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I'm mostly interested in answers from those who compete in Agility, but of course anyone's input is welcome.

 

How often do you work on jumping with your dog in a week? Just once a week at class? More often?

 

That can be in any form - sequences, full courses, one jump work, set points, jump grids, etc.

 

I'm interested in what people do and how often.

 

Thanks!

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I train with my golden x, who is my only dog competing right now, 2x a week. One is an actual class and the other time is by ourselves. Those sessions are 20-30 mins. We work on discrimination's, contacts (maybe a few reps with weaves), and jump commitment. More recently we've been adding tunnel commitment to that list, as all of a sudden she's gotten real weird about them.

 

Stella, my bc, goes 3 days a week. One of those days is an actual class. When we go by ourselves we work on drilling contacts, FC/RC, and jump commitment and weaves. When we train alone, we do 20-30 min sessions. She's only been training for about 5 weeks now and is doing really well.

 

I have some jumps and weaves at home but I rarely take them out to practice...only if the weather doesn't cooperate so we can't go to the field.

 

Not sure if that totally answers your question, but I've never done just jump training with my dogs. I never seem to have issues with bar knocking (knock on wood :rolleyes:).

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Not sure if that totally answers your question, but I've never done just jump training with my dogs. I never seem to have issues with bar knocking (knock on wood :rolleyes:).

 

How much, would you say, of your overall training sessions include jumping? I know it would be a guestimate, but what do you think? 5 minutes? 15 minutes?

 

I know if might vary from session to session, but on average?

 

We aren't having any issues with knocked bars. There are a few reasons why I'm evaluating our jump training. I'm thinking we need to increase it a bit, but I don't want to over-do, either.

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Gotcha -- I would say with dog #1 we do maybe 5 mins each session....as we do full courses in class (maybe 6 runs total at ~ 40s) and when we practice, we do short jump sequences. So yeah...I'd say probably less than 5 mins. Punk gets bored and hot easily and she's a relatively "steady" dog so we take it easy on warmer days, especially now summer is here. We will cut practices to just once a week until Fall.

 

With dog #2, in class we do a mixture of both, mainly baby sequences of a few jumps to an obstacle/weaves. Not too much in the FC/RC department, just straight jumps. So perhaps ~ 5 mins of jump work. When we train alone, maybe ~10 mins of jump sequences doing RC/FR...setting up a box for example... or a series of 4-5 jumps to an obstacle/tunnel so I can practice my "outs" and "go-ons". Stella never gets bored or tired. :rolleyes:

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I just started training Maya on jumps, and trying really hard not to over do it as she is young still.

 

I just got done watch Susan Salo's foundation jumping video and I am doing the set point exercise with Maya, I just started last week and we have done it maybe 3-4 times.

 

 

Probably not much help since we are just starting out, but I like to work very short sessions a couple times a day with her, and then take a day off of agility stuff and do something else.

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Probably not much help since we are just starting out, but I like to work very short sessions a couple times a day with her, and then take a day off of agility stuff and do something else.

 

No, it's helpful. :rolleyes:

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Not sure if this is any help. Both Cressa and Troy compete.

 

It varies for the training. SOme weeks I pratice 5-6x... other weeks we take off and don't train at all.

 

Jumps are always used since they make up for most of any agility course. Unless someone is nicking bars we don't reaaly focus on jump work per say. When training I am more attempting to train myself then the dogs. LOL They know their stuff its me who needs to work on how to handle the course and how to get my info across.

 

Cressa it almost seems does better at competition with not me training her so much. We might snag teh pratice jump at competition to just remind her/me the cues and pressure usage.

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I know you said you wanted to hear from people who are competing. I'm not there yet with Chase however I expect we might shoot for Fall to start trialing. With Chase, I work on short sequences of jump training on average every other day for about 10 minutes. When I'm trying to master something, I might have him outside practicing twice a day for 5-10 minutes. (Some weeks, I rarely go outside to practice just to give me and him a break, mental and physical.)

He never gets bored, always willing to keep trying for me, he lives for agility. I think he would be out there practicing by himself if I let him :rolleyes:

When I was competing with Gypsy, I rarely practiced with her. She got her practice in class and maybe one other time during the week. She was slower than Chase and just seemed to cover me on my handling mistakes. She was just always in the right place at the right time.

