because who doesn’t love an action plan!?
After a fairly shitty dogwalk session at training yesterday I’ve thought about it and talked it through with Penny and I think I’ve come up with a good plan to help Lu with her turns. I can see she’s starting to worry more and more about what she’s meant to do and as a result her striding’s gone out the window, she’s doing all sorts of weird things on the down-ramp even when it’s a straight exit, and it all really sucks. I know, I know, it takes her a few sessions to ‘get it’, but I need to help her along here. I think too much has changed, and I need to wind it back a little.
Step 1: Straight tunnel exit with little white PVC poles either side of the plank to build up confidence in running again. Throw ball after tunnel.
Step 2: Straight tunnel exit, but move the tunnel to the side a little. Progressively move the tunnel to either side to work the exits. Throw ball after tunnel.
Step 3: Make PCV poles into little sticks. Continue with straight tunnel at different angles on the exit. Throw ball after tunnel.
Step 4: Fade little sticks. Continue with straight tunnel at different angles on the exit. Throw ball after tunnel.
Step 5: Exit to a jump with no other discriminations. Put sticks back in if necessary. Change exit angle with each successful try.
Step 6: Introduce more obvious discriminations.
Meanwhile, I remember from Silvia’s Running Contacts DVD that when she switched to a static toy, Le went through a period of shortening her stride, but she worked through it until she was focusing forward on the next obstacle and she could go back to using a thrown toy then. So, a) it’s ok if Lu shortens her stride a bit while she works this new puzzle out, and b) maybe she needs more forward focus on the next obstacle, too. Often if I say “YAY!” because she hit the contact, she’ll turn back to me rather than driving forward for the tunnel. Possibly I need to consider whether I can get her to run forward for her food pouch after a jump during these sessions as well, to really get her seeking out that obstacle rather than worrying about what I’m doing.
But it should be all ok. As Penny so wisely said to me yesterday after I’d been in tears about the stupid dogwalk: “There was a time when Lu couldn’t even wrap around the 2nd pole of the weaves (when the channel was open to 20cm) and yet now she can nail awesome entries”. So…. we can work things out, we can solve problems, even when things seem so difficult and impossible, and like everything we’ve been training for has gone out the window.
It’s just hard to remember than when I’m busy stressing about those problems.