Rue and I had our private lesson Sunday morning regarding her running dogwalk. The lesson was held at a new place for her and was on a new dogwalk which led to some confidence issues and an overall slower performance. Right now my instructor thinks that I need to not be as concerned with speed and striding on the dogwalk, but instead just focusing on rewarding good hits. She needs to know that no matter what she does on the dogwalk that what’s important is that yellow piece at the bottom and that she can adjust her striding to hit it no matter what she does leading up to the down ramp.
So the plan for now is to simply work on turns after the dogwalk by gradually moving a jump along the exit arc starting with turns towards me and then eventually turns away. As slow as she was at her private, she certainly had all but 1 perfect hit! Most of her stress was on the middle plank as that’s where she trotted, but she did adjust to gallop down and hit well. I do agree that for Rue, speed comes with understanding and confidence. And in the end, if I push her for speed now it’s just going to stress her out more which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid.
Here are my latest sessions at home. Here she’s showing great confidence and drive across the dogwalk and her hits are worse. Only a couple of misses, but I am not rewarding high hits. In our first session, her success rate wasn’t very high so I spent most of the time varying my position and what I said to her to see what made the difference. I also tried just starting her at the dogwalk vs sending her through a tunnel to start. That didn’t seem to make much of a difference, and I couldn’t really tell much of difference in this session if I hung back and ran with her or if I was ahead of her. I think I moved the jump too far too quickly as well….
Our next session was much more successful. I started with just jump standards directly in front of the down ramp and placed her food target just past the standards so that I could get a baseline and build on success. I then quickly put the bar on and removed the lure and her hits remained good. So I moved the jump to the 1 o’clock position without a lure and her hits started to degrade. Her last 2 reps I put her food lure back and she hit well. I think I’m just going to have to go slowly with this and make sure that her success rate is high enough before moving the jump further.
I think what I may do is put her board contraption back out and work on turns with that so that I’m able to move my dogwalk around and set up different courses for Miles to use. I can also do sequencing with Rue on the dogwalk as well, but keep the turn teaching to the board for now. We’ll see how that goes…..
Here’s a little clip of Rue running a standard course from this year’s European Open competition that we set up for our club’s Friday night run-throughs. I thought she did just brilliantly! I unfortunately pushed her into an incorrect weave entry, but I was proud of her for allowing me to restart her without stressing her out 🙂 Her first dogwalk performance was a total leap, but her second was a beautiful low hit and a gorgeous turn into the chute!