breathe

Hey readers. Long time no post.

These summer holidays were W.I.L.D. I mean, I was sleeping in till 10am, lying in the hammock, napping on the couch, eating icypoles and not having lunch until 4pm. Outta control.

Between all that, I’ve set up a new blog to document my travels with Loki given that I plan to move us to Europe for at least 1-2 years at the end of 2017 and thought it could be a nice way for other dog-lovers to follow our journey and learn a bit about travelling with their dogs. It’s funny because living in one of the least dog-friendly places ever, I’m inclined to find National Parks in Europe and then google “National Park Name – dogs?” and of course every time the results come back something like “well yeah, duh, of course dogs are allowed” and sometimes “Yeah, duh, but on lead.” It’s taking a bit of adjusting to realise that dogs are pretty much allowed anywhere. Weird.

If you want to follow along, you can find it here:

breathofwildair.com

In the meantime I’ll probably only document training goals and stuff here as a way to have it recorded. Way less interesting than pretty pictures of Europe with Loki.

Loki goals for the beginning of this year:

  • Add speed when approaching weaves, start to add more obstacles before the weaves to increase inertia and continue to work on his hardest entries in this kind of scenario.
  • Dogwalk. Consider pausing running him in agility trials while working on dogwalk behaviours. Look into a class because seriously we don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Otherwise try and consistently go out and do 5 minutes a night. That’s all. Just something, consistently.
  • Collection. Begin with collection recalls, add distance (me and him), then motion. End goal: some kind of collection with landing-side front crosses (relative or true collection depending on situation)
  • Jumping. Work through LM’s advanced jumping drills class.
  • Verbals/relationship/handler focus stuff. Martina’s Special Games class.
  • Jumping/self control. Continue playing with Mark buckets in between jumps (especially in small sequences of 3-4 jumps), to see if this helps with jump mechanics and with ‘keeping a cool head’.

 

Lumen’s goals:

  • Well, really, the goal with this dog is to just run hard, run fast and run clean…
  • Collection: I probably should do some kind of work to teach her to collect, it’s just so tedious.
  • Turns off the dogwalk. Same sentiments as above.
  • Obstacle discriminations, especially weaves vs. anything and dogwalk vs. anything.
  • Japanese turn timing. Actually not bad with Lu but can still improve and I think this turn is a really good way to handle a lot of stuff with her.
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goals: June update

A few days late of a month this time, but let’s check in on my goals from May

 

The other day I went through my goals from a month ago and realised I’d done some of them! So here’s our new goals:

Self:

  • Allow calf to heal- give yourself a week off from running. If at all possible. Seriously. 2 weeks would be even better. Update: Well, this was going ok but then I had competitions to get to. It feels pretty good today so I’m going to try and be careful and if I do some RC on Thursday I’ll try and not overdo it. 
  • Continue to watch your eating. Update: Umm…. Yes and no. Nic was away for a couple of weeks so while I didn’t overeat, I didn’t necessarily get lots of nutrition, either.
  • Look into an exercise bike on Gumtree Update: Nah. Let’s face it, I don’t like bikes, I don’t have time to bike without taking the dogs, and the idea of being on a bike when Lumen sees a kangaroo or something is quite terrifying (assuming she’s attached to it). 

 

Lu:

  • Continue proofing weave entries but more especially independence once IN the obstacle. Been injured, haven’t really had time. 
  • Train one-jump body awareness and obstacle independence using OMD techniques. Whoops, forgot about this one.
  • Dogwalk exits. Find a good starting spot for consistent hits and then try different pulls/pushes etc. Try it into weaves, an almost-90-degree exit onto a table, etc. I was doing this and as a result shook her confidence a bit. I know now that it’s ok to run out straight THEN turn. 
  • Get that A-frame behaviour solid. She hit 3/3 beautifully at the trial the other day so I’m not worried about it now.
  • Backside bars and threadle arm – especially into tunnels.Been working on these.
  • Check out that Justine Davenport stuff and get working through the lessons. As above.
  • Do hill-running/sprints. Nah but letting Lu and Loki off-lead instantly results in lots of sprinting. 
  • Make time to do strength tricks often. Not as much as I’ve wanted but I just haven’t got time at the moment so we’ve been doing lots of playing and being excited for food instead.
  • Continue play class. 🙂 This was happening but the last lesson was on putting longer sequences together using different methods so I’ll just have to wait until we move for this part.  

