Video: Agility: Practicing The Skills Of Overcoming Shells By A Dog
It seems that teaching a dog to jump quickly, high and beautifully is not very difficult. However, this is not the case, as evidenced by the mistakes dogs make in the competition. Skill is serious business. A skill is an action formed by repetition, characterized by a high degree of mastery and the absence of element-wise conscious regulation and control.
Skills are different, and many types of skills are formed in agility. Motor skills are literally visible. There are also several of them: a high jump, a hoop jump (this is both a high jump and the ability to fit into a narrow hole), a long jump, the skill of overcoming a slide (this is not a jump, this is the ability to climb), the skill of overcoming a boom (this is the skill of climbing, and the skill of moving on a narrow board), the skill of overcoming a soft tunnel (you need to lift the fabric with your muzzle and maintain a straight movement so as not to get confused), the skill of overcoming a hard tunnel (the ability to move on bent legs), the skill of overcoming a swing, the skill of overcoming slalom, landing skills, laying and standing of the dog, the skill of moving next to the trainer (both on the left and on the right) and moving forward on command.
Perceptual (recognition) skills are less visibleand often their presence is not recognized by the trainer, which leads to the most sad consequences. These skills include, for example, the skill of perceiving the type of projectile and recognizing it. This is a very important skill - how quickly the dog recognizes the projectile (and this means how quickly it decides how to overcome it), the number of mistakes it makes and the time it takes to complete the track. Or the skill of perceiving and comprehending the commands given by the trainer - the dog must quickly recognize them and also quickly respond to them. Which, by the way, is a certain difficulty, so do not come up with a bunch of commands reflecting the variety of shells. One short sonorous command is enough - for example, "Up!" - meaning for the dog to overcome the nearest projectile or the apparatus indicated by the trainer. And how to overcome the projectile, that is, the choice of the skill of overcoming,the dog will be prompted by the type of shell.
Intellectual skills are the slowest to develop. You will notice their appearance in a month, or even after two or three (and maybe even later, much depends on the talent of the dog and the trainer, training and training methods) after the start of regular training. The intellectual skill is that the dog easily makes decisions that help him move correctly and quickly along the track. And most importantly, when they appear, it will seem to you that the dog has finally understood you, that it is consciously following the route.
All skills, regardless of their type, are formed slowly, since they are based not only on functional, but also on morphological changes in nerve cells. Therefore, do not demand quick success from dogs, do not rush. Your motto is "Hurry up slowly!"
And one more phrase should become your motto: "From simple to complex." This means that at the beginning of the practice you create the easiest conditions for the dog and only gradually complicate them. This phrase has another meaning: at each specific stage, you should work on only one characteristic of the skill. Usually the sequence is as follows: correctness, complications with observance of correctness, work on the speed of overcoming the projectile and the track.
Projectiles that are overcome by a high jump include single barriers, a wall or viaduct and a hoop.
Single barriers. The height of single barriers in agility is 55-65 cm (for mini-agility - 35-40 cm). The barriers have well-stable struts made of any material. They can be stationary, or better, portable. The barriers can be narrow, resembling a pole, or blind, like a shield. They are made of wood and must be easily removable, so that when they come into contact with the dog's paws, they fall without causing injury or bruising to the dog. The brush barrier (fence) is made from natural, not thick rods or from a suitable artificial material, attached to two parallel bars. Such a barrier may not be removable, but the rods should protrude 20 centimeters above the top bar.
Viaduct or wall. The height of the shells is 55-65 cm (mini-agility - 35-40 cm). The width of the projectile is 120 cm. The thickness is 20 cm. It is best to make it in the form of a box made of plywood or hardboard. The viaduct, in contrast to the wall, has 2 through holes. On the upper surface of the projectile there are removable "bricks" of a semicircular shape.
Hoop. Hoop hole diameter - 38 cm. Distance from the center of the hoop hole to the base: 90 cm (mini agility - 55 cm). The lower inner part of the hoop must be sealed (closed) for safety reasons. The system of chains or cables must provide adjustment of the height of the hoop installation. The use of rigid fastening systems is not allowed. The projectile must be so stable that under no circumstances should it be overturned by a dog jumping through it. The hoop is made from a car or motorcycle tire of the appropriate diameter. The hoop holder can be made of any material: wood, metal corner, profile or pipes.