Clean Run - November 2017 - 46

My Journey with

Multiple Related Dogs
with Early Takeoffs
By Jean Lavalley, photos by Springfield Photography except where noted

Seven
My first experience with early takeoffs
(ETOs) was with Seven, a Sheltie born
in 2002. She was a dream to train and
run in agility. She was so quick, so smart,
and had so much potential. Early in her
training she was looking to be a phenomenal agility dog. She had some bars,
and even some crashes, but I chalked it
up to inexperience and the fact that she
prioritized speed over accuracy. As time
wore on, I decided I had done something wrong in her initial training. Seven
was taking off earlier and earlier for
jumps. Despite the fact that she seemed
upset by hitting the bars, she was unable to figure out how to adjust so it
didn't happen again. The spread jumps
and tire caused her the most difficulty
in the beginning, but later it progressed
to other jumps too. She had more difficulty with straight approaches to jumps
than angled approaches where the
position of the jump gives it depth and,
unfortunately for us, judges try very
hard to give good, straight approaches
for spread jumps.
Seven's problem appeared to be visual,
so I had her eyes tested by two different ophthalmologists-they even did
retinoscopy to test for near/farsighted46

ness. Using the tests available, her eyes
were found to be "normal." So I decided to focus on jump training and started taking her to Linda Mecklenburg for
lessons every six to eight weeks. During
this time Linda had me stop trialing
her. The plan was to start jump training
over again from the ground up. We did
everything we could think of to teach
her to jump successfully and take off
appropriately, and then tried to progress slowly back to the real world of
agility. Without going into detail about
everything we tried, I was unable to
help her figure out her takeoff points
consistently, even with Linda's input.
Seven continued to jump early when
there was a perpendicular approach
to the jump.

She also crashed the table on many
occasions because she took off from
too far away. She got on the contacts
very low due to jumping early when
approaching them. She even had trouble
jumping into my arms, which I had
trained her to do at a young age. She
would launch from too far away from
me and land at about knee level by the
time she got to my body. Ultimately I
moved her to AKC Preferred where
she could jump a lower height so that
she could run and have fun with less
chance of hurting herself. Even at the
8-inch jump height she still knocked
some bars due to ETOs, but she didn't
tend to have "crashes," and she was
sometimes able to compensate by
overjumping.

Linda had already started to suspect
that it was not a training problem, but
she gave me several things to work on
to see if we could help Seven be more
successful. I don't think Linda wanted to
dash my hopes that I could help Seven,
so she kept trying to guide me based
on what she was seeing at our lessons.

Spec (Seven's Niece)

As time went on, I noticed that Seven
had trouble in other areas. She often
misjudged steps and would trip or
crash going in and out of the house.

My second dog with ETOs was Spec,
a puppy I kept from a breeding I did in
2006 (see sidebar). I noticed at about 18
months that she wasn't completely confident about her jumps. I mentioned it to
friends and they assured me I was worrying about nothing, but I was panicked
inside. I hadn't yet recovered from the
"loss" of Seven's potential, and I did not
want to live through it again. Also, I loved
the temperaments of Spec's litter, and
Clean Run | November 17



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - November 2017

Contents
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover1
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover2
Clean Run - November 2017 - Contents
Clean Run - November 2017 - 4
Clean Run - November 2017 - 5
Clean Run - November 2017 - 6
Clean Run - November 2017 - 7
Clean Run - November 2017 - 8
Clean Run - November 2017 - 9
Clean Run - November 2017 - 10
Clean Run - November 2017 - 11
Clean Run - November 2017 - 12
Clean Run - November 2017 - 13
Clean Run - November 2017 - 14
Clean Run - November 2017 - 15
Clean Run - November 2017 - 16
Clean Run - November 2017 - 17
Clean Run - November 2017 - 18
Clean Run - November 2017 - 19
Clean Run - November 2017 - 20
Clean Run - November 2017 - 21
Clean Run - November 2017 - 22
Clean Run - November 2017 - 23
Clean Run - November 2017 - 24
Clean Run - November 2017 - 25
Clean Run - November 2017 - 26
Clean Run - November 2017 - 27
Clean Run - November 2017 - 28
Clean Run - November 2017 - 29
Clean Run - November 2017 - 30
Clean Run - November 2017 - 31
Clean Run - November 2017 - 32
Clean Run - November 2017 - 33
Clean Run - November 2017 - 34
Clean Run - November 2017 - 35
Clean Run - November 2017 - 36
Clean Run - November 2017 - 37
Clean Run - November 2017 - 38
Clean Run - November 2017 - 39
Clean Run - November 2017 - 40
Clean Run - November 2017 - 41
Clean Run - November 2017 - 42
Clean Run - November 2017 - 43
Clean Run - November 2017 - 44
Clean Run - November 2017 - 45
Clean Run - November 2017 - 46
Clean Run - November 2017 - 47
Clean Run - November 2017 - 48
Clean Run - November 2017 - 49
Clean Run - November 2017 - 50
Clean Run - November 2017 - 51
Clean Run - November 2017 - 52
Clean Run - November 2017 - 53
Clean Run - November 2017 - 54
Clean Run - November 2017 - 55
Clean Run - November 2017 - 56
Clean Run - November 2017 - 57
Clean Run - November 2017 - 58
Clean Run - November 2017 - 59
Clean Run - November 2017 - 60
Clean Run - November 2017 - 61
Clean Run - November 2017 - 62
Clean Run - November 2017 - 63
Clean Run - November 2017 - 64
Clean Run - November 2017 - 65
Clean Run - November 2017 - 66
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover3
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover4
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