Mastering Jumping Skills: Foundation Flatwork
FOUNDATION TRAINING ON THE FLAT
IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERY SUCCESSFUL JUMPING PROGRAM
The skills you will learn in these modules are essential building blocks that help your dog learn the mechanical skills he needs for jumping. Once your dog learns the skills on the flat, you can use them first to teach—and later to practice and improve—your dog's jumping skills. Although some of the skills you learn here may also be used as a foundation for handling, that is not the intention of the training included in these self study modules. The drills in these modules are designed to teach jumping skills.
Heel Position and Recalls
Heel position refers to a generic location at your side (either the left or right side). The recall on the flat is the most important foundation skill you will use to teach jumping. Recalls on the flat help your dog learn the mechanical skills he needs for jumping: adjusting his stride, shifting his weight, extending and collecting, and/or bending his spine.
Basic Turns On The Flat
Teach your dog the four basic turns on the ﬂat to establish how your cues relate to each turn. You will use these turns to create lead changes, bending, shaping, convergence, and many other skills related to jumping. Initially you will perform the turns at a standstill and then later, with motion added.
Circling A Cone
Circling is a foundation drill you will use primarily to build your dog’s bending skills. We will use a cone (or post) to start with, rather than a wing, because we can reach above it and around it easily.
At first we want the dog simply to circle the cone. You will learn to shape this behavior in this short but essential module.
Recalls and Basic Turns – Level II
You will need to complete modules 1 and 2 above before tackling this module, which builds on the difficulty level for recalls, and adds motion to the basic turns. We'll also be combining the basic turns on the flat for some beginning handling on the flat.
Beginning with Sends
A send around a cone or post will be a part of your dog’s foundation flatwork training for jumping. Before teaching your dog to send around a cone on cue, your dog should be confidently offering to circle a cone as a separate skill . He should also be successfully performing sends to tunnels from a distance.
Combining Sends, Basic Turns, and Recalls
When your dog can perform recalls and turns on the flat, and send around a cone on cue, begin to combine the skills. Although wings and tunnels are obstacles, the skills performed do not involve actual jumping, therefore are still considered to be on the flat.
The focus of the flatwork skills remains on mechanical skills needed for future jump training, but some simple handling variations may be included where appropriate. Combining the skills is the foundation for future sequencing.
Sends with two wings, and sends with more distance
In previous exercises, you worked on sending our dogs around cones, and then wings. As your dog’s understanding of sends cued with deceleration improves, another obstacle preceding the send is added to create more extension on the approach, such as another wing or a tunnel.
In this module the focus is on fluid turns around the wing with motion into and out of it, reward with either chase for food/treat or a thrown toy.
In this module, the turns and recalls performed around wings will continue to be used for building both mechanical and handling skills.
With turns, your dog will practice one or more of the mechanical skills he needs for jumping such as adjusting his stride, weight shift to rear, collection, bending, convergence, lead changes and many other skills related to jumping. Combining turns with a tunnel will increase extension into the turn and give your dog practice changing leads.
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