Chase is different, he's fast and it seems like I have no room for handling errors with him. A huge learning curve for me with him. (Give me a break, dog, I'm old! He doesn't care. :D ) It's me that really needs the practice, I think.

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It's interesting hearing the different perspectives! Thanks for the input so far.

 

All winter I've been concentrating on Freestyle and Rally with Dean. We attended our weekly Agility class, but I did very little with him outside of class for Agility.

 

But now I am turning my attention to Agility with him again, and I'm taking some time to consider my approach.

 

One thing I notice about him in class is that he jumps willingly enough, but he does not get excited about the jumps as he gets excited about the contacts and weaves. He doesn't seem to dislike them, nor does he seem to be stressed by them, but he really does seem to have a take-it or leave-it kind of attitude toward jumping in an Agility context. He's not having any jump problems. I'd just like to see more interest on his part.

 

The thing is that in everyday life he adores jumping. He loves to jump up and over the sofa (the one I hate). He can even clear it sideways! Take him out in the woods and he will jump over every fallen log in sight!

 

I'm thinking that more regular jump work at home might create more of an affinity toward Agility style jumping through simple familiarity, as well as through lavish deposits in the reinforcement bank.

 

In addition to his class, I'm considering doing jump work with him twice a week. One day we would do Susan Salo style jump work. On the other day I might set up one of the "Backyard Dogs" courses from Clean Run to play with. The sessions would be short and would include proper warm up and cool down, and his other training sessions would be focused on Freestyle and Rally.

 

It seems that doing jump work twice a week (in addition to his class) would not be excessive. I'm thinking it's worth a go.

 

I'd love to hear more about what others do, too! :rolleyes:

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A couple of things popped into my mind when I read your last post. And I'm just throwing it out there for whatever it's worth.

 

I have to tell you that I only have one piece of contact equipment in my yard, the teeter. I do think Chase sees the contact equipment and tunnels as much more fun than jumping. Even though he seems to like jumping, it seems they are a means to an end... the equipment! So in my yard, he really doesn't have a choice but to jump and he'll take that if he can't have the other.

I also don't do alot of jump drilling with him (as in the Susan Salo, etc.). At this point, in all my novice wisdom :D , he doesn't seem like he has any jump problems. I have done and will periodically do that but it's not a big part of my practice. Having said that, 2 weeks ago my instructor noticed that we had a problem in part of the serpentine where Chase seemingly didn't understand there was a 3rd jump or didn't care I was telling him there was a 3rd jump and would just ignore my command/signal and blow by it (to get to a tunnel or the a-frame). So for a week, that's all I worked on with him but also in the same practice I would let him have say 2 jumps to teeter as a reward so it wasn't just major mind-boggling training session for either of us. I have to remember to keep it light and short with him or I really am the type that would be out there seriously drilling that serpentine problem 10 times a day to master it.

The short fun daily sessions seem to work with him. He might not get it right away (like my other dog did) but then after like 3 days of the little practice sessions, a lite-bulb goes off.

 

I also do lots of interactive tuggie play with him as a reward. Of course he gets a "good try/good boy" for trying but when he does it right, mommy's really happy and we interact and play together. He really likes to please and loves when I tell him he's a good boy and it does seems to mark/imprint what he's done and he tries so hard to replicate what made me proud of him.

 

Chase does do obedience class but I don't devote alot of time to that right now because I don't think he's the type of dog that can ever compete there. (his shyness and sensitivies) So if I was doing other things with him, I might not be devoting so much time to agiilty.

I think agility is his calling, he overcomes his shyness and fears when he knows he'll be doing agility. He's an unbelievably different dog and agility has helped him overcome alot. I'm going where he takes me and enjoying the ride :rolleyes:

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I think I'll add that Punk gets more excited when we do contact obstacles. She has a leave it/take it attitude with the jumps/weaves, even though she will do them when asked and do them correctly. This is probably why I don't do too many things with "just jumps". She's not very food or toy motivated and this heat really kills her. She's also not a real fast dog, and as someone else said above, she covers my bad handling mistakes and is always in the right place at the right time.

