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Old 02-05-2013, 09:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default More time? Or time to give up?

So Odin and I have been working very hard on jumping at 26" since November. It just doesn't seem to be getting any better, he often times knocks 50% of the bars on a course in class. Out of the two trials I have done at 26" he has only had 3/16 runs where he didn't knock multiple bars. I'm really starting to think he's just not physically capable of jumping 26" on these tight courses. It's really not the tight turns he's having trouble with its the jumps on straightaways that are only 15 feet apart. He just can't get a compressed stride in that space, he's REALLY trying and ends up doing things to his body that make me cringe.

Last night in class our trainer basically said "he jumps so much smoother and runs much nicer at 22" she has said before that he doesn't struggle with the height, he's just going too fast to be able to collect enough to keep the bars up. She hasn't come right out and said i should enter him in specials but she obviously thinks we would be more successful there. I don't want him to slow down, I love how fast he is! And I am getting concerned about the repetitive strain issue that working on jumping causes (we are basically going to the barn twice a week and working on nothing but jumping and then once a week have classes with full courses.)

Obviously the decision to enter him in "specials" is a personal one and I have to consider what is best for my dog. Anyone have any ideas though? Should I just give it more time?

(Seriously starting to see why Wildo wouldn't get a male GSD! Maybe they are just not physically capable of competing in this venue of agility)


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Old 02-05-2013, 09:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What ideas are you looking for? Ideas for correcting jumping, or thoughts on moving to a lower jump height?

Some thoughts/questions:
  • How old is Odin? If he's still young, perhaps under 5, then I'd be tempted to keep at it.
  • What are you doing when "working on jumping"? Have you used or considered using Susan Salo's jump grid DVDs? Have you ever used the set point spider before?
  • It sounds to me from your description that he can't get a stride in between two 15' jumps- but is trying anyway. Hmmm... that really is a LONG distance for a bounce jump, especially having to clear 26". Is he really going that fast that he doesn't have room for the stride, or is he just not confident in setting himself up for the jump?
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Opps- I didn't give you thoughts on moving down really. All I can say is that when I started agility, I realized Pimg was a bigger dog. And while she's only 69 pounds, she's as big, or bigger than a lot of WL males. Even though I knew the state of her hips and elbows (OFA Good) I still realized that impact of all that jumping. And given her age (5.5 years old when we started agility) I decided to jump her in performance. Sometimes I regret it. We pretty much compete against ourselves. Every now and then there's another in the class, but generally I have to compare our times against other dogs in the level. So from a purely competitive standpoint (that is- WANTING to compete) I would have liked to be in the larger jumping group. But from what I know is right and healthy for the longevity of my dog, and given her age when we started, I knew it was right to put her in a lower class.

I think you're right: It's completely personal. You'll just have to know your dog, know what you enjoy, and make a decision. I'll say- I'd be thoroughly perplexed, confused, and just not sure what to do next if my team's Q rate was 18.75% I can imagine why you'd be posting exactly what you're posting...

My best advice is to teach jump foundations- real jumping- before giving up. That's assuming that you're not currently doing that.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default More time? Or time to give up?

Odin will be 4 in April. We have worked through all the foundation jumping (Susan salo) and he jumps very nicely! He is having trouble with some of the jump grids in the advanced DVD. The straight grid at 26" if the jumps are closer than 18 feet he can't make it. He tries to either bounce it (he's actually more successful with a bounce jump but can't do more than one) or his "stride" in between is like a 3 footed stutter stride. To me he really doesn't look like he has any confidence problems and seems to judge distance very well. I'm just starting to think he can't physically do it when the jumps are that close. He is quite long, you don't see that in the pictures of him but he really is on the long side. He has a HUGE stride! When we do the distance grid he can do a 25 foot distance with just one stride. He does compressed jumps nicely too on the durance grid BUT with just the one jump (3 low stride regulators) if we are under 18 feet he bounces it and does it nicely and comfortably.

