a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Clipping

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


SUMMARY: Boost resorts to body bashing, for everything.

Knowledgeable folks have observed that Boost isn't even trying to avoid knocking bars. I am, at times, at my wits' end when doing bar-knocking drills, trying to get even one single jump that she doesn't touch at all on her way over.

Tika seems different: She usually hits them on the first bar, on a difficult turn, or when I do something wacky on course. But Boost--jeez, they just go flying!

I don't know why it surprises me. She thwangs through the doggie door flap like it's an enemy phalanx and has ripped it out of its frame and torn it into pieces as she blasts through. It's a challenge to keep it taped together (at $60 a flap, we're not replacing it every time she rips it).

She hits doors on her way through. I have had to reseat my sliding screen doors dozens of times, with tremendous fuming and cursing and breaking of fingernails. My bedroom has a double door, and she hits the 2nd door every time, rattling it like crazy, which is particularly bad at 2 a.m. and other people in the house might be sleeping.

She whacks into me when she thinks she's in a particular hurry. I sometimes fear for my life when she hits me going down stairs. I've been trying to grab her when she hits my legs to tell her to cut it out, but--well--when Boost's in a particular hurry, by the time I realize what she's doing--or done--she's 10 feet ahead of me already.

She deliberately smacks into Tika when Tika is running and chasing the fetch toy, although that always strikes me as herding behavior because she comes in from the front, not the side.

In short, she doesn't care what she hits with her body. So it should be no surprise that we have a problem with jump bars.


  1. I saw your rachel sanders running contacts posts, could you e mail me at admiralsterriers@gmail.com

    thank you

  2. Jaime is like that, too. Absolutely no regard for his (or anyone else's)body whatsoever. I think it can be a good thing in that you never have to worry about the dog getting scared if they fall off an obstacle. One time when Jaime was still young he fell off a dog walk onto a chute barrel that was underneath the dw and broke right through it. I and everyone else present gasped and held our breaths to see what horrible damage he'd done to himself. Without missing a beat he jumped up and looked around for the next obstacle and didn't seem to ever have any repercussions, either physical or mental.
    But the knocking into other dogs and people is not such an endearing habit.
    Have you tried doing jump grids with Boost? Does your instructor have any suggestions?

  3. Dogs who just bounce and keep going are both wonderful and scary--what hurts that they're not telling us about? But so much better than working through some kind of phobia.

    I started with Susan Salo type jumping drills when we started. I should probably do more of those. It has also been suggested to just use heavier bars so there's more of a motivation for her to avoid hitting them, but who knows whether that would work for her. Suggestion from instructor is do tons and tons of bar-knocking drills (fairly specific ways of working through a series of increasing difficulties and heights). Maybe I'll bite the checkbook bullet and go in for a private to see whether I'm approaching them correctly.