 

Stella loves to do anything right now. I'm trying to make sure she doesn't favor one thing over the other (she was a huge tunnel sucker, but we've seemed to kick that). I have a friend who's BC *lives* to weave and if she is anywhere on the course NEAR the weaves, she blows my friend off and tries to suck to the weaves. Very frustrating. I always have the tuggy or ball hidden on me and if Stella looks like she is getting a little tired or if she did something EXCELLENT I will suddenly whip it out, as she lives for her toys. When I do jump sequences, I stop and reward in random places (especially for a good RC/wrap) to keep it interesting as even though she may not be bored, I sure as heck get bored doing just jump sequences. She's also very fast, so again our practice is more for me getting my information right and to her quickly.

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A couple of things popped into my mind when I read your last post. And I'm just throwing it out there for whatever it's worth.

 

Cool! That's what I was hoping folks would do! :D

 

I have to tell you that I only have one piece of contact equipment in my yard, the teeter. I do think Chase sees the contact equipment and tunnels as much more fun than jumping. Even though he seems to like jumping, it seems they are a means to an end... the equipment! So in my yard, he really doesn't have a choice but to jump and he'll take that if he can't have the other.

 

You gave me an idea. I have a small practice teeter that has been gathering dust stuffed up against the wall in my living room. Maybe I should take it out and do some work with him where he does short jumping sequences to get to the teeter.

 

Typically at home he earns a frisbee throw for jumping. Adding in the teeter just might show him something different about taking the jumps that might carry over into full courses.

 

I also don't do alot of jump drilling with him (as in the Susan Salo, etc.). At this point, in all my novice wisdom :D , he doesn't seem like he has any jump problems.

 

It's interesting to me that several of you have said that. While I do focus certain parts of my practice to areas where my dogs have problems, I also tend to have my dogs regularly practice things that don't give them problems. Take heeling, for instance. Dean is a beautiful heeler and I wouldn't say he has heeling problems. But we practice heeling on a regular basis. Probably mostly because he loves it, but also, to maintain the skill and build strength and duration into it. Even though he does it well, it is always something that we will work on making stronger.

 

I guess in a way this has been part of my thinking about this, too. If I think about it, it seems to me that jumping is to Agility what heeling is to the other sports that we train for! It's a skill that I'd like to see be so strong that Dean and I can rely on it, no matter what. So, it seems that incorporating some form of specific jump work into our training is even more than a good idea - it seems to me that it might be essential (for Dean, that is - that's not a blanket statement). At the same time, of course, I don't want to overdo jump training. Of course, we will keep jump training short and enjoyable, just as I do with pretty much all other skills.

 

I'm not really saying this to debate what anyone has said - just musing. Part of the reason why I was interested in hearing what others have to say about this is because I have started to think about the jump training in a new way. I'm wondering if this is typical.

 

I'm going where he takes me and enjoying the ride :rolleyes:

 

I am doing that with Dean, as well. The ride has been different from what I expected at first, but in many ways it has been better, in spite of the bumps in the road along the way. :D I think we might be making a sharp turn right now, but I'm interested to see where we end up going!

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I completely understand what you're saying about making the jump skill stronger, like heeling. It makes sense. When I think about it some more, when I'm really focusing on heeling, it's something I do every day once or twice. I'm still fun with it, sometimes more serious than other times and sometimes it's short bursts of heeling with break-outs. With a dog like Chase, I think he needs that fun, it seems to keep the stress and worry away.

So I'm wondering how much our every day, light and fun jump practice has helped him? I wonder how he would be if I did the jumps grids every day? (I really am wondering myself.) I just haven't done that because at this point, my instructors don't seem to think he has a problem but I know that a problem may arise when I start competing. At that point, I would surely be trying to figure out what I needed to do to help fix his problem. I sure hope I don't have to go back and re-train anything and I hope I am doing right by not doing jump grids and that kind of thing.

 

And it is very interesting to read that others don't do alot of the drilling.

 

With Chase, initially my goal was to keep things always fun for him. He was a dog that really needed to learn how to have fun and that it's okay to have fun and he is allowed to do fun things - almost like he needed permission to have fun. As he gains his confidence, I push him a little bit further out of his comfort zone, I put a little more stress on him to do it right and to know that he has a partner running with him. I don't know if that makes sense.

