WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins
WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins

bounce

This webpage contains a description of the following -

  • Summary of Bounce

  • Aims

  • Equipment needed

  • Bounce Starters Level

  • Bounce Bronze Level

  • Bounce Silver Level

  • Bounce Platinum level

  • What the Handler learns

  • What the dog learns

 

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

SUMMARY -

Bounce builds on the exercises learnt in Recall and introduces the dog to jumping small 8 inch/20cm high jumps as it runs back to its handler from a distance of approximately 50ft/15m. There are no "sits", "downs", "stays", "waits", etc  in any of these Dog Games.

 

AIMS -

For a full Bounce run, the dog is held in a restrained recall from the Box area, over four small jumps (each 10ft/3m apart) and runs to its Handler, a distance of approx 50ft/15m. The Handler instantly rewards the dog for doing this correctly. Bounce training stages are exactly the same as those in Recall except that the small jumps are introduced one by one as the Handler moves further away from the Box area to extend the dog's ability.  Any type of jump can be used (eg. flyball or agility jumps) as long as the jump height is approx 8 inches/20 cm.

 

An Aim of this Game is NOT to teach the dog to jump, they already know how to do this. Care needs to be taken with the small breeds of dogs so we keep the jumps low. The Handler must learn to use their body language and movement to guide the dog over the jumps and not to run around them.

 

Some dogs and Handlers work steadily through most or all of the Stages of Bounce before trying a new Game, while others reach Bronze or Silver Stages of this Game and then try another Game (returning to the higher Stages of Bounce when the dog is more confident, experienced or older).

 

Having had a successful training session, a dog should not attempt another training session for at least an hour. It is preferable that the stages should be done on different days so that the handler and trainer can check whether the dog has really learnt and understood the game.

 

In Dog Games training we continually repeat some of the most simple instructions and ideas to instill them in the Handlers so that it becomes second nature to them.

 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED -

  • netted training area

  • comfortable harness and lead

  • treat box or motivator

  • 4 flyball jumps (8 inch/20cm high jumps)

 

The spacing between these jumps should always be the same and is taken from International Flyball lane layout. This consistency of spacing gives the dog confidence in its pacing over them. Trainers and Handlers often notice a sharp increase in the dog's enthusiasm for these Games when it realises that it can jump and run back to its handler and be instantly rewarded with its favourite motivator.

 

NO EQUIPMENT IS TO BE MOVED IF THE DOG IS CLOSE BY

 

It is strongly recommended that Bounce Aims and Bounce Starters should be read and reread as the dog progresses through the Games to keep these fundamental lessons fresh in your memory.

 

In addition to the equipment used in Recall you will need -

  • Four 8 inch/20cm high flyball jumps which can either be bought singly or as a set of four or you can make your own by printing off our templates (see Equipment needed).  It is possible to teach a dog Bounce using only two jumps - one at the 6ft/2m marker from the box area and is the first jump that the dog negotiates on its run back to its Handler. The other is placed at the various positions as indicated in the Layout of the Lane but being gradually moved further away from the box area towards the Handler. 

VERY RARELY USED -

  • Very occasionally wings may be used to make the flyball jumps seem wider on either side, and to stop those dogs that persistently run round the jumps rather than over them.  Spare netting can be attached to 2 poles and the netting can be wound and unwound around one pole to give a larger or smaller "wing" to encourage the dog to go over the jump. The jumps can either be agility training or competition wings, or home made screens - even people standing with their back to the dog and their legs slightly apart can be used if nothing else is readily available!  However, we strongly recommend that you do not use wings or other physical barriers as it is too easy for Handlers, Trainers and dogs to become too dependent on these very visual training aids and the dog never learns to choose to jump. Remember, these aids will not always be there to help your dog.  Therefore, it is far better to teach the dog slowly and thoroughly for each part of Bounce, without resorting to the use of wings, so that the dog really understands that it has to jump in order to get its motivator.