 

Loki:

  • Play for the sake of playing. Yes! He’s starting to get really good at bringing me toys back so we’re starting to just play more and hang out and cuddle.
  • Keep working on recalls especially on a long-line around wildlife. I haven’t been doing so much on a long-line but I did call him off a roo the other day in the dark which was impressive (I’d stolen his lead to use as a head-halter for Lu who was being insufferable… possibly because there were roos around). 
  • Visit big animals like cattle and horses to learn appropriate responses. Visit the dog park for more dog interaction. Continue socialisation in general. The first bit is still coming along. Response seems cautious but curious… Dog park yes, but he spends all the time obsessing over Lumen.
  • Start working on restrains to food, and on ignoring my movement while eating from a target. Do restrains to a thrown toy.  My little mate is very good at this. The toy can be dead dead dead and he’ll still run to it. And like he could care less what I’m doing when he’s running to food. I could be doing cartwheels on the back of a wooly mammoth and I don’t think he’d mind. 
  • Continue to work on puppy tricks (wraps, perch pivot, body awareness, foot targetting, backing up, leg weaves, GO GO!, stays, and recalls in general) Yep. Continuing. 
  • Shape him to pick up, mouth and carry a rubber ball to help with his jaw development. Gosh we’ve done a lot of this. He can put his ball in a little ramekin bowl now, and put shredded bits of paper in a little bin. 
  • Teach a “leave it” (or continue using “uh uh”) for food on the ground. Uhhh… Working on this one. He’ll leave it alone if I tell him to quickly enough (eg before he eats whatever he’s found) and is actually spitting food out now, but this might be a long road. 😉

Mal

  • Pat him as required. 😉
  • Feed him more! The vet said he was too skinny because if he gets sick then he won’t have any reserves to give him energy to fight off the infection or whatever. I found this surprising – I wouldn’t say Mal is underweight… he’s lean at the moment, yes, but I’m actually very careful to make sure my guys don’t carry excess weight, especially Mal as he’s getting older… He’s currently 18.? kg which is maybe a kilo less than he should be – they want him to be 20kg… I’m not convinced. (and for reference, at Mal’s skinniest, need to fatten him up, still doing agility stage he was 17.4kg, and at his heaviest, should loose weight, feeling pudgy stage, he was 21kg…. Lu is 18.3kg at the moment)…  but anyway, he won’t complain about more food!!! Oh, look, Mal doesn’t seem to want to put on weight. He’s not that skinny, he’s fine. 

 

Home:

  • Look into getting better camera.Well… I’ve looked. I can’t bring myself to buy anything yet.
  • Get a haircut. Seriously, I think it’s been about 4 months. (oh, I added these now for the next goals. whoops)
  • Start packing up the garage and the house.

goals: may update

The other day I went through my goals from a month ago and realised I’d done some of them! So here’s our new goals:

Self:

  • Allow calf to heal- give yourself a week off from running. If at all possible. Seriously. 2 weeks would be even better.
  • Continue to watch your eating.
  • Look into an exercise bike on Gumtree – especially if you can get one for cheap and Nic’s going to be away for 2.5 weeks and that’s the amount of time the physio suggested doing rehab on a bike for.

 

Lu:

  • Continue proofing weave entries but more especially independence once IN the obstacle.
  • Train one-jump body awareness and obstacle independence using OMD techniques.
  • Dogwalk exits. Find a good starting spot for consistent hits and then try different pulls/pushes etc. Try it into weaves, an almost-90-degree exit onto a table, etc.
  • Get that A-frame behaviour solid.
  • Backside bars and threadle arm – especially into tunnels.
  • Check out that Justine Davenport stuff and get working through the lessons.
  • Do hill-running/sprints.
  • Make time to do strength tricks often.
  • Continue play class. 🙂

 

Loki:

  • Play for the sake of playing.
  • Keep working on recalls especially on a long-line around wildlife.
  • Visit big animals like cattle and horses to learn appropriate responses. Visit the dog park for more dog interaction. Continue socialisation in general.
  • Start working on restrains to food, and on ignoring my movement while eating from a target. Do restrains to a thrown toy.
  • Continue to work on puppy tricks (wraps, perch pivot, body awareness, foot targetting, backing up, leg weaves, GO GO!, stays, and recalls in general)
  • Shape him to pick up, mouth and carry a rubber ball to help with his jaw development.
  • Teach a “leave it” (or continue using “uh uh”) for food on the ground.

