On Last Week’s Episode…
Thank you to everyone who emailed this past week, mostly to share how much they loved the Netflix series Wednesday. One of the standout scenes from the series is Wednesday Addams’ dance, which has gone absolutely viral with over 43 million views on YouTube in just 2 months. Our 12 year-old daughter Hannah recently competed at the Olympic Development Program Super Regional event, where USA Water Polo created their own version of the dance, performed by the players.
Should You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?
Imagine that you’re in an agility class taught by Jennifer Crank. You’re there with your 8 year old veteran dog who has earned a championship title and competed in several national events. It’s course night, so Jennifer has laid out a tough standard course for everyone to run. Your turn comes and you and your dog give it a try, but the dog doesn’t get the tricky part of the course right. Jennifer wants to help you work through the sequence by teaching a specific skill with some food or a toy. You know you’ll never use this skill in a trial setting and you rarely encounter courses that would require the skill. Should you make the effort to teach your dog the skill, or should you run it with alternate handling that you know will also work?
Jump Cup Safety
This week, we got an email asking about jump cups. On rare occasions, a dog may collide with the wing of a jump, and a common injury is a laceration to the face. The safest jumps to use have a single adjustable cup so there are no unoccupied cups that can make contact with the dog. I’d also advise trainers and facilities/clubs/instructors to avoid metal uprights on jumps to reduce the risk of this happening.
There’s been some discussion around how exactly the dog hits the jump cup and handlers think it happens more frequently with slice approaches, which intuitively makes sense. I’ve heard trainers speculate that using a 5 foot bar (that the dog jumps over) would reduce the risk compared with using a 4 foot bar. If you’ve experienced your dog being cut by a jump cup, please let me know so I can get a sense for how often this occurs in agility. If you can recall, I’d also like to know how the dog approached the jump, and some details of what happened.
I’m a big dog person, and I’ve always wanted to run a Belgian malinois on course. Somebody please get me one.
Email me at email@example.com with your comments and questions, and let me know what you think about old dogs and new tricks!