I'm just frustrated and SO sick of working on boring jump grids! Especially when I'm not seeing improvement. If I encourage him to be slow, he will keep up most bars. But the whole point of this game is speed, plus we suffer in other areas (like off courses, handler focus etc) I try to not "race" him. I do need to be ahead sometimes though and when I do, all the bars come down. These are kind of two separate issues 1. Not able to get a compressed stride on straight away jumps 2. Knocking bars because he's trying to go too fast.


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Old 02-05-2013, 10:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristiM View Post
plus we suffer in other areas (like off courses, handler focus etc) I try to not "race" him. I do need to be ahead sometimes though and when I do, all the bars come down. These are kind of two separate issues 1. Not able to get a compressed stride on straight away jumps 2. Knocking bars because he's trying to go too fast.
Well, you've certainly done way more Salo grids than me... LOL! But I think you may have hit on your real issue above. You say the issues are:
  1. Not able to get a compressed stride on straight away jumps
  2. Knocking bars because he's trying to go too fast
But you also mention DISTRACTION issues! Off courses, handler focus- most certianly these things can cause knocked bars yes? Do you think that his mind might just be going a mile a minute on those compressed jumps, causing him to knock them? I assume you've done the grids he's having issues on while YOU stand back and just send him, yes? And he still knocks them even then?

Man- that's a tough one! If you can rule out distraction and focus issues from being the cause of the knocked bars, and you've clearly done lots of jump foundations-- maybe it is time to lower the bars. No shame in that. I can tell you I'd much rather be happy and having fun than constantly frustrated.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default More time? Or time to give up?

Yes I have done lots of just sending him over the jumps and he still has the exact same issues. The distraction issues come when I run slow. So last night in class I though "okay, let's try to slow him down by me running slow." He just went into "NADAC" mode and started to run his own course leaving me behind. The times I have tried slowing down in trails he's kind like "uh, what are you doing? Why aren't you running with me?" That's what I mean by handler focus and off courses.

My competitive side is like "NO, he can do this we just need more work!" My I love my dog and just wanna have fun side is saying "we would probably both be happier and more successful in specials." Just trying to sort out which side I should listen to


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Old 02-05-2013, 10:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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what are you competing in? Sounds like USDAA? altho I see your in Canada so venues may be different.

I am a competitive person as well, when I enter an agility ring, I go in there to qualify, there I said it (shoot me.

I have learned over the years, one needs to look at the dog and what it's truly capable of, not what "I want" but what works for the dog.

When doing Nadac with Jynx, she is just 22", tho we q'd on the higher heights, the speed wasn't there, she was just making time or nq'ing because of one or two knocked bars, lowering her to 20" made all the difference. She was MUCH happier, and well, so was I.

My gsd, was never a bar knocker, she was around 72#, long striding , long legged. 26" was a breeze for her, as she got older and after knee surgery, she would knock a bar here and there, I dropped her back . I could see the effort she was putting into it for "me", but it wasn't good for "her".

There are times when we have to forget about our 'competiveness', (and it has killed me on more than one occasion to do so!), and do what works for our dog..

Good luck with your decision
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default More time? Or time to give up?

Also in AAC there are probably just as many dogs that compete in specials as there are in regular, so its really not like I wouldn't have other teams to compete against. Especially at 22", but all the really good dogs tend to compete in regular. And Odin IS a really good dog! (He's just big lol, he can't help it!)


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Old 02-05-2013, 10:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default More time? Or time to give up?

Jacoda I am competing in AAC it's very similar to USDAA, although USDAA to me does look a little more spread out and flowy. I don't know what the distances between the jumps are in USDAA? That's the one thing I am really hating about AAC, the straightaways that are just stupid tight!

Your right, I need to put my competitiveness aside and think first about what's best for my DOG. That is so much easier said than done, but I've done it before (walked away from IPO because it was what was best for my dogs) I guess I have to suck up my pride and do it again. (Not walk away, just alter it lol.) We have a trial in 2 weeks, I'm thinking really hard about emailing the trial secretary to see if they can drop us down to specials.


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Old 02-05-2013, 11:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I would try it once and see how it goes. If the dog does MUCH better then you have your answer.
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