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Tucker's Training Tips

A Toy Motivated Sport
Its all about getting the Toy. An un-interruptible desire to get the toy. What I like to call “a Predatorily Instinct to GET the Toy”.  
The more the dog wants the toy the more the dog will do to get it.
The dogs state of mind should be “They want the Toy so much; they’ll do just about anything to get it.”
It’s the difference between simply wanting to jump, retrieve and swim, and doing what ever it takes get the Toy.
Energy Requirements
Diets for the Canine Athlete need to have sources of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates in appropriate proportions to meet energy needs and optimize athletic performance.
Speed then Height
Its the perfect combination of Speed and Height that produces the big jumps.
This combination will be different for each and every dog.
Work the Speed first. When confident the Speed is at its Max, then work the Height as a result of that speed.
Speed, Hit the End of the Dock, Work the Lift (in that order)
Speed: a direct result of Confidence and Drive
Hit the End: accomplished through Obedience (solid Sit / Stay), Stride Work, and Handler Technique
Lift: Hurdle Work, Chasing the  Object

The goal is to bring it all together while maintaining Confidence and Desire.
Ice the Dog (technique)
This requires the dog to sit and stay at the start point while the handler releases the dog while standing somewhere between the start point and the jump point.

Ice the Dog for a brief moment. Freeze your dog at the start point. Get the dog to focus completely at the task at hand. You'll know when the dog is completely focused when the dog doesn't move. You have now Iced the Dog.

The dog displays complete focus. Anticipation will build. A strong spring at the start will be the result. The strides will be accurate and the Drive will be at its peak.

The JUMP LINE (definition)
a: the path the dog must follow to achieve a direct route to the object
b: the path perpendicular to the measuring line of sight

Following the JUMP LINE is important
Learn to have your dog run straight to the object. Make sure you the handler are not obstructing that path.
Make sure that path is perpendicular to the measuring line of sight. The more the path is off perpendicular the more distance can be lost off the jump.
Focus (definition)
a: a point of concentration b: directed attention
Motivation (definition)
a: something (as a need or desire) that causes a dog to act

Focus and Motivation are Key
Learn to build an uninterruptible concentration level. The dog must have complete focus on the task at hand. Distractions
are common and will cause loss of desire. Have a plan and stick to it.
A strong desire or need to get the object is necessary for speed as well as height if using the 'Chase' technique.
Confidence (definition)
a: a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances
Trust (definition)
a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

It's about Confidence and Trust
Always use the "Start Short", "End Long" process. This will build a strong level of confidence and trust. Once that is accomplished, the task at hand becomes second nature. Distractions become minimal and the focus will be set at performing the jump itself.
Drive (definition)
a: to dash, plunge, or surge ahead rapidly or violently
to progress with strong momentum
an urgent, basic, or instinctual need ,an impelling culturally acquired interest or longing

Strive to Build the Drive
A strong, intense drive is the basis for a successful Dock Jumping dog. Most dogs are born with natural drive, some more than others.

Dogs with a strong, intense drive will have a much better chance to take it to the next level than those with a lesser drive. Dogs bred from field lines will generally have more drive, and will often exhibit more energy. Dogs bred from show lines might not be as fast, and will often exhibit less energy. One must continually strive to build the drive.

Big Air Training can be broken down in to 2 categories.
   1) Introduction
         Introducing something new is a gradual process. It takes a certain amount of time for a dog to learn new motions.
         Small steps progressing through to the final goal will produce results.
         Use high number repetitions.
         Improving something already learned. This is where you want to be careful not to over train.
         Use low number repetitions. End the sessions wanting more.
Dogs are incredible athletes and jumping comes naturally to most of them. They jump to clear obstacles, they jump to express themselves, and YES, they jump off docks.. They jump when they’re happy, when they’re excited, and when they’re curious. Jumping builds a dogs confidence and gives them an overall feeling of strength and energy.

Training assures the dog will be the best jumper the dog can be. Weather your goal is to entertain friends and family at a back yard barbeque at the cabin or to achieve Gold at a National Championship, proper training will assure your dog achieves that goal.

A properly trained dog will utilize the entire dock to achieve maximum speed, learn to jump from the 'end' of the dock and obtain just the right amount of lift to achieve maximum height and distance.
Camaraderie between the Dog and the Handler starts the minute you bring your puppy home and lasts their entire life.
Build a Bond:
this is the foundation that allows your dog to learn quickly. Continuously build and improve a working relationship that structures your dogs thinking and willingness to learn.
Learn to Praise:
interaction through Praise strengthens your ability to interact with your dog. If that Foundation has been built, the interaction will be an invaluable tool in the future. Confidence and more Enthusiasm will be a result.

Email questions and comments to
SportMutt, Inc.
New Prague, MN 56071