Friday, April 24, 2009

Where's the "ON" Button?!

So what do you do with a Border Collie that just won’t go?! She has energy to burn, in the safety of her own backyard however, somehow couldn’t even get her bum off the start line in one of her jumping runs last weekend ...
(Above Photo - Credit Robyn Evans @ Winpara Border Collies)

I’ve been putting it down to confidence that she pulls these little stunts …she stops suddenly in the middle of a run and starts gazing at the sky or sniffing the ground - basically she just freezes, them moves v e r y s l o w l y a n d c a r e f u l l y. It has happened occasionally in training (away from home), but only in agility, not jumping. Her contact training has been a tad shady (I’ve made a few mistakes in making the criterion clear enough so there is some doubt there) therefore I understand her hesitancy when confronted with contacts (in hindsight, I probably put her in the Agility ring too soon). What I don’t understand is her showing lack of confidence in the jumping ring – something she LOVES in training.
If you saw her tearing around the jumping course at training a few weeks ago you would have thought it was a different dog. She was focused, fast and happy to be there. The next night at the trial, on the very same grounds, in the same spot, was our excellent jumping ring and she once again, lost concentration and started looking for aliens half way round the course!
(Above Photo - Credit Paul Burton)

Seriously, motivating Summer is quite a mystery to me … I’m not sure what it is that upsets her at trials and until I work it out I guess I’m not going to get much improvement out of her performances. Sometimes she will fly round the ring and occasionally when she finds her turbo-boosters it’s in the wrong direction, I have to carefully redirect her, without telling her off, and keep her motivation up. She is always faster running towards the finish line … so how do I get that to begin at the start line?

Hmmm, just another challenge I guess … keep training Helen!

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