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Patience is not my strong suit…

April 19, 2015 Leave a comment

..but it looks like I will have to learn…

Last Sunday Krypto and I went to our first fun match after 5 months of inactivity. I was quite excited to be running him again, and he was rather happy as well. I tried to run him without thinking “how will he jump?”, “will he stutter step?” and so on. I was also hoping not to loose it if someone was going to approach me, to tell me about his striding, had he stutter stepped. I was moderately successful on both accounts. Krypto did throw in his “funny” stepping here and there, and someone did approach me about it. And I did worry and almost lost it…almost.

The worry:

I try to remind myself that this is not a matter of national security, or global warming, or world peace. It is just a dog jumping at local trials and possibly at regional and national events. I did try to put things in perspective. And I think by the end of the fun match, or perhaps by the time I got home, I succeeded. I realized that I have done all what I could think of to correct a behaviour learnt and practiced for over one year, a bad habit, and that it may never go away. I will keep working on it. Every time I hit a wall, so to speak, I look back and think of something else to try. But, despite all what I have done and going to do, once in a while Krypto may still do his funny stepping. And so what? It’s not the end of the world. We may loose some time because of that, we may not get first place because of it at local trials, but at the end of the day is that so important? I am still thinking of an answer to this one…

The “loosing it”:

This is more difficult.¬†Despite 18 years in Canada, I still have not learnt much of their famous diplomacy and tact…one day maybe…

The patience:

After so many months working on Krypto’s collection, the fun match was a total disaster as far as that aspect of his jumping is concerned. I may have been late with my cues a few times, but even when I was dead on, he still would not collect. He was in the “yahoo let’s go” mode, his famous launching mode. Funny stepping + launching. Not a good combination.

So, my plan of teaching him collection and that that would show him how to get closer to the jumps, and hopefully fix not only his launching/early takeoff, but also help his striding, seemed not to work. Or perhaps not 100%. Or maybe it is still in its infancy and it needs a lot more work. Which we’ll do. But since balance is everything, I realised that perhaps I had been focusing too much¬†on collection, and perhaps I had disregarded if not extension, something about it that Suzanne Clothier had used many years ago in her jumping method to teach dogs how to jump: rhythm/momentum.

And I decided to try to add to our training sessions some “jump chutes” to create some muscle memory, some rhythm. Hoping to advance a little more in the right direction, to make Krypto’s striding a bit better. Another plan is to add stride regulators to force his stride where it should be.

This is a video of yesterday’s session (condensed).

It is clear that when Krypto has momentum, his striding when he needs to put in two strides, is much better. I would actually be ok with the type of striding he shows at the end of the jump chute. But at the very end of the video, where he is doing only the two last jumps, starting from a sit/stay, it is obvious that he is not as comfortable as when he is coming down a row of jumps and gaining momentum or getting comfortable with a certain rhythm in jumping. I think there he is thinking too much…maybe. As he seems to be loosing rhythm when he knocks bars, and then his striding worsens. That’s why perhaps stride regulators will help in that type of situation.

Interesting to note also the problems Krypto has with dark blue tunnels…this is already in my training plans for next week. Tunnel games with the very dark tunnel.

On the running A-frame front, I finally managed to unglue Krypto from the 2 on 2 off position. I did not take a video of that as the battery of my videocamera was running low. But it was really great progress since we had ended the previous training session with Krypto going back to holding his 2 on 2 off no matter what. Now I just need to find some kind soul to help me lower the A-frame for our next training sessions so that we can move forward with the backchaining.

Of course even in the running A-frame department I have doubts, I wonder whether I’ll be able to fade the prop I am using to teach Krypto to hit the contact area. I really wonder if this will ever work. Then other days I get hopeful and I even fantasize of having both the stopped and the running A-frame. It is feasible, as he already has a stopped one and the command for the running one is obviously different. But then I think I am becoming too ambitious and I better keep my feet on the ground.

So yeah, lot of patience, out of someone who has very little of it…I guess I am learning!