Brito is working on a variety of issues related to the directed jumping exercise.
At home we are working on:
- Full ring distance. We are almost there.
- Correctly responding to the various cues that I might give to him when he arrives at the “turn and sit” location. These may include jump left or right, turn and continue out to the stanchion, signals, or a recall back to me. Most of the time he’s pretty good at performing correctly.
- Turn and sit without a foot target. Going fine.
- Now I am adding “go out between the jumps – even if the jumps are close together and even if we have just finished doing retrieves over the high jump.”
This last one is critical, since a common training challenge is the dog that is sent to the go-out spot but heads for the left jump stanchion instead, or takes the jump in the outward bound direction and then stands there, looking confused. This behavior is often more pronounced if the handler has been working on the retrieve over the high jump, since the dog is thinking about finding the high jump in the outward bound direction.
The dog is simply confused.
Here is a simple drill to help the dog distinguish between “go out between the jumps” and “jump the jump on the way out”
I start with a platform in front of the go-out spot to give that location more ‘draw’. If you haven’t trained go-outs with a platform then you can skip that step.
- Thread the needle for the go-out. With the jumps VERY close together (approximately 4 – 6 feet) and very close to the marker in front of the go out spot, send your dog from only a few feet away. If you are close enough, most dogs will go between, because the go-out location/platform creates a draw. Reward generously. Add jumping on the way back, or any cues that you may wish to incorporate, once the dog is reliably heading to that spot.
- Add a retrieve over high jump, or simply send your dog to jump for free cookies (depends on how your dog is trained). Note that I leave the jumps exactly where they are.
- Return to the send out exercise – nice and close! Send dog between the jumps to the go-out spot. If your dog makes an error and goes over a jump – no big deal. Bring the dog back and try again. I do not give cookies for errors in this scenario, but I will move in closer if needed.
- As your dog shows understanding of the difference between these two exercises, begin standing further back for both exercises – the retrieve and the go out.
- Put the jumps back in their “normal” location – a small bit at a time. To do this, first move the jumps closer to you without making them wider so your dog will continue to thread the needle. Using this technique, eventually placing them in their normal position will be quite easy.
- Take the show on the road, starting from the beginning! Soon your dog will generalize this behavior to a variety of training locations.
Here’s a video of Brito working through some of these steps: