I am working with Dancer on her jumping skills. I spent a lot on them when she was younger, then neglected them, and she began to find jumping not particularly rewarding. As part of my ongoing effort to make agility wildly rewarding for her (since it’s wildly rewarding for me and for Rush, and I hate the idea that she’s just along for the ride), I am trying to reward absolutely everything a lot–not just the teeter!
Today I set up the jump pattern below on the left to work on slices with both dogs. Note that the intervals vary.
I did the jump pattern first with Dancer in a sit about two feet from the first jump (which I considered to be the jump at -10, 18). I set a target almost to the tunnel at the end of the line of jumps and released her while I stayed motionless. She did a nice graceful single stride between each jump, varying the stride length appropriately to meet the jumps well. Several chunks of cheese for the reward and then I repeated that sequence.
Next, I started her in front of the tunnel (at about 8, 12) and ran with her down the line of jumps with the cue “go, tunnel!” to send her to the left end of the tunnel. She showed nice speed and continued to take the line of jumps well. I rewarded a lot after the tunnel: more cheese. I did that twice.
Next, I substituted the straight wingless double as shown in the right-side jump pattern. Again, I led out to the end, placed a target, and released her without moving myself. Again I got a nice single stride between each jump and she seemed relaxed and happy. Lots of cheese for that and a repeat. Finally, I added in the tunnel and my own motion and she still seemed relaxed and comfortable. More cheese and a break for her while I worked with Rush.
I set the single-jump slice pattern for Rush and he flew down the sequence, bounce-jumping (landing and taking off immediately) the line of jumps and pouncing on the target and sliding it about ten feet. Tug and play, then set it up again. Another full bounce sequence.
Add in the tunnel and my motion, though, and now he needed a single stride in the longer section between the second and third jump although he still bounced the other two jumps. I repeated it, said “go, tunnel!” as soon as he came out of the tunnel and ran as fast as I could. Aahh! Back to bounce-jumping the whole sequence.
Add in the double and he was still relaxed and comfortable when I wasn’t moving, bounce-jumping the whole sequence. And again, when I ran as fast as I could, he bounce-jumped the sequence. He needs information really really early!