last time in March (wow time flies!) I wasn’t sure what was causing Java to take off early – was it due to lack of confidence after a long winter break or were there some other issues developing? I am happy to say that with very minimal intervention it seems we are now back to her lovely centered jumping style.
I did three basic Susan Salo exercises to compare her jumping to how she was jumping in autumn, to build some jumping muscle and gain confidence on a setup where she doesn’t have to watch my handling in addition to judging her takeoff spot.
First we did Equal Distance grid and Distance grid. In Equal Distance grid all jumps are 20cm high and set so that the dog will bounce through them. This develops jumping muscles and requires ability to stay in collected form for at least 4 jumps, judging 4 takeoff spots so that they will be able to complete the grid. Next was Distance grid which we haven’t done before. It is comprised of three 20cm jumps and one 40cm (or higher) jump. The dog needs to bounce between first three jumps, then take a stride and jump over the fourth, higher jump. This is supposed to teach the dog how to decide how long the stride between the third and fourth jump needs to be.
In above video you could see Java taking off early for the last jump in Distance grid and as the exercise progresses, she moves her takeoff spot closer to the jump.
A week later we did the Set Point exercise which is probably the exercise we should do first, before jumping grids. In Set Point there are two jumps: a “stride regulator” jump which is 20cm high and a higher jump (Susan Salo recommends a double jump, but I used a single). The height of the second jump should be changed with every repetition so that the dog doesn’t become patterned to it. (Though I’m not really sure why patterning would be bad in this case – we should just use competition height?) We went from 35 to 55cm.
I set the toy too close to the jump – it should be about 50cm further.
That’s all we did (except for some cik&cap training which doesn’t help with early takeoff issues). Yesterday we did some handling again and her jumping style was back to normal. This is only her second time doing sequences this year so I think she’s doing pretty good 🙂
We only did a minimal amount of work and she is now jumping the same as in autumn as far as I can tell. I would say that her change of jumping style was more due to lack of confidence than anything else. I really didn’t do much Susan Salo stuff with her, perhaps 10 sessions in her whole life, so her style isn’t due to training, it’s how she naturally jumps. I love it!
Java’s heat is over which means Ruby is coming back on Monday! Yay 😀 Just in time to brush up on working around distractions. We’re starting a Rally Obedience class next week with the Bad Boy. Wish us luck 😉