Clean Run - November 2012 - 45

on his haunches, push off, leave the ground from the right spot, and maintain form. I now think about grids like I think about the apps on my phone. Got a jumping problem? There’s a grid for that. And Karma does have jumping issues we were working on before his surgery. For instance, he would prefer to leave long and flat for just about any jump, a preference that has sent the bars in a few triples flying. There’s a grid for that. Set-point exercises and straight-line grids not only show him the proper place to take off, but those same grids are strengthening his rear end. He also doesn’t use his right lead often, creating some wide turns in the ring. Circle and S-shaped grids work that problem, strengthening his off side and building confidence that he can leave the ground from his less favorite lead. Oh, and we’ve had some collection/deceleration issues. There’s a grid for that, too. We add some single obstacles before and/or after a grid, depending on what we’re working, and we’re on our way.

A-frame as it’s much better for his big body, but frankly I like having a choice at the bottom of a teeter or dogwalk—he’ll stay in position at the bottom or I can release him once he’s in the yellow. Regardless, retraining contacts was out of the question due to the repetition required to get textbook results. In addition to desiring a smooth running A-frame, I also wanted more independence on all three contacts: run to the end and don’t curl in at the bottom. For us, our training splits off into what we do for the A-frame and what we do for both the teeter and the dogwalk.

downside to be less than graceful. He’s now learning he has the strength to get up, and it has improved the downside as well. I put this piece of our A-frame work in the strengthening/conditioning bucket so that when I want to work his end behavior I add a jump as I described above for the dogwalk. As for the table, thankfully we never had a table issue so any table work I do—and that is very rare—I do with a low table or a mat on the ground. Since most of our trials are AKC, I just need him to stand, but we do practice a down here and there.

No Tunnel Sucking

They Come in Twos

Sometimes our collection problem pops up when he loads into the weave poles. At nearly 90 pounds, Karma can have some serious momentum coming into the weaves, which often causes him to miss the third pole. Plus, I always felt like I had to babysit the entry more than I wanted to. And, forget sending him to weaves from any distance. Interestingly, full weave poles were the last thing Karma was allowed to do because of the way the spine moves as it’s going through the poles. But we could do 2x2s. These days we practice 2x2s to work on our entrances from all sorts of angles, to work lateral motion and sends, to work independence. Because I know he can have trouble with the third pole, sometimes we do four poles. In our case, if he loads correctly, then his footwork is correct and he will stay in until the end.

To Run or Not to Run

For the teeter and dogwalk we went back to the travel plank and worked both end position, which was already strong, and driving to the end with independence. Then we went back to mats on the ground (some people use carpet runners but I like yoga mats because you can fold them to make them thinner) where we can work lateral motion, sends, drive, loading straight, and overall independence. We can even add a jump or other obstacle to the exercise to provide flow and speed. In terms of adding a jump, when we do full dogwalks I often set up a jump about six feet out from the bottom of the contact to work on the running contact I want in the ring. This provides clear instruction to him that he must come all the way down in order to set for the jump. The key is, none of these obstacles need to be done at full height, and none are done more than a couple times a month. The A-frame presents a slightly different opportunity. As Karma’s rear end and core still need strengthening, I start him in a sit at the bottom and ask him to walk up and down the obstacle. This is not his preference. In a trial he would much rather launch himself about halfway up the A-frame, causing the

Lucky for me, Karma is not a tunnel sucker, but I know now it’s because a curved tunnel is physically challenging for him. So we began with straight tunnels and have worked up to curves. I have learned that, at least for the structure of my dog, curved tunnels at speed really require quite a bit of core and overall body conditioning as I was reminded in that December seminar mentioned earlier. We work discriminations using low jumps and grids, but the core strengthening we do at home is really paying off. So again, I break down the tunnel into two aspects: the strength or conditioning required and the skills and knowledge to get it right in the ring at speed (i.e., discriminations, a tunnel after a triple, etc.). Therefore, I work the two pieces separately to create the results I will need in a trial.