Mal

  • Pat him as required. 😉
  • Feed him more! The vet said he was too skinny because if he gets sick then he won’t have any reserves to give him energy to fight off the infection or whatever. I found this surprising – I wouldn’t say Mal is underweight… he’s lean at the moment, yes, but I’m actually very careful to make sure my guys don’t carry excess weight, especially Mal as he’s getting older… He’s currently 18.? kg which is maybe a kilo less than he should be – they want him to be 20kg… I’m not convinced. (and for reference, at Mal’s skinniest, need to fatten him up, still doing agility stage he was 17.4kg, and at his heaviest, should loose weight, feeling pudgy stage, he was 21kg…. Lu is 18.3kg at the moment)…  but anyway, he won’t complain about more food!!!

 

Home:

  • Look into getting better camera.

 

 

goals: 1 month later

I thought I’d do a check in on my goals… I didn’t realise but it’s been exactly a month (less one day) since I wrote them. So here’s how we’re going:

 

Self:

  • Increase fitness by doing sprints every second day with the dogs in tow. Go back to doing tree wraps with Lu (tie Loki up if needed) because this will be beneficial for both of us. Do lunges and other easy ‘on the go’ exercises when out with the dogs. Walk up hills. Update: Not so great here. Doing more agility sprints with Lu on the hill where we’ve been training seems to have caused a small tear in my calf muscle which makes sprinting very very bad. I ignored my physio after I went to her yesterday and did more agility and was in agony last night. So, sprints are going to be on hold. Tried doing some lunges but I’m very bad at doing things ‘out and about’. Might have to give up on this idea.
  • Watch your eating. Stop buying lollies and chips (who are you? You used to be so proud of never going down those aisles!). Eat smaller portions. Update: Good! No chips consumed recently, and Nic has started the 12 Week Body Transformation which means I am watching my portions and we’re eating healthier meals. 

Lu:

  • Close the weaves and proof independence and entries. Move them to Anne’s place for additional setups with entries etcUpdate: Weaves are closed and she can do them in different locations! Last night I did a rear cross from a hard angle and she DID IT! I was so impressed. Also did a fairly extreme right entry (which she did – amazing since I haven’t been teaching right hand entries), 90 degree entries and fast straight entries. Also proofed independence with me hanging back and her going on. This was HARD – resorted to throwing her food bag ahead, but she slowed down a lot. It will come.
  • Train one-jump body awareness and obstacle independence using OMD techniques. Don’t worry so much about handling just yet, but do focus on how you can make her jumping more confident, proof her jumping, and teach her to jump regardless of my actions. Update: Done this once. Have had to pack up jumps because of selling the house but now that the house is sold, I’ll get back onto this. 
  • Get back to full-speed confident running dogwalk by backchaining from the down-plank. Go backwards every successful session or as she appears confident. Don’t rush. Update: Seems to be achieved! We’ll see what she does at a mock trial on Saturday but she ran Penny’s in a new location beautifully, and at Frankston, too. I haven’t been watching what she does where we normally train so it could be weird there, but it doesn’t seem to translate to other places. 
  • New goal: Train exits! Including pulling across into wrong tunnels, blind and front crosses, rear crosses, etc.
  • Try some compression jumping grids in the backyard- start at a comfortable bounce distance and decrease space between jumps as she appears comfortable. Aim to help her feel confident in compressing and adding a stride. Change between extension and compression jumping within a week. Update: Nope. Haven’t done this once. I hate jumping grids.
  • Keep visiting those kangaroos and make attention on me the default response to spotting a roo. Update: Nope, haven’t had time. 
  • Do hill-running/sprints. Update: Done plenty of sprints, chasing balls, 200 ball game, etc.
  • Make time to do strength tricks every 2nd day. Update: Maybe not every 2nd day but more regularly than we were.
  • Continue play class. 🙂 Update: Going well. Definitely seen a change in food-related behaviours, but not toys so much.

