The other day I pondered some questions about Loki’s dogwalk. I then managed to answer most of them through our training:
- I could teach him a cue that means he will need to adjust as the exit is on an angle. Something like “check check” as he’s coming along the top plank before “the point of no return”. Otherwise he can do his high hits for straight forward exits. I tried this & he got confused & jumped off. I still like the concept of pre-cueing a turn before he has to actually turn.
- Do I lower the end of the DW so the apex is less pronounced and try and change his habits so he actually puts in an extra stride on the downramp and then raise it up gradually so he keeps that pattern? Surprisingly this didn’t help AT ALL. Somehow it meant his last stride ended up halfway down the down-plank so he had no space to put in another stride. Didn’t do what I wanted so scrapped it & put the height back up.
- Do I not worry about it and see what happens on unfamiliar dogwalks and maybe he just hits differently at home? At training on Saturday he ran a dogwalk 4 times. The first 2 times he was nervous about doing it and had great hits. Then he got confident & went for 4-strides with no adjustments. So, although they were hits they were high.
- Do I put a pole at the end of the DW and start with slow starts & work on exits, gradually adding speed, and this might help him understand the need to drive all the way to the end in order to get around the pole. I haven’t been using a pole but I did go back to slow entries & am gradually speeding them up to see if he will keep adjusting. I’ll also start adding different exits in.
- Do I do a heap more GTCG and hope it makes him more comfortable to put another stride on the down plank, and that this translates to more speed. I did a little GTCG before going back to close-start wraps & that seemed to remind him what he needed to do. He’s been adjusting heaps more since then.
At training on Saturday we actually ran a sequence that was a typical Australian-style course which is good because I generally hate typical Aus courses so I don’t do them at home. There were no wing jumps & Loki knocked 2 bars in each of our 2 attempts.
The ‘instructor’ says to me- “when he goes fast, he jumps lower so that’s why he’s knocking bars”. My response was: ‘oh well. He’s a baby, he’ll be fine. ‘ but later I thought- how is that even helpful advice?? Should I be aiming to slow my dog down or something?! I figure that 98% of Loki’s training has been on wing jumps, so I just need to make sure I train him on my pvc jumps sometimes too – I ran a sequence at home today with all wings & not one came down. So, just something I need to do. He’s a good little friend.