BOUNCE STARTERS LEVEL

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

AIMS - from a restrained recall,

  • the dog learns to return to its Handler

  • RUNNING OVER A NUMBER OF JUMPS

 

STARTERS Certificate 1

At the Starters level the dog and the Handler are "Learning the Game" and looking for 3 successful runs out of 5. Bounce builds on the exercises learnt in Recall and introduces the dog to jump over 8 inch/20cm high flyball jumps from a restrained recall. The jumps are not high and this and consistent spacing between the jumps gives the dog confidence in its running and jumping.

 

NO EQUIPMENT IS TO BE MOVED IF THE DOG IS CLOSE BY

 

First Jump

The Trainer, Handler and dog walk to one end of Lane A (Primary training Lane) and stand in the Box area/release area, from where all the measurements for the jump spacings are taken (see Lane Layout). The first jump is now placed on its mark. With the Trainer holding the dog, the Handler calmly walks away from the Trainer and dog by walking OVER the first jump and walks to about half way down the Lane. Remember - for EACH run, when walking away from their dog, the Handler walks OVER the jumps leaving their scent to encourage the dog to follow the Handler over these jumps.

 

With the Treat Box/motivator ready, the Handler turns, gives eye contact to the dog and calls him. Having successfully ran to the Handler OVER this first jump, the dog gets lots of praise and treats/motivator.

 

The Trainer calmly walks OVER the jump to the Handler and discusses the success or otherwise of this first part of the exercise.

 

HINT - If the dog has a tendency to run around the jump rather than over it, repeat the process as above but move the dog CLOSER to the first jump to ensure that he HAS to go over the jump to get to his Handler.

 

In the picture below, you can see that the Handler (on left) is luring their dog OVER the first jump using his motivator, a fleece raggit. (Ignore the 2 poles!). The Trainer (on right) is holding the dog by his harness. This is a restrained recall OVER a jump.

 

 

Having run over the jump and collected his raggit, the dog is put back on the lead by the Handler and all three calmly walk back to the Box end of the Lane to repeat this exercise. THEY WALK AWAY FROM THE JUMPS AND TURN AND PASS THEM WITH THE HANDLER WALKING BETWEEN THE DOG AND THE JUMPS AND NOT OVER THEM. By following this discipline, you are preventing the dog from being tempted to go over the jumps, as well as learning that the dog is not avoiding these jumps by going around them. .

 

The Trainer should be watching the Handler's body language to ensure that he is not inadvertently distracting the dog. If the dog runs around a jump this can often be because of the Handler's body language making inadvertent movements that the dog picks up on.

 

Second Jump

The Trainer, Handler and dog walk back to one end of Lane A (Primary training Lane), avoiding the jump and stand in the Box area. The second jump is now placed on its mark and lined up with the first. Please ensure that the dog is well away from this second jump when it is taken into the Lane. You don't want the dog to have a bad experience in this Lane or with an movable item.

 

Remember - for EACH run, the Handler is to walk OVER the jumps as their scent will encourage the dog to follow them over the jumps.

 

Again, with the Trainer holding the dog in the Box area, the Handler calmly walks away from the Trainer and dog walking OVER the first and second jumps (leaving their scent to encourage the dog to go over the jumps) and walks to just beyond half way down the Lane. The 2 jumps are lined up to ensure a straight run for the dog to the Handler. With the Treat Box/motivator ready, the Handler turns, gives eye contact to the dog and calls him. Having successfully ran to the Handler OVER the 2 jumps, the dog gets lots of praise and its treats/motivator.

 

The Trainer calmly walks to the Handler OVER the jumps and discusses the success or otherwise of this next part of the exercise. The Handler puts the dog back on the lead and all three calmly walk back to the end of the Lane to repeat this exercise. THEY WALK AWAY FROM AND AROUND THE JUMPS, PASSING THEM, NOT OVER THEM.

