dog jump

Jump technique

Published by: Mikołaj Synowiec

Introduction

While I was scrolling dogfrisbee blogs beside “how to start dogfrisbee journey” I also saw a lot of articles about jump technique so I will talk about it as well. Yeah probably I am not too creative when it comes down to choosing topics.

Anyway when I started thinking how this post should look like I was stunned with how much information is connected with those two words… Breaking down the whole jump into tiny pieces is  a great way to understand how the jump works but it took me around 30 pages of text in my notebook and this article is suppose to be short. So I decided to skip this part and discuss it in more general way.

What do we mean by jump technique?

As always defining our subject of consideration is a key otherwise we can talk about completely different things without even realizing that.

Phrase jump technique consists of two words jump and technique. Everybody knows what jump is so let’s focus on the word technique. In order to call something technical (something can be attempt to perform a freestyle figure, catching a thrown disc etc.) it has to be executed in the way that the “chosen „movement which was performed was the most safe and effective for the athlete (in our case for a dog). So the word “technique” is the collection of possible movement patterns (we can have more than one technical execution of the same scenario) which lead the performer to a safe and effective outcome (effective mean here that you got desired outcome [like caught disc] in the way which required the least amount of strength and movement. Commonly speaking if you reach the same outcome [caught disc] when you did less that means the effectiveness was increased).

So jump technique is a collection of possible movement patterns for a certain jump (usually people think here about jumping for a thrown disc but I involve here every jump your dog make) which lead a dog to safe and effective outcome.

That definition was a bit more complicated than the one we did for tugging but it is necessary. I promise that from now on things will get easier :P.

How can we teach jump technique?

If we read the definition of jump technique this question doesn’t make much sense. Right? Would it mean “how to teach every technical execution of a given scenario”? If so we can’t because we can never regenerate the same situation. There are too many variables to be able to create it again. We can arrange similar situation but never the same.

Better question to ask is how I can make my dog choose technical execution of a given situation. As I said there is no way that we can practice all technical jumps. There is just infinite number of possibilities. However it doesn’t mean that we can’t work on dog’s choice making.

What should we do?

If there are an infinite number of situations we can’t think about training them all. We should think about something which can be applied in every situation. Those things are skills. We can teach certain skills which can be used by a dog in every scenario.

I will stick to example with chasing and catching a thrown disc to make explanation easier.

If I teach my dog changing strides by practicing an exercise with many different variables. Those repetitions and performed behaviors will create a skill in dog’s repertoire and this skill can be used in catching throws.

By smart practice we can teach a dog various skills which will help him in adapting his technique to every scenario. Skills are like guidelines for a dog. Skills help him evaluate and choose a technical movement pattern in a given situation.

Is it all?

Surely not. We are missing very important piece. We help our dog in knowing what to choose but what if there is no good answer?! What do I mean? We all have certain repertoire of movements. If I say raise you left hand you can do this. If I say stand on one leg. You can do this but if I say make a back flip. You (most likely) can’t do it. You don’t have (assuming that you don’t know how to do back flip) anything in your movement repertoire which can help you here. It like receiving a test where you don’t have a good answer there are only wrong once. You can’t ever choose correctly.

That’s why we need to practice behaviors. We have to give our dog a repertoire of technical movement patterns. How to teach them and what movement patterns are technical is a completely different story and it’s not a main topic so I will skip it. We teach our dog various technical movements to let him choose something and then adapt it (by using skills).

Again let’s break it down using an example. Imagine that you have toys. Figures of cartoon characters and you can move their arms legs etc. If I say to a kid show me your spider-man. He will show me a spider-man figure. If I say show me a spider-man with raised right hand and bend knee then the kid will change a toys appearance.

Let’s say that this kid has only a spider-man toy and I ask him about batman with crossed arms. This kid can’t show me a batman.

Now how does this example is to dogfrisbee. If I put a dog in a certain situation which is similar to what he was practicing before then he/she can adapt what he/she has in the repertoire and execute technical jump. A kid who has a spider-man toy is parallel to a given situation and then me asking a kid to change that to… is a parallel to a dog who adapt to a situation. If I practiced with a dog a similar situation then he already have a similar behavior (a spider-man toy) to shape but if I put a dog in a new situation and want him to choose a technical execution is kind of like asking a kid to show a batman when it has only spider man toy, even more ridiculous is asking him to change an appearance of a toy which he doesn’t have.

Generalization

The whole consideration about asking a dog to choose a technical jump brings as back to the problem of not being able to practice every situation.

BUT the nature made a great job in helping with that and provided us a generalization.

Generalization- we say that generalization occur when a learner performed a behavior in a different environment than it was previously trained in.

It means that if we train under many different conditions (which in our case can mean dog run up to a disc from left side or ride side, from 90 degree angle etc.) dog can generalize it to similar situations. The more scenarios we practiced (with technical execution of course) the more likely it is that a dog will generalize the technical behavior in slightly new situation.

Let’s sum up what would be the major steps in working on dog’s decision making.

Skills

First we should define which skills the dog need in dogfrisbee and then work on them. When a dog has the wide variety of skills.

Behaviors

Then we need to give him a repertoire to choose from to being able to shape/ adapt them. We should practice every part of the “jump” behavior chain.

Generalization

Now a dog knows how to choose a behavior and has behaviors to choose from. Here we give him major scenarios practice. I mean for example practicing catching a throw while running up from the right side (45 degree angle). Then from the right side 70 degree angle and so on. After we work through many different scenarios with kept technical execution we will see that the dog is choosing technical behaviors in new situations faster and faster.

Finally

After all of that we will have athlete that always chooses a technical or close to technical execution in every given situation. BUT it takes a lot of time and work. We talk here about hundreds of repetitions.

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