Athena had a set back today. Her obedience work has been going quite well. The jumps, though, have been a bit of a challenge, and that’s one of the new exercises for the beginner’s class.
The last time we trained, which was several days ago, I raised the bar on the high jump by about a quarter inch. Athena refused to take the jump. I gave her a break and took her to the long jump. She jumped, but knocked the bar. I thought perhaps I didn’t line her up properly with the jump. I took her back to the high jump and again she refused. I quit for the day.
Today Athena took the high jump with no problem at the new height. I took her over to the long jump. I lined her up with the jump, and I could feel her eyes boring into my face as I removed her leash. Good, I thought, she’s focused and will jump. I gave her the cue to jump, and the little rascal took off like a bullet, completely bypassed the jump, and ran like hell into the house.
I counted to 10 then walked into the house to retrieve my dog while continuing to count. I must have gotten to a hundred by the time I grabbed her collar as calmly as I could and resisted the temptation to do give her the “come-to-Jesus” talk.
We were outside once more, and again, I set her up in front of the jump, took off her leash, and sent her over the jump. This time she jumped, but her back legs got caught on the cross bar at the top of the jump, and she fell to the ground. It was pitiful and scary to see such a big animal, who is usually so nimble, fall.
Athena picked herself up and trotted over to me. I was concerned and checked her over. She seemed okay, and I debated whether I should shortened the jump’s length and asked her to take the jump once more. I decided to err on the side of caution and pack it up for the day.
Tomorrow we’ll attempt this once more. This time I’ll ensure Athena’s success with the jump by shortening its length. Once she gets the shorter length, then we’ll move ahead once more. This is an exercise in patience, and the show is fast approaching.