-interaction thru drills even.

    The definition of interaction is anything your dog thinks is information/feedback/etc. (verbal/eyes/movement or non-movement/whatever)

    If there's nothing there when they look, the dog should evidently stop. Especially if they're hurrying to the next thing (where your focus will be)