 

Same here with my journey with Chase taking a different direction than with any other dog I've ever owned. So not what I expected but I wouldn't trade any of my experiences with him for anything. He's taught me so much :rolleyes:

 

Glad I helped spark and idea for you :D

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This may not answer your question, but I spent a lot of time building value for jumping for Piper, as she didn't really seem to understand why jumps were fun and/or important. She was just as likely to blow past them or even under them, since speed and contacts were way more interesting. I spent a long time with my last trainer being frustrated with her. My current trainer explained it thusly: "if someone gave you a thousand dollars every time you jumped over something, wouldn't you want to jump things all the time?" So we worked a lot on short, successful jump sequences, serpentines, boxwork, threadles, and she got food or toy rewards very very often. Now this dog LOVES to jump and she's fast. When we were training at the last facility, she would fall apart after 3 jumps - here we are a year later and she's already running in Masters and loving it.

 

So we practice at class once a week and various short jumping sessions etc. at home 2-3 times a week. It's made all the difference for her. This works for her start line stays too - we build value for it, so she has a reason to want to do it. Giving her positive feedback after a couple or a few jumps makes her think jumping is cool.

 

RDM

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This may not answer your question,

 

It does!!

 

So we practice at class once a week and various short jumping sessions etc. at home 2-3 times a week. It's made all the difference for her. This works for her start line stays too - we build value for it, so she has a reason to want to do it. Giving her positive feedback after a couple or a few jumps makes her think jumping is cool.

 

That's exactly the sort of thing I am considering, and the results you have had with Piper are what I'm hoping for with Dean.

 

Thanks!!

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Conventional wisdom in the horse world is that horses only contain a finite number of jumps. I believe the same to be true with dogs. By the time that my dog earned her elite jumpers (NADAC) title, she was jumping once a week in class and perhaps a second time a week in a practice session. This is a dog with motivational problems, whose level of enthusiasm increases with fewer practice sessions. I know several people with difficult to motivate dogs, who have been told to train MORE, which I really don't understand. As I've told these people, agility should be like chocolate ice cream and if someome made you eat chocolate ice cream every day for a month, your enthusiasm for it would wane over time. These are all mature, hard to motivate dogs for whom agility is not instrinsically reinforcing and who tend to stress.

 

I think that the analogy between heeling and jumping isn't so good, because jumping is physically stressful. Ten minutes of jumping is just more taxing than 10 minutes of heeling.

 

As my dog has gotten older (she is almost 9 now, close to retirement), i've focused more on maintaining training, tuning-up, and physical conditioning rather than building new skills. I'm just not going to condition this dog to love tunnels as much as contacts (she'll chose a contact every time) because she just has a longer, stronger reinforcement history with contacts.

 

I think of having a book of coupons. For every jump, I remove one coupon from the book. My nine year old dog has fewer coupons in her book than a 3 year old dog. Once I run out of coupons, she has taken her last jump in practice/ competition.

 

So, I think with an older dog, it is a matter of training smarter rather than more/ longer.

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This has been a really interesting thread for me,

 

I struggle with knowing how much to practice how long the sessions should be etc, how many times I should do a certain sequence or drill, when I should let her fail and when I should make an exercise easier so she doesn't fail.

 

I love agility and I want it to always be fun for my dog, but I know I tend to push her just past the point where she is excited about doing something I have got to learn when to end it so I don't go that far.

 

This is one of those things that is of course is different for each dog, some dogs need to do something more and build motivation for it, some dogs need to do it less to not get burned out on it, just have to see which is best for your dog I guess.

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I think that the analogy between heeling and jumping isn't so good, because jumping is physically stressful. Ten minutes of jumping is just more taxing than 10 minutes of heeling.

 

If we draw it as an exact parallel, no. I certainly don't mean to train jumping for the same amount of time that I train heeling. :rolleyes: Not that I train heeling for long stretches of time, either. But I would definitely spend more time on heeling in a week than I would on jumping,

 

I'm thinking 2 - 3 minutes twice a week, in addition to class. And that's not 2 - 3 minutes of constant jumping. That time includes setting up the start line, time to reinforce, and time running in between jumps, etc.

 

The analogy between heeling and jumping was just to give an example of a skill that I work with my dogs on a regular basis that is not necessarily problem area.

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:rolleyes: I trained jumps using Linda Mecklenburg method if that is what you want to call it?!

 

If I am focusing on jump or a style of jumping they will get a treat for jumping the way I want them too or sometime something to motivated them to try faster, tighter jumps or whatever I want them to do.

