Pounce's 1st day - Single T "speed"
Early on, Pounce’s drive “back” was so intense that stopping on a dime with a square sit was not possible because of 1) a lot of speed and momentum away, 2) she knew where she was going, 3) it interrupted her fun and 4) I was not a significant player in the game. In the past, the “fix” would have been to correct those behaviors and tendencies.
The issue soon became how to change those expectations into something more productive or better yet how to not even go there with Hillmann's program.
update: I missed the step. (live and learn).
The assumption was more responsiveness was required…..but how? Responsiveness is quickly attained when paying attention is rewarding. After much second guessing about this, the idea of making sure that handling was a teamwork process began. Skills often need to be taught in segments and entrenched with many “reps”. The word “many” is much more than just four letters. note: We were at "The Bridge Too Far" for going back to a long rope and that was
quickly proven to be not very productive....way too late.
The adjustment at the time was to use Hillmann's handing drills and the "speed barrier" (which is visible behind the line in the video) to more or less engage her in learning how to slow down.
update: In reality this issue should have been dealt with earlier. The huge hint was this is/was one very fast pup. Slowing down allows co-ordination and muscle memory to develop gradually. Working at closer distances (short) would have reduced speed and increased handler input (control). Human athletes develop footwork gradually (beginning in almost slow motion activity) and increase those motions until it can be done at full speed. I totally missed Hillmann's approach of teaching the remote sit close.....first.
Hillmann’s “Star Drill” (see link below) is all about handling. More room in a big field made adjustments easier to create. Pounce soon learned that listening and following directions was fun. The “Star Drill” was an effective game to enhance responsiveness and focus while dealing with stopping and changing directions. Rewards were more easily seen and earned plus it was fun. The bigger “playground” made a huge difference. This led to both of us working together and the concept of teamwork was established. Single T was just too tight and frenetic for a very fast, driven pup without adequate responsiveness and the required coordination.
With repetition, Pounce began to sit more squarely (with no pressure) because stopping, squaring and taking different casts during many “reps” became part of a larger game. A square sit was beginning to physically have her ask “OK, What’s next?” Her physical skills improved.
note: A loopy stop on a crooked sit is body language indicating a lack of responsiveness and skill training. Poor habits can easily develop with a fast dog and subsequently become difficult to eliminate.
note: Slow dogs make it look easier than it really is…..which brings up another issue…..Why is a dog slow?
note: first draft - March 24. 2016
Update: Obviously (or not) a training step was missed in following Hillmann's program. The first time through it was a challenge (not a good excuse....just a fact). Later, the solution to Pounce's "sit at high speed" issue became more obvious after watching Hillmann's explanation in the following YouTube link. "Practice (a lot) up close!"
The next phase was creating a "combo" drill out of the Star & Come-In drills. This is presented in the February 4th entry of the following journal link.
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(an extremely useful resource)
Bill Hillmann YouTube Video
The next step in the progression was to use a drill called the “Come in Drill” (Voigt). This promoted a square sit because the drill emphasizes being on a sit directly facing the handler. The dog is lined, stopped and asked to “come in” toward the handler to await the next cast (in another direction)….ON A SQUARE SIT. This effectively changes direction without impacting momentum because of the extra step which is rewarding. The dog’s body language reads “OK, I am all eyes and ready for what’s next!” instead of…”Let me roll because I can do this without you!”
There is a "Come-In Drill" diagram/photo in the August 13th entry of the following link.
April 24, 2015 (page Modified November 2017