Putting It Together

When we left off our agility training before surgery, Karma was transitioning to quickrelease contacts, having been originally taught a two-on/two-off position for all contacts. If I had it to do over again, I would have taught him a running contact for the

All of this requires me to plan out my training sessions and not just show up for a session and do whatever is set up in the ring. With each obstacle or exercise I’ve described, we do combine things into sequences, but not as often as we used to, and the sequences are much more targeted to what we are working. Yes, we do some full courses before a trial, mostly to hone our timing as a team. I admit that’s the one thing that’s hard to duplicate when you break down agility into pieces as we’re doing. I now comfortably make adjustments to courses or sequences when I realize we don’t need to practice another A-frame or do any weaves based on other factors. And, I will happily trade some rusty timing for the way Karma has come back! D

Julie Bacon and Karma live in Northern Virginia and train at A Click Above in Leesburg. In 2011 they welcomed a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, Indie, to the family and it turns out this plan is perfect for puppies, too. November 12 | Clean Run 45



Clean Run - November 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - November 2012

Clean Run - November 2012
Contents
Editorializing: Sportsmanship Is Not Just About Being Nice
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility...
Backyard Dogs
The Four Agreements
Power Paws Drills: Working Opposites
Training with the Stars: Jeannette Hutchison
What’s in Your Toolbox?
Being a Good Student, Part 1
Analyze This!
Tips for Weave Pole Entries
Not a Practice Dog Anymore
The 2-Minute Warm-up
The Worrier: Solutions for the Dog That Is Worried or Afraid
What Is a Ketschker Turn?
Agility Mind Gym: Persistence and Determination
Building Blocks: Building a Better Lead-out
Clean Run - November 2012 - Clean Run - November 2012
Clean Run - November 2012 - 2
Clean Run - November 2012 - Contents
Clean Run - November 2012 - 4
Clean Run - November 2012 - Editorializing: Sportsmanship Is Not Just About Being Nice
Clean Run - November 2012 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run - November 2012 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility...
Clean Run - November 2012 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run - November 2012 - 9
Clean Run - November 2012 - 10
Clean Run - November 2012 - 11
Clean Run - November 2012 - The Four Agreements
Clean Run - November 2012 - 13
Clean Run - November 2012 - 14
Clean Run - November 2012 - 15
Clean Run - November 2012 - Power Paws Drills: Working Opposites
Clean Run - November 2012 - 17
Clean Run - November 2012 - 18
Clean Run - November 2012 - Training with the Stars: Jeannette Hutchison
Clean Run - November 2012 - 20
Clean Run - November 2012 - 21
Clean Run - November 2012 - 22
Clean Run - November 2012 - 23
Clean Run - November 2012 - What’s in Your Toolbox?
Clean Run - November 2012 - 25
Clean Run - November 2012 - 26
Clean Run - November 2012 - 27
Clean Run - November 2012 - 28
Clean Run - November 2012 - 29
Clean Run - November 2012 - Being a Good Student, Part 1
Clean Run - November 2012 - 31
Clean Run - November 2012 - Analyze This!
Clean Run - November 2012 - 33
Clean Run - November 2012 - 34
Clean Run - November 2012 - 35
Clean Run - November 2012 - 36
Clean Run - November 2012 - 37
Clean Run - November 2012 - Tips for Weave Pole Entries
Clean Run - November 2012 - 39
Clean Run - November 2012 - 40
Clean Run - November 2012 - 41
Clean Run - November 2012 - 42
Clean Run - November 2012 - 43
Clean Run - November 2012 - Not a Practice Dog Anymore
Clean Run - November 2012 - 45
Clean Run - November 2012 - The 2-Minute Warm-up
Clean Run - November 2012 - 47
Clean Run - November 2012 - 48
Clean Run - November 2012 - 49
Clean Run - November 2012 - The Worrier: Solutions for the Dog That Is Worried or Afraid
Clean Run - November 2012 - 51
Clean Run - November 2012 - 52
Clean Run - November 2012 - 53
Clean Run - November 2012 - 54
Clean Run - November 2012 - What Is a Ketschker Turn?
Clean Run - November 2012 - 56
Clean Run - November 2012 - 57
Clean Run - November 2012 - 58
Clean Run - November 2012 - 59
Clean Run - November 2012 - Agility Mind Gym: Persistence and Determination
Clean Run - November 2012 - 61
Clean Run - November 2012 - Building Blocks: Building a Better Lead-out
Clean Run - November 2012 - 63
Clean Run - November 2012 - 64
Clean Run - November 2012 - 65
Clean Run - November 2012 - 66
Clean Run - November 2012 - 67
Clean Run - November 2012 - 68
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