Well another challenging and informative Rally Training Session tonight. It was warm but overcast with a good breeze. I asked for a Jump to practice with Cinders. At Banbury Rally Trial i watch the Agility club do a training session first thing in the morning and saw a neat trick to get reluctant jumpers to jump. I thought i would try it out with Cinders who has viewed jumping as a foreign activity.
The tip is to sit the dog one side of the jump, then walk to the other side of the jump, by stepping over the jump first and having some nice treats for when they get to you. Give the command over as they jump and hopefully it will work. I tried this with cinders and she jumped over the jump on the lowest setting. Kirsten also did the same with Eddie (newfie) and she also did it. We just a little encouragement and rewards Cinders was actually doing STOP, LEAVE DOG, TURN AND SEND OVER JUMP as long as I walked over the jump first.
Next we had the course Rebecca had set up for us which she made us walk without the dogs and then do in turn. There were a lot of left turns and sits, but worse she had the heel backwards three steps and the call forward sit and back three steps. To add to this we had the three horses were frisky in the wind and were causing a good distraction. Cinders didn't do very well on these two exercises, though was ok on the others.
Finally Rebecca made us all leave our dogs again and walk the course individually with our imaginary dogs, giving the commands we would do if we had the dog. She wanted us to think about the commands, the positioning of our hands, and to ensure we were consistent all the way through. This really does focus the mind and will ensure that we improve as we go forward.
I got told that my commands with my imaginary dog were very boring. I did say that i did talk to Cinders with happy talk in between the stations and she said that was good, otherwise she would fall asleep. Anyway it was a very good session and all the dogs improved and i think we have some skills to improve further.