Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jump work

On Saturday I loaded up the border collies and drove to have a lesson with Susan Salo.  There are two main reasons that I took the extra step to have a lesson with her as opposed to just doing the grids on my own.  One was that I had had feedback on one of Rammy's videos (which I appreciate!) and I couldn't see what she saw.  At that point I wanted to visit Susan because I didn't want to mess Rampage up doing things wrong on my own!  The other reason was because as I worked with Rampage I decided to also run Icon through the exercises since they were set up and he was awful!  He wouldn't even do the straight line equidistant grid. 

So off we went.

Icon's set point was good.  She said Rampage looked good overall but at times he was pulling from his front instead of pushing from his rear.  I asked about his over-jumping and she said he's not over jumping too much.  It's just due to his inexperience and I shouldn't worry about it at this point.  He needs to learn to shift his weight back and wait for the jump to come to him and the set point exercises will help with that.

On the grids (aka ladder work) Rampage was very good, but as I expected Icon is not comfortable at all in the grids.  Susan asked if I had been working on collection a lot with him, which of course I have been.  I worked on nothing BUT collection as we prepared for WC.  Or I guess more specifically I worked on him being aware of my deceleration, which then kind of makes a lightbulb go on when you think about why he didn't want to send away from me down a line of grids or recall to me through line of jumps as I just stood there motionless.  He was better when I was moving, but it also depended on HOW I was moving.  If I just trotted alongside him he was mighty confused.  I don't blame him!

So I think what I learned from my lesson with Susan is that Rampage is cute (but we all knew that) and I need to balance Icon's training with extension as well as collection.    We'll be going back to see Susan again in a few months.

I'm very thankful that Susan's friend offered to video tape for me!!  

Rammy Set Point from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Icon Grids from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Rammy Grids from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Some amusing moments...

Icon bend work from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.


  1. Jealous! How nice to get to have a private with Susan. My "older" dogs are going through the same thing, getting the same jumping drills as the pup Merc, but it sure is good for them. I need to remember to do the drills more often. I like that collection/extension drill. I need to watch the rest of the video when I get home on a computer that can handle the HD...

  2. Do you think that sending or recalling them through the grids while you stay motionless is going to impact how they read (or don't read) your lack of motion on course?

  3. I think sending them through the grid could impact their ability to read motion so I don't send at all with Icon and not very often with Rampage. I don't have an issue with recalling them. I try to lead out past the toy so they run towards me but stop before passing me.

  4. So for Rammy, what was the spacing of the jumps on the collection grid and what was the spacing on the extension grid? It looks like the extension grid was at 16"? Did she recommend keeping it at that height? Thanks for posting the videos, it was good to hear what she was looking for as the dog jumped, the even and light footwork by the dog.

  5. They are more 'footwork' grids as opposed to collection and extension grids. Both are to teach them to balance and extend just the correct amount to put one stride in.

    She said she likes to put 2 grids side by side so they don't learn patterning. You can use any of her grids and even set 3 or more up beside eachother if you have enough jumps.

    The first grid was 6' apart and set at 8". The jumps would never be higher because at 6' it would be awkward for them to do it higher and produce an unnatural jumping form. The 2nd grid we started at 9' for Icon, but he was having trouble with it so we closed it to 8'. Since my private I have gradually extended it back to 9' and he's doing fine on it now. Rampage started at 8' and he got through, but she said he looked too compressed so she lengthened it to 9' and said he looked (and sounded) better. This one would not be raised above 16" for the same reasons as above.