man your panic stations

So, anybody who knows me knows I’m a little obsessive, and this certainly applies to training Lu in agility. Moment of: OMG WE’LL NEVER DO WELL one day, followed by YAY SHE’S THE BEST DOG TO EVER LIVE! the next. Sorry husband.

I was out doing some stuff with her yesterday, however, when I began to notice a pattern. On one sequence, she’d knock down the same bar every time. On another sequence, the same two bars. What?!

I asked Silvia about her thoughts, though the angles of the knocked bars aren’t great, and she suggested Lu wasn’t pushing well with her hind legs and I should do some strengthening with her. Now, this is a dog who dances around on her back-legs, who literally meerkats when in long grass so she can see better, who RUNS up-hill when all her friends are trotting along behind… this dog doesn’t have strength problems. So I filmed her today and I started to see it. Every jump she takes, she tucks her back-legs under her, then brings them down way early. Like… 5cm from the bar, if that. Which means, a lot of the time, it’s actually her PANTS that appear to be knocking the bar. Though sometimes it’s her feet. I noticed as well, doing a ‘set point’ exercise, that she’d need to jump straight after the stride regulator, the highest point in her jump would be before the bar, and then she’d land almost on top of it.


So, man your panic stations, everyone. I’ve signed up to Hit The Ground Running with Dawn Weaver and Devorah Sperber and hopefully I can get her out of this habit now, since I’ve noticed it already and hopefully it’s not too ingrained.
See video below to know what I’m on about.


12 thoughts on “man your panic stations

  1. Ok no one is going to recommend you take advice from me because I am the Queen of freaking out! Nobody beats me! NOBODY!

    I agree it looks as though she is bumming the bar every now and then on the wraps but she does have enormous pants of fire and it almost looks like the kind of thing she will grow out of or learn out of? The jumping class sounds good because jumping educations are never going to hurt and she is so young it is going to be to her advantage now rather than later even if it turns out she doesn’t have jumping ‘issues’.

    The set point exercises she is being lazy with her back legs. Would be good to see the jump higher and see what she does.

    Well I am going to enjoy hearing about the class content either way! I think brisbeethewhite from LJ might have taken it with Eva.

    • Em says:

      Yeah but you’re not going to freak out about MY stuff, and I’m not going to freak out about YOUR stuff, so this whole “you come to me and I’ll come to you for freakouts” deal is going to work, I’m sure! 😉
      I love your sane voice of reason and even if I’m over reacting you’re totally right that jumping educations can only help, not hinder.
      Maybe I’ll try the jump higher on Monday (the article I got the exercise from suggested starting at 8″ so this was already higher than reccomended!) and I also wanted to see what she’d do on jumps where she should be in full extension (back legs stretched out and all) with a bit more height than usual- REQUIRING her to jump that way, and see if her style changes at all. That’s Monday’s plan when you come visit the magical field of ours. 😉
      Thanks for your sanity, Penny. I’m really glad we ‘reconnected’ by the way. 😀

  2. Oh boy I know all about the jumping panic stations… not with Java (yet!), but with Ruby. Have you applied for HGR yet? I wonder if they will count Lu as a dog with jumping problem since she has had so little experience with jumping and is still figuring it out…

    • Em says:

      Ohhh, interesting that they have to like, approve you…! Is that what happens? I haven’t gotten their questionnaire thing yet, apparently I’m waiting for someone to send it through. I’m feeling impatient. 😉
      I suppose we’ll see. The thing that I notice is that she jumps the same way every time. I was saying to Penny on my other comment that I want to set up a nice straight run of jumps with slightly higher than normal bars and see if she jumps the same then, too. Otherwise I guess I’ll have to figure out my own way of encouraging her to land further from the bar. I’ll keep you posted on what they say!!

      • As far as I understand they don’t take in dogs who haven’t developed jumping problems yet, so that’s what I was referring to. Ruby was a part of initial study group, and the little that we did seemed to make a difference, but we didn’t progress far because he kept getting injured (outside of agility). We are doing elements of HGR now as I’m preparing to let him jump again.
        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way Lu jumps, I get a feeling she just needs to understand the criteria for not touching the bars and be more aware of where her rear end is. But that’s just my uneducated opinion.

      • Em says:

        Lu does have a weird way of jumping- even Penny saw it at training on Saturday, and there’s a big difference between a normal jump (which she showed she can do) and her weird one. I’m beginning to wonder if it has something to do with ‘pressure’, because it was really interesting- we were doing restrained recalls over two jumps – REALLY low ones, and she actually did fine… add a third and she did these MONSTER leaps, nearly landing ON the bar (this is her problem see – she peaks early and comes down too soon, she’s not timing her jumps properly) over all three. So strange. She also finds it VERY difficult to jump in extension (with back legs out) even when it’s set up to allow her to do this and often she’ll knock bars in this instance because it’s so different for her. So I don’t necessarily think it’s about criteria, and watching a video from yesterday I think she’s striding really weird before a jump, too because I don’t think she’s sure yet when to jump, and she’s losing a lot of speed because of it. I set the bars up so she could take 2 easy, long strides and then jump, and somehow she took 3 and STILL began jumping from like, 2 meters away.
        So, if they don’t take us in I might need to get some of the exercises from you because I think they’ll really help her work through this and figure out when and how to jump properly, and how to coordinate herself. I’d rather do it now than when this is all ingrained in her as ‘the way to do it’ and have to try and break that pattern.

      • Well if they don’t take you I’m sure they will give you some pointers what to train 🙂
        I remember from some DVD on jumping that dogs need to learn to process the sight of a jump grid (like the three jumps you’re talking about). I guess some dogs have more natural talent for this than others.
        As for jumping in extension, she might never extend her hind legs while jumping – it could be her natural style to jump with hind legs folded.

      • Em says:

        That would be awesome, thanks. 😀
        Yeah so I was thinking I’ll do some stuff with just uprights to get her really comfortable and happy just running without worrying.. and then add back a low bar. Sort of go back a few steps. Which is ok, cos I reckon she’ll have awesome fun just being able to run and I think she’ll benefit from that, anyway. 😉
        And you’re right, she might not- I know Mal doesn’t always jump in extension and he did well, but she can’t be coming DOWN in her arc while she’s still over the bar – that’s the main problem, I think, and I think that comes down to her being confident in her striding, take-off and landing positions and whether that’s just a ‘give her time and she’ll work it out’ issue, or something that’s how she is, I don’t know, but I’d rather try and figure it out now. 🙂

      • I meant that if they don’t think that HGR is the solution they will have an idea of what would be more appropriate for Lu… so then it makes no sense for me to give you HGR-type pointers.
        I’m only looking at straight jumps right now… cik&cap doesn’t count. The set point exercise looks weird, I’ll give you that, but her extension to collection from June 9th for example looks great! In all her extension jumping I saw in the past I never thought she can’t judge the takeoff point appropriately. She always looked effortless. Of course there is the thing of ever increasing jump heights. Do you have a video of straight jumping problems (on a real course, not set point)?

    • Penny says:

      Wow that would be interesting if you can get ‘rejected’! Hmm that would be annoying.

      Otherwise we might have to do endless hours of Susan Salo jump grids with Lumen and Badger! Noooooooooo! I will get too sleepy!

      • Em says:

        After today I’m actually really looking forward to just seeing crazy running lumen with no bars. I couldn’t believe her speed!! So sequences, serps, running all with bars down at mega zoomie speed!? Yes please!!

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