 

I will start in a neutral position on a jump and go from there. Troy-boys gets board with to much repition and can start worrying that he is wrong vs Cressa who will do it again and again and again and...

 

:D I am not sure what you are asking tho. Jumps have never been an opinions but a mandatory. If they are running past a jump or obstacle something is wrong! tight muscle/injury, or a bad handler move, or they are just blowing me off.

 

As long as they know how to perform the obstacle I want. I don't want them to just focus on the obstacle. It takes two to play agility successfully. While Cressa might disagree **rolleyes** the handler is there to direct the dog over the correct obstacles with the shortest path. The dogs job is "follow" the handler directions and cue. Even if they(the dog) is 100 feet ahead of handler.

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I go to formal training once maybe twice a week. Depending on what we are working on we will do a small sessions everyday of agility, many times this includes jumps which we will use to work on weaves, contacts or just working on jump grids alone. (Which is what we are doing now) There may be a week where I will do just formal training away from home but it depends as I said what we are working on. If it is something new then it is frequent. If it is just "maintenance" training then it will be perhaps 3 times a week. Agility training could also just be start line stays, play, drive, control or particular skill sets with or without equipment.

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Brody and I are new agility competitors, we have been competing about a year and are still novices (we don't trial that much). I don't train jumping, what I train is handling, for him and I. I have found that due to the unorganized way Brody and I started our agility career there are a lot of things that we skipped so we have been home schooling a lot of handling. So for example one week we have worked on serpantines so both of us could get our timing down, another week we have done 2 jump exercises working on front and rear crosses once again for both of us. I usually keep the jumps much lower than his competition height. When I come back from vacation we are going to be working on getting some Border Collie versus turtle speed weaves. We don't have a set schedule, some weeks we will spent 5-10 minutes every evening, the last couple of weeks we have had a trial so I have not done any training at home. He also spends the day at work with my husband so if he is tired after a full day we also don't do anything.

We train once a week in a group class that is usually 3 complete runs, of a full advanced/elite type course.

Brody is a good jumper, and rarely knocks bars, and if he does it is usually a handling issue on my part, so considering all the other skills we need in agility and currently don't have, as long as he continues to jump well I don't see the need to train just jumps.

 

I should also add that Brody is not what I would call an exuberant agility partner, we did not start agility until he was almost 4 and I think he would rather be hiking. I believe that he over thinks what we are doing and tries very hard to make sure he makes no mistakes, hence our lack of speed. So clear communication is what I have been working on so that he really understands what I am asking him to do.

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:rolleyes: I am not sure what you are asking tho. Jumps have never been an opinions but a mandatory. If they are running past a jump or obstacle something is wrong! tight muscle/injury, or a bad handler move, or they are just blowing me off.

 

When it comes down to it, I'm wondering if more frequent practice with jumps (again, not drilling or overdoing it) is likely to help Dean become a more confident and enthusiastic jumper.

 

It's not that there is anything "wrong" with his jumping. There really isn't. It's one of those things where I see room for improvement, but not because there is a particular problem.

 

As long as they know how to perform the obstacle I want. I don't want them to just focus on the obstacle. It takes two to play agility successfully. While Cressa might disagree **rolleyes** the handler is there to direct the dog over the correct obstacles with the shortest path. The dogs job is "follow" the handler directions and cue. Even if they(the dog) is 100 feet ahead of handler.

 

I'd say, though, that in order to do that most effectively, the dog must have a certain level of independent competence on each piece of equipment, as well as a certain level of interest in doing so. Not that he's out there on his own - of course the handler must direct. But once the handler has directed, it is the dog's job to successfully carry out each task.

 

I see this in Dean's eyes and body language when I send him toward a dogwalk, or A-Frame, or weaves, or - interestingly - the tire. I don't see it with jumps. He does jump when I direct him to jump, but his demeanor is almost indifferent.

 

In a way I guess this is hard to describe. Like I've said, this isn't a "problem" per se. Maybe more of a weakness where I see lots of potential for improvement. And it's not in his jumping skill - which is actually excellent - but in his attitude toward jumping. There is just something missing that it seems to me could be there. If it can be there for the contacts, etc., it can be there for jumping. And, given the fact that most Agility courses are made of mostly of jumps, it seems that it really needs to be there for jumping if Dean is going to enjoy the game as fully as possible.

