hello speed, bye bye jumping

I played a little game with Lu today. Because she’d been doing so well with our curved-tunnel game (basically the 500-ball game with a curved tunnel), I decided I’d ruin it all by putting some jumps in. Because I was thinking what if she’s got all her speed from chasing a ball after the tunnel but then suddenly we do sequences and it takes too long to chase the ball?
So I wrapped her around a tree, went over a bar, into the tunnel, over a different bar and off to chase the ball.

Well, I had some nice speed but her jumping form (what little there is) went right out the window. She didn’t smash any bars or land on top of any like she was for a while, just taking off early, folding her legs right up, and landing pretty close to the bar on the landing side. I tried racing her, I tried waiting back to not race her, but I had big high foldy jumps.

So I have 2 thoughts about how to tackle this. Because although she might be jumping weird because she’s looking for a ball, I don’t want to not throw the ball ahead because that’s how I’m getting speed.

Option 1) Have 2 jumps in a line instead of side by side. The first jump closest to the tunnel should have a bar and be at a nice height, and the 2nd one, furthest from the tunnel, should only have the bar that holds the whole thing together (5cm high). Therefore, the 1st bar should be jumped normally, and the 2nd is just an endpoint after which the ball shall be thrown and since it’s so low she doesn’t need to do anything weird to get over it. It could teach her to stretch out her stride there.

Option 2) Go back to much lower bars and play the same game as today. Do this for a few sessions, then raise the height slightly. Continue as long as there is confident, fluid jumping. It could simply be a matter of her not knowing how to jump with the speed she has when blasting out of the tunnel, since she’s not usually that fast. Possibly with some sessions on a lower height she’ll start to figure it out.


I’m thinking option 2 is best even though it’ll take longer than the other to get up to full height but maybe that’s ok right now anyway.


Also I made a list of pro/con for BCs and Aussie vs. BC arguments.

BC came out on top. I’ll share later.

13 thoughts on “hello speed, bye bye jumping

  1. Amanda says:

    Have you watched Susan Salo jump grids? I have it if you want to borrow? Insanely boring, but good ideas on how to create a good jump style. I would do your same sequence but instead of one or two jump sequence, throw a SS jump grid in there and then throw the ball – that may help?

    • Em says:

      I’ve done some jump grids with her, probably not as much as I should but I feel like although I can see how they could be beneficial, they’re also very contextual. eg. you do them all without any speed coming in or going out of them. Then, suddenly, you ask her to run really fast and it’s a completely different picture/game. So that’s my thoughts on that!

  2. I have found that concentration on a thrown toy can certain send some jumping to hell. What does she think of static toys (left on the ground to collect at the end?) Razor was pretty hot on this. But I think Rumble (like Lu) would be more excited by the movement.

    Here’s some video (fairly long, fairly boring, sorry) of being sent to a static toy. We were working on “go on”

    years ago. With plenty of bonus Ruben, poor guy.

    • Em says:

      Lu says BOOOOOOOO to static toys. I’ll get a bit of speed out of her when using a soccer ball, but I really wanted this game to be all about running fast, not about over thinking. Which is why maybe I should do it again with the bars lower and then build them up.
      Definitely agree that focusing on a thrown toy can mess up jumping though. Maybe I’ll go back to a reward hoop as well (eg. ball won’t be thrown until you go through the hoop) for this game, therefore no need to look around when jumping.

  3. iffebim says:

    Hi. Secret reader here.
    I want to share a game I came up with myself, my BC loves weaves, DW, tunnels, etc, but thinks jumps in a line are kind of a flop. So I came up with what I call the “Two jump race game”.
    I have no idea whether it already exists. If so, I don’t know about it, just so that you don’t think I am claiming someone else’s idea as mine…
    I start out with one jump, a high-value reward and a clicker. You can actually play the game with just food (my dog likes chicken a lot), or a tug or balls or whatever.
    I start from a restrain a couple yards in front of the jump, race him over the jump (I run by the side and call jump), click and reward. He is like, that is it?! Doing one jump, getting a click (he loves clicks) and a reward? Awesome!!
    We do the one jump a couple times, then I set up another jump behind the first one (in a grid style, but with a comfortable distance). We then race over the two, I click and treat the last one, and immediately turn and race him back, click and treat, turn and race…
    It is really fast-paced, and my dog gets a kick out of doing something so “easy” and getting rewarded for each single baby sequence.

    • Penny says:

      I really like the fun times in this game!! So great and I am going to steal it. Do I need to pay you money?. But what would you do if the dog hit the bar say 50% of the time (or jumped weirdly like Emily is worried about). sorry I hope this doesn’t sound like I am picking holes, I am just more interested in your thoughts on using the game to help encourage good jumping style :). Lowering bars etc.

      • iffebim says:

        That is a good question, I don’t really know a lot about jumping problems but what I did with knocked bars was the following: just said ‘ahhhhh.’ in a sad-ish voice and do it again. Because the task is so very easy to understand for them (race and jum and get a treat), he understands very well what criteria he did not meet. Actually easier than when we knocks bars in sequences, when I stop him there he looks all confused and as though he does not know why we stopped. If he knocks in the two jump race game, and we don’t reward but just race back, he always clears the bar, so this seems to be an easy to understand rule of the game for him.
        I don’t know about jumping style issues, though…maybe start at a height that you are happy with to teach the game and then if she understands and likes it, increase height while keeping the criteria?

      • iffebim says:

        PS, so if the dog is really knocking 50% of the time then I would probably go to a height where he is successful to build value for the game and get him to understand the rules, and then increase the height. Also, I have the feeling there only is a real flow to the game with two jumps, so I would rather take two low jumps then one high one.
        But I am by no means an expert in agility problem solving!

    • Em says:

      Hi secret reader. 😀 Thanks for your game. Interestingly, Lu actually really likes bars. She’d much rather do a bar than a tunnel (hence the tunnel games we’ve been playing). Though, with her, ‘liking something’ doesn’t equal ‘doing it really fast’.The only thing I have at ‘really fast’ is her running DW, which is why I was thinking of applying the same principles (chase a ball) to jumps and tunnels. But I like your game anyway because games are always fun and I can just not reward for big large jumps. Getting rewarded for easy stuff will be good for Lu too… then maybe you could do jump-curved tunnel-jump-reward-race back through… Something like that. 🙂

  4. Penny says:

    I really appreciate your thoughts. I love hearing new ideas. And you are right, the game is so simple that the dog probably wouldn’t shut down with the NRM, dependant on the dog I suppose. Thanks

    • iffebim says:

      Well, I actually have a different NRM for “real” behavior chain work like weave pole entries, and then a kind of “ahh, bummer” for games. I personally put more emotions into the game one and keep the real behavior chain one very unemotional and matter-of-fact. But that is just me, and yes, my dog is very tolerant of NRM, so maybe a softer dog would need a different approach.

  5. My guess would be that she just doesn’t know how to both run and jump nicely. Lowering the jumps sounds like a good idea to start with, but if the jumping wouldn’t improve within a session I wouldn’t keep doing low jumps, because lower height allows the dog to make really poor jumping decisions and still keep the bar up.
    BTW have you ever tried to run over agility jumps? I have. They were pretty low (25cm?) but still it was more difficult than I thought to run as fast as I could over measly two jumps spread maybe 3m apart. Hey! I know! We should have human agility competitions! With a handler and a ‘dog’ and only handler knew the course beforehand!

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