Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Consistently - Inconsistent (The Wrap)

 But I can 'Change'!!!  

Monday, I took the first "BIG" step in making that change! 

Seeker really struggles with wraps, especially with any speed (acceleration) going into them.  Of course, it's not really 'his' fault!  Sometimes I'm still moving when he needs the cue to wrap, sometimes I don't decelerate at all, and sometimes.....I'm not just plain not thinking!  Poor Seeker!!

With World Team Tryouts coming up in a few short weeks, 
we need to really put some time into working through this. 
(Realistically, it won't be resolved by then)

On my end, I need to be completely consistent with the cues I'm providing.  
I also need to make it worth Seeker's effort to collect, and come in tight.  

Let's face it, Seeker loves extension running, which means blasting past the jump, 
turning wide, and then coming back.   Not only does this add wasted seconds to your run, it's also not good on the dog's body.  So, if I can become consistent with my cues it will be win/win for both of us.

So, I got out my little notebook, and wrote out a 'Game Plan'.  
It involved one jump, a tug toy, and of course Seeker.

My written plan is to work 4 jump heights, two jumps each, (one each direction) so a total of 8 repetitions. The heights would be: 12/16/20/12.  Seeker would be approximately (jump height) away from the jump, and I would be right next to the upright, so I could easily reach my beverage that was sitting on it.  (JUST KIDDING!! I didn't include a beverage....this time!!) Then evaluate where we should go from there.  

Yes, Seeker does jump 26" in competition, but this problem didn't happen overnight, so we need to start easy and build his understanding of what I want.  I now wish I would have videoed this first session.  RATS!!  He must have landed 3' out past the 12" jump.  It was 'kind of' funny, but not really.  It was really an eye opener in regards to his lack of understanding of 'lack of motion' on the handlers part.  As we worked through the jump heights, it got better. He realized where the 'game was', and how much work it was for him to turn back to the tug.  

We've worked this 4 times now....and it's better.  I have not added any distance, or motion to it.  I'll let him be the one to tell me when it's time to add more height and more distance.  It's my fault he doesn't understand, so, I'll let him set the pace.  He's also weaker turning to the left, so, we'll do some other exercises to work the left turn. 

Our ultimate goal will be to work 16/20/26/16, from a stand still.  
Then going back to 12 to see what happens when I had a bit of distance.  When I say a bit, it's going to be a foot or two at first.  As we progress, we'll change one variable at a time, (either height or distance), but not both.  It didn't happen overnight, so it won't be fixed that quickly either. 

Nettle is working the same skill, at 8/12/16/8, and doing very well.  
I'm determined that she will NOT have the same lack of understanding of collection and extension.   It's probably not surprising that I'm already adding a bit of distance to hers after just a couple sessions.  Of course, she doesn't have all the history of ignoring 'lack of motion'.  
Good Girl Buttercup!

As with all 'life lessons', we learn as we go.  
So much to learn from these amazing creatures!

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