 

I think I'm going to try doing some extra jumping practice with him for a few weeks and see what happens. I suspect it will help.

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Has Dean started competing yet?

 

:rolleyes: I know Cressa HATED agility till we started to compete and she realize that agility is the best thing in the world.

 

Competition is what made Cressa put her heart into agility vs just training her. As a "baby"(before 2years old) Cressa was trained 2-3x a week and it was a fight to make her want to listen. She knew her commands and her obstacles but her heart wasn't in it.

 

Troy the same thing. He knew all his commands and obstacle but was really running to make me happy his heart wasn't in it. It wasn't till we started to compete more and he was a little older that he has actually started to show he was running agility casue he WANTS to and not becasue I want him too. But I think more of it had to deal with competeting. For me competing help show the dog this IS fun and this is work!

 

Also could it be how you are training the jump that is discouraging him? If you view the jumps as work and not fun he could be picking up on it.

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Has Dean started competing yet?

 

We've dabbled in some competition. I haven't gone into it seriously with him, but he has run in competition and actually has a few titles already.

 

:D I know Cressa HATED agility till we started to compete and she realize that agility is the best thing in the world.

 

Maddie was like that, too. Not that she hated it, but she really didn't see the point until we started competing. After we started competing, she really started to enjoy the game for it's own sake.

 

The same thing has not happened with Dean. But in his case, there are other factors in play because of his noise phobia. He doesn't dislike competition, but he doesn't love it. Not like he loves Rally competition. But he'd rather compete in Agility than stay home!! :rolleyes::D :D

 

Also could it be how you are training the jump that is discouraging him? If you view the jumps as work and not fun he could be picking up on it.

 

I doubt it. I don't approach anything in training that way, and also we haven't really been doing much jump training. Not in particular. And I wouldn't say he finds jumping "not fun". He does not seem to find Agility jumping to be terribly exciting or interesting - as he finds the dogwalk, etc. to be. But it's certainly not something that he dislikes. It's just . . . kind of . . . there . . .

 

When I work on jumping with him at home, we work in the yard and he works for his frisbee. He ADORES those sessions and gets very excited. But not for the jump itself. He jumps because it will get him what he wants - the frisbee! Thus far, the value of the frisbee has not transferred to the jump itself for him. And that's very interesting, when I think about it.

 

Same with the ball I use at class. Still, his enthusiasm for the dog walk, weaves, A-Frame, and teeter is quite evident, even in the presence of the ball.

 

This is an interesting thing. I've gotten a few more ideas just from typing this!

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I try to train something agility-related four days a week, but it doesn't always happen. There are also some weeks where I might do more than usual. When I work the dogs, it tends to be @ 5 minutes each -- maybe 10 minutes on days that I rotate them.

 

I work on whatever we need to work on -- contacts are the big one for my boys, so I always focus heavily on those directly before & after each trial. My little dog, Kaiser, knocks a bar once in a blue moon and doesn't need much drilling with jump work -- But Luke can get sloppy & flat sometimes and when that happens, I do spend a bit of time focusing on that with him. He knocked several bars at our trial last weekend, for instance, so this weekend I set up a 5-jump grid to bounce him through and get him picking up his legs. We'll do that several more times before our next trial in two weeks.

 

Aside from that type of work, though, I don't jump them too much. I actually tend to use a lot of hoops in my training to save wear & tear on their joints. Most dogs jump well enough without too much effort, but everyone needs to train & hone their handling skills on a regular basis.

 

With regard to reward -- Most dogs do get more enthusiastic about tunnels, contacts & weaves because generally those obstacles are rewarded FAR more than jumping when we start training. For some dogs jumping is self-rewarding -- and the hope is that eventually we can transfer value of our reward so that every dog finds jumping self-rewarding. To do that, we simply have to reward the jumping effort more in the beginning.

 

I'm guilty of not following my own advice, which needs to change. Secret doesn't care a wit about hoops & low jumps right now and it's because I've done a very poor job of reinforcing them. My boys love jumping & running, but Secret doesn't see much point to it (of course, are 8" jumps really all that fun for a 21" dog?). I need to build more value into going through the jump standards so that by the time she is old enough to start actually jumping, she finds it a bit more fun. Sigh.

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