Saturday, January 15, 2011

Get your handling geek on

More handling practice yesterday, more struggling with threadles and back sides of jumps.  I've never had that big of a problem with threadles in lessons (don't think I've ever seen one in a trial) but I've been struggling with them the past 2 weeks.  I guess it depends on what happens after the threadle.  And sending the dog over the back side of a jump then doing a front cross, yeah, if anyone has any tips on how to do that it'd be great because I have no clue.  I can pull it off once by magic then the rest of the time Strum won't take the jump.  Sometimes he runs past it and yesterday he was actually pulling off it and running back around the sending side of the jump to me. There's a bit on the video at around 2:20 but of course the send part is partially off camera.  The courses can be seen here.  We did the 2 on the bottom that didn't use the tunnel.  The back side of jump/front cross thing was in the course on the lower right, 8 (weaves) to 9 to 10.  Things were set really tight due to space limitations and normally this makes things easier for me but not so with this practice.

Oddly enough the thing I struggled with the most other than the back side of jump/front cross thingy was the #14 jump in the first exercise (course shown in lower left corner).  The jump was set farther out of the circle then shown on the map and if I pulled away laterally to get ahead he'd come right with me and leave out the jump.  This happened about a zillion times.  I edited it out of the video because watching that over and over would have made you scream for mercy.  It's a simple lateral send but I had to stop and make sure he was practically taking off before moving laterally or he pulled off it.  Something to practice maybe even in my backyard with just one jump.  We've done it a zillion times but it's so different with motion on a course.  I was also frustrated with myself for making the same mistake over and over.  Apparently the focus/mental management thing has not sunk in.  I'm not sure where my brain wanders off to sometimes when I'm running that poor dog.  Strummy did awesome, he was trying his best to sort out my fumblings and had a great time anyway.  No problem with his mental management or attitude.

I ran out of tape for the third exercise so I don't have that on video.  We improvised and did a more straightforward running type course and we did much better with that.  Was good to end on a high note.  The tight trappy technical international type courses are interesting to work on for a change but I'm glad I don't have to do that kind of thing all the time.  The regular stuff seems so easy afterwards.

Hopefully I'll get out to the practice field tomorrow for some dogwalk practice and I'll start in on building my own walk as well.


  1. Looked to me that because everything was so tight, it was difficult to show motion in the right direction. Looks like you are standing still a lot because of lack of room to move. Maybe next time just set up a smaller section of the course?

    Back sides of jumps are trained cues. I practice them at the warm up jump at a trial in addition to front sides. I've used them a lot in Snooker and Gamblers.

  2. Yeah, space was an issue and next time we'll pick something that fits better. Though my training partner didn't struggle nearly as much as I did.

    How to train that back side/front cross thingy, that's the question. If you're coming at it from an angle it's not a big problem but coming at the jump from more straight on is proving a challenge.

  3. I started up close with dog in a sit stay(next to the upright) and then back chained it. Now all I need to use to cue the back side is forward motion and verbal "back". I started with a pull after and then when I thought he understood it, incorporated a front cross after. Even though I did add a verbal cue, it's mostly forward motion and setting the line that he is cueing off of.

    Your training partner has a small dog with many small strides compared to Strummer ;-)

  4. Yeah, her small dog turns so tightly it's not fair to compare to Strummer but still she did run her big dog on the course as well and they were pretty awesome.

    The training makes sense, maybe once he's solid on taking the back side of the jump I'll be able to move into the front cross without him losing commitment to the jump. I can take the back side and keep going forward no problem but without a good motion cue to take the jump he runs around it. I keep forgetting about how handy that stuff is for Snooker because I'm not doing that much USDAA any more but I still do it occasionally and maybe one day UKI will catch on here.

  5. Hi, I have a suggestion for the back side / front cross. You were trying to send him around left jump standard, then move to the right, correct? That is a difficult combination to start with, with or without a front cross.
    What worked for me and my whippet was to send him around the jump standard from roughly the same angle you're at, but then move backwards away from the jump (you were moving backwards too, but in line with the jump bar). Reward immediately a few times, then you could start adding a FC and rewarding after that, and when that goes smoothly start gradually moving to the right.
    I don't have an example of this exact situation, but if you're interested I can send you a clip of the easier kind of back jump + FC.

  6. Ah, so move backwards perpendicular to the jump rather than laterally as I was doing is what I think you're saying. That makes sense and it also makes me realize that the lateral motion was almost certainly causing him to pull off the jump and run more parallel to it. Doh. Makes perfect sense now-Thanks! I'll give it a try later in the backyard.

  7. Yes, that's what I meant. Sometimes my vocabulary lacks words to say things in English :)

  8. Well, you explained it perfectly and I would never have guessed that English wasn't your first language. Sometimes I just need to re-explain it to myself in more technical terms so I understand because I have engineer brains.

    I tried a few jumps in the backyard and that worked a lot better. Still had a few run arounds without taking the jump but after a few I think I was starting to be more clear and he was starting to understand. I'll have to videotape myself so I can be sure I'm cueing him properly but at least now I know what to do.

  9. Engineers brains are the best kind :)

    It takes a bit of learning for the dog to read body cues for this, so it's not necessarily your fault (except possibly trying to progress too fast).

    Videotaping is always good... except I get obsessive when analyzing it ;)