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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Starting Jumping

At the time I was starting to teach Secret to jump the 'in' way to do so was using the Susan Salo method, similar to the way horses are started off in jumping. This involves using multiple small 'jump bumps' (aka big PVC poles cut in half) and encourages the dog to develop their striding as well as a nice even basculing jumping style. I did some of this with Secret, but didn't do the whole program as such and combined it with other methods. I started doing these 'jump bumps' when she was fairly young, and when she got to around 10-12 months I started her on a single bar, rewarding her for jumping over it and teaching her she could jump from any angle. I wanted to get the bars up to 500 fairly quickly as I didn't want to develop too much muscle memory for jumping lower heights, so as soon as she was confident on the lower heights I increased it up, only doing one jump at a time though.
Once she was doing that happily I added another jump and started to teach her all the turns that she already knew on the flat (front cross, back cross, post turn), on the jump. She coped well and proved that she could turn tightly, however I was getting slightly concerned at her lack of driving on the jumps. She could do it alright, however was tending to 'float' over the jump rather than running and driving over the jump. Obviously this is not ideal, and although she was a young dog, it was not a habit I wanted her to get into. So I stopped training the turns with her and started setting up long lines of jumps (initially at lower heights but fairly rapidly up to 500 height) and had my partner hold her at the other end doing restrained recalls over the jumps to try and encourage some more speed/drive. She improved a little but still not as much as I would have hoped, especially comparing her to Terra who I was running in the same session..

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