I shot some video of our last practice before I left for Chicago. Plank/table at 4' in the backyard. The first session was his worst ever in the backyard but somewhat typical of what I see out at the practice field when he's having a bad day-8/14 hits (45%). Second session was a few hours later and that was more typical of what I've been seeing in the yard-10/10 (100%). The only explanation I can come up with for the difference is that the plank was set high on the table for the first session. He had to get on it from the side and I'm guessing it threw off his striding. I lowered the plank for the second session and he was able to manage a more straight on approach. The bad part is that his approach shouldn't matter, he should adjust his stride to hit the bottom no matter where he hits the top. I'm hoping he'll catch on eventually with enough reps but this part of the lesson seems to be eluding him. The more hopeful possibility is that he learned what he was supposed to do from the first session because of all the failures. The good news is that he's not jumping, I suppose that's something. I'm going to start backchaining the 4' dogwalk out at the practice field when I get back. Will be interesting to see how the first few sessions go after the short break.
There was an interesting discussion on Facebook's running contact group about the notion of a rotary gallop. The idea is that if a dog is doing a rotary gallop across the dogwalk he will hit the yellow. I've been looking very closely at the video, frame by frame on my t.v. and it looks to me like Strum's doing a transverse gallop but it's so hard to see with the quality of the video and my VCR. I'm going to see if I can get some still photos. I'm not sure if the distinction between tranverse and rotary is important. In any case Strum is doing the same gait down the plank when he hits and when he misses and he has one hit where he's doing some weird combination of gaits. It's impossible for me to distinguish his gait when he's running anyway so it's not something I can select for in training but it's interesting to look at after the fact. Yeah, I know, I'm a geek.