 

Third Jump

A decision can now be made - how is the dog? is there another run in him? ALWAYS FINISH ON A GOOD NOTE/SUCCESS even if this means taking a backwards step. It is surprising how much mental energy is used by the dogs doing this. Consider finishing the game here and return the dog to the car.

 

Is the dog/handler struggling? If so, repeat the second run using only the 2 jumps and finish the game there and charge only for training.

If not, the third jump is now placed on its mark. With the Trainer holding the dog in the Box area, the Handler calmly walks away from the Trainer and dog by walking OVER the first, second and third jumps and walks to about three-quarters of the way down the Lane. The Trainer and Handler check that all 3 jumps are in line. With the Treat Box/motivator ready, the Handler turns, gives eye contact to the dog and calls him. Having successfully ran to the Handler OVER the 3 jumps, the dog gets lots of praise and treats/motivator.

 

Fourth Jump

Again a decision can be made - how is the dog? is there another run in him? ALWAYS FINISH ON A GOOD NOTE/SUCCESS even if this means taking a backwards step. It is surprising how much mental energy is used by the dogs doing this. Consider finishing the game here and return the dog to the car.

 

The Trainer, Handler and dog walk back to the Box area. THEY WALK AWAY FROM AND AROUND THE JUMPS, PASSING THEM, NOT OVER THEM.  Is the dog/handler struggling? If so, finish the game there and charge only for training.

 

If not, the fourth jump is now placed on its mark. With the Trainer holding the dog in the Box area, the Handler calmly walk close to the end of the Lane. The Trainer and Handler check that all 4 jumps are in line. With the Treat Box/motivator ready, the Handler turns, gives eye contact to the dog and calls him. Having successfully ran to the Handler OVER the 4 jumps, the dog gets lots of praise and treats/motivator and returned to the car.

 

STARTERS Certificate 2

Starters 1 and Starters 2 may overlap depending on the ability of the dog and the Handler. If I assume that the dog did not achieve all 4 jumps in his previous session, let's start from having achieved 3 jumps.

 

Therefore let's go back to 1 jump, repeat the methods used above and be successful, moving quickly onto 2 and 3 jumps. The Handler has also maintained good body control by not putting the dog off causing it to run around one or more of the jumps. Now let's try the 4th jump. If successful, the dog has now achieved Bounce Starters Certificate 1.

 

The dog will now need to complete 5 successful runs out of 5 over the 4 jumps, then the dog has achieved Starters Certifcate 2 and Bounce Starters is achieved.  The dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler would have been awarded a 3-tiered rosette - orange outer, yellow middle, white inner on having completed this stage.

 

If there are any lessons for the Trainer to learn and pass on to the other Trainers about this dog/relationship, the dog's training record is where this should be recorded.

 

BOUNCE BRONZE LEVEL

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

Having completed Starters, the dog is now able to do Bounce, a restrained recall  from the Box area/release area, jump the four flyball jumps (approximately 10ft/3m apart) and run to its Handler for its treat/motivator.

 

AIMS - from a restrained recall,

  • the dog learns to RETURN to its Handler

  • RUNNING OVER A NUMBER OF JUMPS

  • and CONSISTENTLY over a distance

Bronze level concentrates on training the dog to CONSISTENTLY perform  Bounce with 5 successful runs out of 5 while also teaching the dog to do the Game running in different directions. The Handler raises his expectations of what he wants the dog to do, while the dog gains a deeper understanding of what is expected of it using these thorough training methods. This is also the stage where the dog becomes accustomed to jumping the jumps with the 10ft/3m spacing between them.

 

It is tempting to rush dogs through their basic training in our eagerness to show how clever our dogs can be. However, in the early stages of training an exercise many dogs are accidentally doing it correctly. This can be by coincidence because 

  • it is watching the Handler's unconscious body movements (ie not necessarily those chosen by the Handler to be the visual commands for the exercise) or

  • it has associated the environment with the exercise rather than the Handler's visual and spoken commands, so that the dog cannot understand what is required from it when asked to do the exercise in a new direction or location. The Bronze stage helps to overcome these difficulties.

