2-minute-dog-trainer, countdown to T’s debut

I know I’m going to walk to the start line for Tempest’s debut trial run feeling unprepared and unsure of the outcome. But that’s how it’s supposed to feel, right?

My target is mid-June through early August as T’s debut.  An AKC trial since they’re accessible.

Tempest is 13-1/2 months old and I have less than 2 months to work through a few issues we have (though I must say I refuse to feel pressure to rush him through these foundation lessons …. wouldn’t be prudent):

First, jumps and jumping … though this is job one in agility I’ve held back from a lot of jumping exercises because of T’s age. Last week he approached an off course jump set at 26″ and cleared it with lovely style – thoughtful and careful.

But, in general, T approaches jumping as he approaches baby gates — blasting through is as good as going over.

I don’t want to use any sort of correction for the careless jumping, but I find myself getting irritated with his disregard for jumping when people are watching, so that’s an issue I have to work on in myself.

In the meantime, our jump training needs to take place outside of class where I can bring him along as I wish, without people watching.

I want him to love jumps, so basic jump conditioning is the first step.  Around the clock with the jumps set at 16″, around the clock with the jumps set at 20″, and around the clock with jumps set at 24″ or 26″.

Sidebar: A few days ago Hazard, 11″ tall, jumped onto a 20″ tall ottoman …. that’s the equivalent of my 21″ boy jumping onto a 40″ table … yesterday I had him jump onto a 35″ table for grooming and he managed that with ease … I’m thinking 26″ jumps will be no problem for him.

When he gets over his “blast through or ignore” jumping issue, and becomes a thoughtful jumper, he’ll work most of the time at 20″.

At the same time I’ll work on pinwheels, asking Tempest to own the work ahead of him and to love jumps. Starting at 16″, working up to 26″, and settling back to 20″ or even 16″ for longterm.

The dead-away send (as in closing line on a course) as a “go on” will be trained as an extension of the pinwheel.  As he starts understanding the pinwheel I’ll shift jumps to straighten the line bit by bit. (Right now Tempest often misses the last jump in a line, opting instead to stare at me and draw in — typical novice mistake.)

When he’s loving jumps, owning the pinwheel, and managing dead-away sends I’ll introduce a couple of turns he hasn’t learned yet.

Tandem Turns and Back Crosses — Tempest hasn’t had more than 2 training sessions on the tandem turn, and I must admit to being a little confusing when it comes to turns away from me, or ahead of me.

Tempest has about a 65% success rate with absolute directionals, and Bud’s wanting him to know “jump-right” and “jump-left” with the same accuracy as Kory, but it isn’t my strongest training skill and I often forget to use those skills when faced with a turn after a jump.

So T’s confusion is a direct result of my own confusion, and that’s something I have to think about in my training.

I want to set up jump sequences to practice distance handling skills including absolute directionals.

For example … three jumps in a row to a 180-degree turn back to a tunnel or chute or weaves. Practice first with me on the inside of the turn, then with me on the outside of the turn, and finally with me behind and on the outside of the turn.

This training will be done at 16″ at first, and finally at 26″, in preparation for his trialing debut.

I may regret having held back on jumping, but I really don’t want Tempest experiencing a lot of dropped bars or strained shoulders, so — if I’m wrong — I just have to fix it with my next dog. <g>

Bud wants to publish a “Bud Houston Jump Training” document.  We have our own theories and might as well get them in print.

Second, start-line stays and returning to me when the course is finished … sounds easy enough for an obedience instructor, right?

But I have a tendency to “over-tame” my dogs and don’t want to squelch Tempest’s enthusiasm or develop a submissive posture from him with either of these skills.

So each will become a mealtime training event, lots of reward and reinforcement.

Starting this evening, Tempest’s supper will be fed in the training building for jumping.  He’ll continue to eat breakfast in the basement on his contact trainer (I absolutely love his contacts).

Sounds like a plan …. I’ve got it on paper (here) as well as on my clipboard on my desk, so there’s no excuse for not following it.

Well, actually there are lots of excuses, but I’m not going to let lawn mowing, string trimming, flower planting, swimming, cabin prep, camp meals, and TDAA office work spoil my plan. <g>

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3 Responses to “2-minute-dog-trainer, countdown to T’s debut”

  1. ann stetson Says:

    out of curiostity, it sounds like you plan on trialing him at 26 inches? Any reason why?

    I’m firmly in the school of low is fine, unless you entertain world team dreams. When they’re old and creaky, they seem to be better off for the lower height.

    • 2mindogtrainer Says:

      It piques my curiosity that, when I neutered Tempest at 6 months, you questioned me as to why I did that though the “facts” surrounding the pros and cons of spay/neuter at various ages are questionable. Even the most “expert” experts summarize “owners must choose for themselves.”
      Now that I’m training my 22″ tall dog to jump USDAA 26″ jumps, you’re questioning me again. I guess my answer is, “because Tempest is mine, and because I want him to participate in USDAA trials.” I made the mistake in the 90s of attempting to trial a dog at 22-26″ without actually conditioning or training for that height. Your questions make me think you don’t believe I have the best interests of my dog at heart, though I assure you you’re mistaken in that belief.

  2. ann stetson Says:

    I’m sorry you thought that there was anything there other than what I wrote. You’re reading far more into my words than is probably worth it. It wasn’t meant as anything other than what I wrote.

    I agree with you that people have to make their own decisions regarding neutering. When I wrote “out of curiousity, why did you neuter him early? people seem to be going back and forth on that one (neutering age, if at all), and I’m still on the fence.” I was asking as someone who owns a puppy of the same age of Tempest, and who was keeping track of real world answers to the questions of “when do you neuter and do you even do it, from someone who faces the same issues that I do”. In other words someone who plans on competing with a dog, and is focused on that.

    I certainly was not looking to make any sort of value judgement on you doing it at one age or other or not at all. I ask questions to learn from people, not to fight with them.

    Having said that, I have had the experience of an old, not all that tall dog, who jumped 30 inches in his prime. And that experience has made me shy of pushing for height. But, asking questions to see another side of an issue, especially when I suspect that I am firmly wedded to X and may be ignoring Y, can teach me things.

    Good luck to you and your dog in all your endeavors.

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