Loki:

  • Play for the sake of playing. Follow play class for fun with him. Update: Yep. I feel like we’re finding our ‘groove’ in terms of how to play together for fun. 
  • Keep working on recalls especially on a long-line around roos. Update: Haven’t done it with roos, but have with rabbits, moorhens and magpies. 
  • Visit big animals like cattle and horses to learn appropriate responses. Visit the dog park for more dog interaction. Continue socialisation in general. Update: Mixed. Met one horse, been to the dog park a couple of times, and he’s come to school for lots of human interaction a few times.
  • Start working on restrains to food, and on ignoring my movement while eating from a target. Do restrains to a thrown toy. Update: Yes, a bit. Not a huge priority. 
  • Do some puppy ‘on the flat’ stuff, just for fun. (eg. lap turns, etc) Update: As above.
  • Continue to work on puppy tricks (wraps, perch pivot, body awareness, foot targetting, backing up, leg weaves, GO GO!, stays, and recalls in general) Update: Yep. Working on lots of these things but not over working any of them. 
  • When running together, drop a toy on the ground on his line to discourage just chasing me all the time. Update: Tried this once and he was oblivious to the toy. Will wait until he has a bit more toy focus for this!

Mal

  • Pat him as required. 😉 Update: Actually, lately Mal has been coming up on the couch between Nic and I, so he’s been getting heaps more pats and cuddles. Until Lu lays on my lap.

Home:

  • Bit clean up, de-clutter, prepare house for sale. Get rid of unneeded things, take the piles of clothes to the op-shop bins. Just generally get all the shit sorted so it will sell quickly. Update: HOUSE SOLD BIATCH. 
  • Fix the hole in the roof that currently has gaffa tape over it. Update: Done.

 

Tonight, I’ll think of some updated goals and post them up on Monday. But, considering I haven’t actually been consciously following my goals, I’m actually really pleased with how we’ve gone… given most of them were “matter of course” goals, it’s still good to see that we’re getting through stuff.

 

weighty issue (goals/plans/action)

Nic and I went for a hike today- we took a photo of the two of us and I cringed to see how much weight I’ve put on. Not that it was surprising – my jeans aren’t fitting well, and while I don’t ever get myself on the scales, I figure this is a fairly accurate representation of the state of things. I suppose it’s been a tough few months in terms of exercise- in January Lu got sick and all I wanted to do (and DID) was sit with her at home and eat comfort food. She couldn’t walk, Mal didn’t really need to walk, to we didn’t walk. At the same time, we obviously stopped doing agility (and I subsequently lost my training space) so an hour’s worth of activity every couple of days stopped too. Then school started and I was coming home exhausted, falling asleep on the couch, and still not able to do agility. And then we got Loki who has spurred me into activity again but of course he’s little, so our walks are under an hour long, he can’t come jogging, and I’m feeling too unfit to do much in terms of hills. And we still can’t train agility regularly so all that sprinting I was doing with Lu? Not happening.

So as we were walking today I was thinking about some goals I’d like to set for the next short-mid term.

Self:

  • Increase fitness by doing sprints every second day with the dogs in tow. Go back to doing tree wraps with Lu (tie Loki up if needed) because this will be beneficial for both of us. Do lunges and other easy ‘on the go’ exercises when out with the dogs. Walk up hills.
  • Watch your eating. Stop buying lollies and chips (who are you? You used to be so proud of never going down those aisles!). Eat smaller portions.

 

Lu:

  • Close the weaves and proof independence and entries. Move them to Anne’s place for additional setups with entries etc.
  • Train one-jump body awareness and obstacle independence using OMD techniques. Don’t worry so much about handling just yet, but do focus on how you can make her jumping more confident, proof her jumping, and teach her to jump regardless of my actions.
  • Get back to full-speed confident running dogwalk by backchaining from the down-plank. Go backwards every successful session or as she appears confident. Don’t rush.
  • Try some compression jumping grids in the backyard- start at a comfortable bounce distance and decrease space between jumps as she appears comfortable. Aim to help her feel confident in compressing and adding a stride. Change between extension and compression jumping within a week.
  • Keep visiting those kangaroos and make attention on me the default response to spotting a roo.
  • Do hill-running/sprints.
  • Make time to do strength tricks every 2nd day.
  • Continue play class. 🙂

 

Loki:

  • Play for the sake of playing. Follow play class for fun with him.
  • Keep working on recalls especially on a long-line around roos.
  • Visit big animals like cattle and horses to learn appropriate responses. Visit the dog park for more dog interaction. Continue socialisation in general.
  • Start working on restrains to food, and on ignoring my movement while eating from a target. Do restrains to a thrown toy.
  • Do some puppy ‘on the flat’ stuff, just for fun. (eg. lap turns, etc)
  • Continue to work on puppy tricks (wraps, perch pivot, body awareness, foot targetting, backing up, leg weaves, GO GO!, stays, and recalls in general)
  • When running together, drop a toy on the ground on his line to discourage just chasing me all the time.