Having completed Starters 1 and 2, please re-read the instructions in Starters 1 and 2 to remind yourself of the disciplined requirements. In Dog Games training we continually repeat some of the most simple instructions and ideas to instill them in the Handlers so that it becomes second nature to them.

Having had a successful training session, a dog should not attempt another training session for at least an hour. It is preferable that the stages should be done on different days so that the Handler and trainer can check whether the dog has really learnt and understood the game (Latent Learning).

 

BRONZE Certificate 1

With 5 succesful runs out of 5, we need to set up for success. Therefore, with no other dogs around and also in the same Lane and running in the same direction (towards the gate) as previously, the same procedure as for Starters (4 jumps) is followed.

 

However, if the dog struggles with the first or secong run, take a break, Take a step or 2 backwards. Depending on what the dog does, remove 1 or 2 jumps and try the process again with the Handler walking over the remaining jumps as above and then calling the dog. Maybe the dog hadn't fully grasped what was required but may also have been distracted by the Handler's movements, intentional or unintentional.

 

Bounce takes longer to train because there is the added challenge to the dog of whether it jumps over the jumps or runs around them. Do not get frustrated at this slower pace, it is quite normal and will mean that the dog will have thoroughly learnt each stage. Check that the jumps are in line and that the Trainer is watching the Handler's body language to ensure success.

 

Having completed 5 out of 5 runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieved the Aims of Bounce Bronze Level 1.

 

BRONZE Certificate 2

For this next stage, with no other dogs around and also in the same Lane, the dog now runs in the opposite direction to previously, ie away from the gate end and towards the closed end. The same procedure for 4 jumps is followed as above but with the Lane turned around, ie the release area is now at the gate end of the Lane.

 

Do not be surprised if the dog makes a mistake if this is a new location/direction; dogs have a very strong sense of location when learning a behaviour, and do not necessarily understand that the behaviour can be done pointing in a different direction. This is why these training sessions are so thorough. Take your time and take the dog back a step or 2.

 

Having completed 5 out of 5 runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieved Bounce Bronze Level 2.

 

BRONZE Certificate 3

If the dog has been struggling, persist with this game because it opens up many of the other games as well as taking them towards flyball and agility and other dog sports. The Handler should also be learning about their own body language Why should the dog go over the jumps when it is quicker to run around??

 

If the dog is doing well, a decision needs to be made -

  • should the dog attempt this next stage of Bounce in a new lane with no other dogs around? or

  • should he continue in the same lane, running in the original direction towards the gate end.?

Again, if the dog struggles, take a step back as above.

 

Having completed 5 out of 5 runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieved Bounce Bronze and would have been awarded a 3-tiered Rosette (orange outer, yellow middle, bronze inner) on having completed this first stage of Bounce Bronze.

 

If there are any lessons for the Trainer to learn and pass on to the other Trainers about this dog/relationship, the dog's training record is where this should be recorded.

 

BOUNCE SILVER LEVEL

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

At the Silver level of any Game, plastic netting should be used between lanes in the interests of the safety for each dog.

 

 

AIMS - from a restrained recall,

  • the dog learns to RETURN to its Handler

  • RUNNING OVER A NUMBER OF JUMPS

  • and CONSISTENTLY over a distance

  • with the DISTRACTION of another dog close by

At Silver Level, it is IMPERATIVE  that both dogs in their respective Lanes are allowed to Read the Newspaper. The Trainer in each Lane should watch the dog in their Lane to see the reaction of their dog to the presence of the other dog and the movement in the other Lane.

  • Do the dogs notice each other?

  • What is the reaction of each dog to the other?

  • If one of the dogs is becoming over excited, why?

  • Can these 2 dogs work together?

  • Do you need to change the distraction dog?

For the benefit of each dog, the sitution needs to be managed.

 

SILVER Certificate 1

A decision needs to be made by the trainer but in discussion with the Handler. Silver level requires another dog to be under training (or otherwise) at the same time BUT in another Lane.

