Mum’s per-occupation with my rear end continues and we have spent a bit of time over the holidays working on rear end strength. Mum borrowed a book from our training club’s library written by a lady called Linda Mecklenberg who is pretty good at this agility stuff. She has written a book and does some online courses and stuff specifically about jumping skills.
So what we have learnt is that us dogs tend to jump in one of two styles:
Inverted: this is what I more a lot of (at the moment). I use my front legs more to push myself up and lift myself over bars. My head is normally up higher than my shoulders (withers). It means I have less awareness of what my bum is doing and while I am ok on flats (except when I am flattening out to chase mum) it can be a real problem with me dropping bars on tight corners (or what is known as jumping in collection). Here is a little YouTube clip of another dog jumping in an inverted style.
Rounded: this is where us dogs use our rear end to lift ourselves over the bar. The head is typically lower than the withers, the spine arched over the bar and front feet are often tucked in until they clear the bar. Here is some pictures from an article about this Linda Mecklenberg training that show the way this dog is jumping versus the one in the video.
So how to train this rounded style and back end strength? We have been doing a lot of this really simple exercise with one bar and plenty of treats. A note about this is that it is physically hard work so if you do some of these than just do a few and then lots of pats and play (have that ball or toy ready).
What we do is get me to sit about one stride out from the bar. It isn’t very far so it doesn’t give me space to take off with my front legs. Mum then holds the treat low (ie on the ground) about one stride out on the other side. On release I jump the bar. If I don’t knock the bar I get a “yes”, the treat and lots of praise. If I do knock the bar I get a “oh no” but still in a nice voice and we try again.
Once I understood the concept of what mum was wanting me to do at a low height we moved to in increments to my normal jumping height. Working on a low height doesn’t really do too much as I don’t have to fully use those bum muscles. If I do drop the bar a few times mum gives me a break and play or drops the bar just a little lower so I get success before putting it up again. Remember it is hard work and it needs to be fun for me to be motivated.
There are plenty of other exercises like this we have been working on that we will write up in coming weeks but in the meantime happy training.
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