a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Runs from this weekend

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Runs from this weekend

SUMMARY: summarytext

Tika's Saturday Standard

Tika doesn't bother stopping for contact zones but is fairly solidly in them. I look completely uncoordinated in these videos. On the field, I feel like I'm sprinting alongside the dogwalk, but here it looks like I'm jogging, and not very well.

She knocks a bar near the end, obviously because I'm not telegraphing the front cross/change of direction well. At the very end, you can see her diving in to grab my feet as usual.

Boost's Saturday Standard

Same course as Tika. It was a Qualifier, but not lovely:
1. After the weaves, there's a tunnel then a jump. She comes to me instead of going over the jump, then barely makes it, then turns right instead of towards the Aframe and I sort of reach over the jump to push her away from backjumping.
2. Three jumps after the dogwalk, she wants to go around but I extend my arm over the jump area again to bring her in.
3. On the table, you can hear the judge pause several times as her elbows come up.
4. The next to the last jump, you can see her starting to look back at me instead of looking for jumps.

Boost's Steeplechase

This is a more typical round:
1. Runouts galore.
2. Pops out of weaves and I can't get control of her to put her back into the correct place and finally give up and take the E just so I can go on.
3. Leaves the A-frame without a release word both times and I make her lie down until she stays down long enough that I was able to release her.
4. At the end, looking back at me and turning back to me.

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties with the volunteer videographer, Tika's lovely Steeplechase (with bad A-frames) looks remarkably like the inside of a lens cap.


  1. Boost sounds (and moves)a lot like Jaime. We had many of the same issues you're having throughout his career.
    In my mind most of the problems stemmed from his refusal to collect over a jump. His usual way of going was to jump as big as he could, run as fast as he could and usually ran wide on the turns so that often he didn't even see the jumps in front of him.
    If I had it to do over again I would have spent a lot more time teaching him how to collect over a jump and how to turn over a jump.
    Many people are using LM's new jumping book to teach their dogs how to do that. Maybe you could borrow the book and see if you could use any of those exercises.

  2. Good suggestion for a book, as I haven't encountered it yet. One of my instructors' thoughts on runouts and refusals is that she's looking at me too much and that I've been spending too MUCH time teaching turns and wraps and things, because that's all I can really do in my yard. So many theories, so little time! But I'll see whether I can find the book, and I have other things to work on moving her attention away from me.

  3. I have that book and really like it. I've been teaching my new dog with it and it's been great for him. However, it's time consuming. It's also geared toward her handling system and I'm not sure if that conflicts with what you're doing with your handling. I think some of the early exercises might be o.k. but following the whole thing might not be realistic depending on how much time you want to spend and whether or not you want to change your handling style (looks like some of the things you're doing right now conflict but I'm no expert).

    It's hard for me to see the detail of how you're cueing her in the videos but it seems like she's having more trouble on the straight portions, in the Steeplechase video anyway, where you're ahead of her and she's running into you rather than going straight ahead or out to take a jump. I wonder if it's a downward spiral of she's confused about what to do, does the wrong thing then you take her back and have her redo it so she knows it's wrong so next time she watches you even more closely. Maybe it's just a matter of practicing whatever drills your instructor gave you so she can be confident of what your cues mean and once she gets some confidence she'll stop watching you so much.

  4. The current advice is to make her take the jumps because so often she chooses not to. These 2 videos show more of the runout problem, and I didn't seem to get videos of the runs where she's just basically stopping in front of a jump or bouncing around in front of me and not taking the jump. It could be a whole lot of different problems.

    And, yeah, it's really hard to see details in these tiny renderings of the videos. Need to figure out how to make them larger and still reasonably sized. Arcane video settings in imovie! I've been using the default.

  5. I'm by no means any where near an expert, but it really looks like she reacts to any subtle movement from you. Like in the lead out, you turn ever so slightly and she turns immediately. But when you did the jump arc to the weaves, your bodies were in total sync with her jumping arc. Hard to explain.

    My problem is always being late, and not cuing early enough, especially with Gracie, gives her that split second to think on her own and oh, oh, we're in trouble.

    Some nice runs though you had during the weekend!

    Good luck at Regionals!

  6. Yes, you've pinned it exactly. If we're doing a large circle (or something similar to it) with me in the middle, we have no problems at all. But like an excellent herding dog, she reacts to the slightest twitchy change of direction or momentum. My timing's just not that good!

  7. I bet that a little bit down the road you will be able to look back at this stage in Boost's agility career and laugh, knowing how far you've come.

    Interesting experience having two dogs who run so totally differently. Similar thing with my two, one who's so steady and reliable and the other who has "issues" (though very different issues than Boost). Well, it's all an adventure isn't it.

  8. Truthfully, Tika and Boost are more similar than any combo of Jake, Remington, and Tika. I was facing the very real possibility of having to come up with 3 different gamblers or snookers course and 3 different handling strategies for jumpers and standard when I first started Tika and the 2 boys were still competing.

    With these two, I (obviously) have some differences, but not nearly enough for me to wish I had two full walkthrough periods for very different strategies.

    I'm ready to get past it all far enough that I can start laughing except in hysteria.