Mal

  • Pat him as required. 😉

 

Home:

  • Bit clean up, de-clutter, prepare house for sale. Get rid of unneeded things, take the piles of clothes to the op-shop bins. Just generally get all the shit sorted so it will sell quickly.
  • Fix the hole in the roof that currently has gaffa tape over it.

 

So hey, not too much, right? Just a matter of finding time for all of it… especially now as daylight hours in the afternoon are getting shorter and shorter, I might have to take the dogs into the sneaky no-dogs park near home… otherwise we’ll never get any walking done.

 

Border Collie Times II

BC times

 

Another very large day for a very small puppy! One of the things I wish I had a record of was all the different experiences Lu had as a baby, so I’d know what ideas worked and what maybe didn’t. So here I want to document our initial adventures, socialisation outings or incursions, and general puppy shenanigans.

As far as Socialisation goes, today Loki met 9 Soft Coat Wheaten Terrier puppies at my friend Sarah’s house. At first he was a bit unsure (WHY SO MANY!?) and then as he settled in and began to explore, the play was on. He did very well at terrier wrestle-play, and it was very different play to the chasing he’s doing with Lu. I consider this an excellent experience. It definitely shows that as soon as he’s vaccinated, I’ll be wanting to introduce him to lots of friendly dogs though, because he’s at his least confident with dogs.

Obviously he’s having plenty of car-rides, and sometimes these are on dirt roads, too.

After all the play (about 2 hours of playing), we came home, then did some gardening. It started to rain, so he had further exposure to rain and then, we were really lucky because a thunderstorm moved overhead. The little champ didn’t bat an eye and continued playing with Lu and helping us with the mulch. During this, he’s hanging out under the wheelbarrow, climbing on an upside down slippery kayak, helping Nic with the shovel, climbing on grass clumps, and generally having a wonderful time.

Since I’m making play my focus, we played with garden gloves, some bark, a half rubber ball thing that Penny had that Lu loves (and he was VERY keen on that, too) and hands, we ran back and forth and I tried getting him to do a sort of beginners retrieve, which he did, twice, but then he realised he was very very tired and just looked puzzled by the whole situation.

Tomorrow, I think we might go to a forest where dogs maybe technically aren’t allowed so it should be pretty safe especially if we go off-trail (we’re the only morons I know who do this so I think it will be ok). And we might try and hit up a farmer’s market with him in a shopping bag so people can meet him.

Since I’ve begun to lay the foundation for shaping and tricks, I’m actually just going to put that on the backburner for the minute.

Instead, we’re going to focus on:

  • playing: everywhere and anywhere, and with anything. This is made a little harder by not being vaccinated  so unable to play ‘out and about’ but I’ll make a concerted effort to bring a blanket along, get him out and PLAY.
  • retrieving: this doesn’t seem to come as naturally to him as it did with Lu but I think with practise we’ll get there, especially if it’s tugging/playing, then me running off
  • sprints together, running, sprinting. Again, made difficult by lack of vaccinations, but I think school ovals should be ok, up at Silvan and at Wright Forest there could be some chances.
  • just playing with stuff around – wobble boards, around food containers/other objects (preparing for cik/cap)
  • playing in water (need to find some, but I’d love him to be a water dog, too)
  • recalls
  • socialising: going everywhere, meeting everyone.
  • crate games.

I think I’d like to continue using the clicker – maybe I could just use it sparingly…. not sure how. Click for calm/ignoring behaviour around cats, click for good crate behaviour (staying in when door open, etc).  Something to think about.

 

personally…

This is a post about me, so here's a picture of me in Switzerland.

This is a post about me, so here’s a picture of me in Switzerland.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my personality and how this affects my training lately. I recently did one of those Myer-Brigg’s test after seeing what Penny came out as and wanting to know how similar we actually are. Turns out very.

