Nic is being very kind letting me write this while he makes dinner. He is a good husband.
Today I went to the field. I had 2 goals: 1 – get Lumen focused, and to play, and 2 – do some Susan Salo jump grids.
There were some very important points that came out of tonight, and one huge lesson. I shall dot point them, to prevent me from rambling like I usually do.
- Got Lu out of car on lead. Put her in the crate. In fact, every time I had to get more food in the treat frizbee or rope or whatever, she was in a drop stay, and every time I had to set the jumps differently, she went in the crate. This meant: no wandering, no sniffing, no investigating the dog behind the fence. What I had? A focused dog who not once sniffed the ground or ate rabbit poo. Look, maybe it was the night but it was awesome.
- Started with a fun, familiar running game- race to the toy. Actually played this really well compared to on the weekend. She looks at me to see if I’m coming though which means that if I’m not running with her (eg driving to dead toy way ahead) she won’t run as well. Hopefully that will come.
- Kept exercises very short. Did 2 to 4 reps at most.
- Didn’t let her play with Mal. Em = Fun, Mal = not fun (well, he is fun, but he’s off limits).
- Used lots of toys and ran around a lot with her making it really fun and high energy.
- Haven’t seen freaked-out-monster-leaps for about 2 weeks. YES!!! She does tend to spring-bok the last jump but I think it’s a mix of a) excitement and b) looking for where the reward is. But unlike previously it wasn’t a monster leap because she either took off way too early or felt she needed to jump way too high. YAY, there’s hope!!!
And my huge, big, amazing lesson that I know Silvia has said in her FAQ and that I try really hard to follow but haven’t really seen why before until tonight and because I’m such a perfectionist find really, really difficult is this:
If Lumen gives me speed and drive I must reward it, even if she doesn’t do the exercise properly or how I envisaged it.
Here’s why: I had a jump grid set up. 3 jumps to bounce, then one where she was meant to do a stride and jump it. I looked at the distance that Susan Salo had suggested and thought: no way, she’s going to do a MASSIVE bounce jump here. Up to this point she’d been running REALLY beautifully, driving forward with speed and awesomeness. It was great. Then we did this one- she was running to her soccer-ball with me out in front… She did it, with speed and awesomeness and… sure enough…! One massive bounce-jump. So I didn’t say anything, and she went to the soccer ball and looked at me and didn’t grab it- she knew. And I knew she knew. So I was all upbeat and excited and we ran back to the start and set her up and lead out again to her soccer ball… and… I lost maybe a third of the speed we had? She was still OK, but it was cruisy compared to the try before- like she was really over-thinking it, and trying to figure out what she was meant to do – this time, of course, she took the stride and didn’t bounce it, but it wasn’t at speed any more. DARN!!!
So I rewarded her lots and tried again- same speed, slow and think-y. So we did one more where I threw the ball as she was running and of course I had the speed back AND she did it properly, so we played a lot and she fetched in the creek and we ended the night there…
But wow, how eye-opening to actually see her do it at speed and with drive, and to not get rewarded because she didn’t do it properly, so the next time she slowed right down to make sure she got it right. I’m such a moron!!! So maybe my mantra will have to be: ‘reward all speed even if she messes it up’ and we can work on perfecting it later.
But other than that little lesson, it was actually a really, really good session for us. So, that’s really promising. Now as long as Penny doesn’t break her while I’m in Europe… 😉