a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Boost's Bars

Friday, January 30, 2009

Boost's Bars

SUMMARY: The bar-knocking expert does it again. We look forward to the weekend--

Two weeks ago in class, I reported that our instructor (Jim B) said "Wow" when Boost careered around a jumpers course knocking half a dozen bars or more. This week we repeated the exercise with our other instructor (Nancy G); when I got to the end of the course--which, incidentally, Boost did without any runouts or refusals--knowing that we had left a trail of at least 6 bars down (one loses count eventually), I glanced over at Nancy and she had sort of a stunned look on her face.

So the new plan--at least in training--is to take her off the course when she knocks or ticks a bar. I'm not sure that I'm ready to do that in competition this weekend, since we've just started that. For my dog, this actually means picking her up and murmuring in her ear that that's too bad, because merely walking her off the course doesn't seem to sink in as a negative reinforcer (bounce bounce bounce "mom this is exciting!").

It's USDAA this weekend. Not a modicum of rain in the forecast, and supposed to be highs around 65 F (18 C) but lows around freezing, and I'm planning on sleeping in my van to stay on site. Taking lots of down.

Recap: Boost needs one Jumpers for her MAD (one opportunity), one Standard for her StCh (two opp's), two Gamblers for her GCh (two opp's), three superQs pleeze pleeze pleeze (two opp's).

Tika needs two gamblers for her GCh-silver (2 opp's) and either the grand prix or the steeplechase to finish her Tournament Master Platinum, as high an award as one can get in the Tournament classes.

And everyone needs to keep her bars up!

See you Monday--


  1. GOOD LUCK!!! Here's hoping all bars remain up and you make your goal. And that you stay warm! Oh yes, and that you all have fun!

  2. Sarah and Denver have jumping issues too. Namely, he jumps too early. He's had some definite improvement with some Susan Salo exercises and jump chutes. Just a warning that punishing bars, no matter the "mildness" led to a poorer performance for Denver. I'm inclined to go back to basics, ie 1 jump or 2-3 jump drills/chutes and increase your reward dramatically, which will contrast sharply with your non-reward for dropped bars. And this is after you make sure your dog isn't jumping too early, too late, or has an eye/physical problem (those require different solutions). You've probably done these things, as I'm way behind on your blog...

  3. And watch Animal Planet tonight.

  4. Plenty of experienced folk have watched boost and say that she's not jumping early or late or stutter-stepping or anything like that. Hitting bars with her stifle or back feet. I don't want to slow her down or start a stutter-step, but there's only so much I can do and she has to do some of it, too. Picking her up and carrying her off, or making her stop and lie down seem to get her to not knock bars as much. I do reward when she does sequences w/out knocking a bar. I am setting up jumping exercises. Just more of them, more more more more. Her mother and sister jump 26" now because their handlers have figured out that they knock fewer bars when they have to round out their jumps a bit more rather than flatten out. And they still post danged good times compared to other 22" dogs. I'm hoping to not do that, since I like having dogs in different heights.