I came out as an INTJ (with the J being by 11%, so only just). And look, I know these aren’t the ‘be all and end all’ of defining yourself, and there’s flaws in the test, and I don’t think you’re as one (or 2?) dimensional as that, but I find it really interesting to look at some of the stuff it says and apply it to why I am the way I am especially in terms of agility.

 

For example… My friend Amanda sent me an email and told me that she likes to train using personal challenges. I thought about the idea of a personal challenge and realised that it is completely foreign to me. I… really have difficulty understanding how one could challenge oneself personally, without having a benchmark to measure the success against. I think if I COULD give myself personal challenges I’d be in a much better place.

Here’s what some of my traits apparently are:

INJTs focus their energy on observing the world, and generating ideas and possibilities. Their mind constantly gathers information and makes associations about it. So, this is a good explanation for why I like to compare myself, to look at other people and think I’m not as good or as fast as them, and why? And what do I need to do to get there? And what are they doing differently? What system/theory/game/lesson can I do to help me?

 

 Their primary interest is not understanding a concept, but rather applying that concept in a useful way. Unlike the INTP, they do not follow an idea as far as they possibly can, seeking only to understand it fully. I was thinking about my training this morning, and how often I’ll decide to do something, eg. the HGR program, or do speed circles to increase speed, or tunnel games, or whatever… and I’ll do it maybe 3 or 4 sessions until I’ve got the general gist. Then I judge if it’s working. If it doesn’t appear to be working, or only has a slight positive impact, I’ll try something else. If it appears to be working, I figure I’ve done it and I’m ready to move on to the next thing. No wonder my dog has issues! Poor girl doesn’t get a particular training method very consistently. Must try and get better at this. Stick with an idea for more than 3 sessions! Just because she does well on the 3rd session doesn’t mean it’s time to move on, she needs time to understand and make it a habit. (I’m thinking right now about tunnel games and how she needs more than 3 sessions to really find the game fun, not moving on when she’s doing it quickly because she’s ‘got it’).

They are the supreme strategists – always scanning available ideas and concepts and weighing them against their current strategy, to plan for every conceivable contingency. Oh boy. The last bit, being able to plan for every conceivable contingency? This is why I have so much trouble with potential options that have unknown end points (like the situation with a 3rd dog/puppy), and also why I’m so hard on myself and my training plan, because I am constantly weighing up other options in order to find “the best” one.

A bit unrelated but: Many INTJs end up in engineering or scientific pursuits, although some find enough challenge within the business world in areas which involve organizing and strategic planning. Hah, yeah, teaching isn’t possibly the most ‘strategic planning’ of careers. Too many variables (children) and too many systems (ways to teach) and too many outcomes. Maybe I’ll go into Education Research one day. I think that would be fascinating. Or consulting to help teachers set up play-based learning.

Anyway, like I said, I don’t think this is an excuse or a reason for being as obsessive/stressy as I am, but I think it’s a really interesting way of looking at the way I look at the world, without necessarily having realised it. Of course there’s flaws in the test- there always are, though I do think it’s interesting that at least this dimension of my personality when it comes to dog training is really spot on. I’ll admit I was thinking a lot about how I am with training as I answered it- possibly I’d get different answers if I tried to focus more on me at work because I’m certainly not as driven or obsessive here.

 

A little unrelated, but Andreja sent me a lovely email last night that got me thinking a lot about competitiveness and goals. I’ve always had goal-setting in the back of my mind but haven’t kind of thought of it too much… From her email, I’d like to bring the focus to me and us as a team, and away from ‘beating them’ or ‘being as fast/good as…”

So as I went for a walk this morning, I began thinking that this is what I want:

I want to run full-speed with my dog. I want us to run in synch and as a team. We are always learning together, and everything can get better with time, patience and practise. It is all about mileage. 

(last bit stolen from Daisy Peel, hehe).

I’m going to try and keep this in my mind – to bring the focus to me (and therefore, I guess, personal challenges) and away from “out there” and the need to compare me and my systems to whatever anyone else is doing. Hopefully we CAN run full speed together, given that Lu enjoys ‘rushing jumps’ when she has to catch up. I’m going to do some speed circles in a week or two. Could help.