Wednesday, December 17, 2008


With Reagan, I taught her to jump using Linda Mecklenburg's method and I am very pleased with the results. Linda is well known in the agility community and has competed worldwide representing the USA. In the past, I never gave much thought to jumping as a skill. Somehow my greyhounds learned to jump and did just fine. However, I am always seeking new ways to complicate matters. :-)

The February weekend I picked out Reagan, I also attended a Linda Mecklenburg jumping seminar. The main point I brought home was that it is important for a good agility dog to learn to jump collected. Most dogs can easily clear jumps when running with large strides, but it is especially handy if your dog can also collect his stride and use his rear end. Collection allows for tighter turns (a time saver). Jumping with an extended stride is nothing more than an extra large, extended stride. However, jumping collected requires maximum effort because the take off and landing spots are closer to the jump.

One of the exercises is simply jumping the dog full height from just a walk or a stand. It forces the dog to jump round and to jump straight up and down. I'm not demonstrating this very well in the clip below, but it gives you some idea.

While the method worked really well for Reagan (a big sloppy jumper), it is not working as well with Riley. Linda likes for dogs to be jumping full height as soon as possible. Riley is telling me that she needs to learn to jump, change direction, turn, and so on at a reduced height and then learn it all again with jumps a few inches higher..... and so on until she finally reaches 24" jumps.

Riley is somewhat short strided so I think I need to take the opposite approach and teach her how to extend her stride and to jump big.

The two of them keeping me guessing and learning.