  • should our dog run in Lane A where it has done its previous BOUNCE training & another dog in Lane C? OR

  • should our dog run in Lane C which it is new to and also with the added distraction of another but "experienced" dog in Lane A?

Which would be most beneficial to our dog without pushing him too hard? In a new Lane (environment), the dog may struggle; also with the movement and distraction of another dog nearby (but not close). Distraction may also caused by the "scent geography" of the Lane.

Remember - for EACH run, the Handler is to walk OVER the jumps as their scent will encourage the dog to go over the jumps.

If the dog is struggling, take a break. There is no rush. Try each run and see how the dog copes. If he is struggling, go back one step, finish on a good note, reward him and then the Game is finished. Put him back in the car, taking care to avoid any other dogs. This is classed only as training as the objective was not achieved. 

 

Having completed 5 successful runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieved Bounce SIlver Certificate 1. Make a note on the dog's training record the name of the distracting dog because this may prove useful later.

 

SILVER Certificate 2

Again, a similar decision needs to be made. Silver level requires another dog in another Lane at the same time. The running direction is again switched for the dog but both dogs are still running in the same direction.

 

Having completed 5 successful runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieved Bounce SIlver Certificate 2. Again, with the change in direction, the dog may struggle initially. Again, this may well be caused by the "scent geography" of the Lane. Make a note on the dog's training record the name of the distracting dog because this may prove useful later.

 

SILVER Certificate 3

Again, a similar decision needs to be made. Silver level requires another dog to in another Lane at the same time. The running direction is again switched for the dog but both dogs are now running in opposite directions to test the focus of the dog on the objective to be achieved.

 

Having completed 5 successful runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieve Bounce Silver and would have been awarded a 3-tiered Rosette (orange outer, yellow middle, silver inner) on having completed this level. Make a note on the dog's training record the name of the distracting dog because this may prove useful later.

 

If there are any lessons for the Trainer to learn and pass on to the other Trainers about this dog/relationship, the dog's training record is where this should be recorded.

 

BOUNCE GOLD LEVEL

There is NO Gold Level in Bounce

 

BOUNCE PLATINUM LEVEL

At this level, we are looking to GENERALISE our training so that the dog can cope with this Game ANYWHERE. The dog will now be working outside of the Lanes and, therefore, managing the situation is paramount

 

see Before Each Training Session Begins

 

AIMS - from a restrained recall,

  • the dog learns to RETURN to its Handler

  • RUNNING OVER A NUMBER OF JUMPS

  • and CONSISTENTLY over a distance

  • how to play this Game anywhere (to GENERALISE this training)

To prepare the dog for this next exercise, as usual, he is brought into one of the Lanes to relax him, let him read the newspaper, as he knows the routine now. When he is relaxed he is taken to the appropriate part of the training ground.

 

PLATINUM Certificate 1

This first Platinum session is usually carried out in an area similar to P as indicated in the Layout of the Training Area. There are the restrictions of the netting to one side and the stock fencing/hedge on the other side but the width of this new Lane Area P is greater than the Training Lanes (A and C) so it will be a different "feel" for the dog. The dog has not worked here before. Check that the jumps are in line.

 

Having completed 5 successful BOUNCE runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieved a Bounce Platinum Certificate 1. 

 

PLATINUM Certificate 2

Having read the newspaper, the dog is brought to an area similar to Q as indicated in the Layout of the Training Area. There are the restrictions of the netting to one side and the hedge on the other side but the width of this new Lane Area Q is greater and one end is more open to the remaining field. Again, the dog has not worked in this area before and so it will be a different "feel" for the dog. Check that the jumps are in line. 

 

Having completed 5 successful BOUNCE runs, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car and the Handler has achieved a Bounce Platinum Certificate 2. 

 

PLATINUM Certificate 3

Having read the newspaper, the dog is brought to an area similar to R as indicated in the Layout of the Training Area, the middle of the field. There are no restrictions on any side just the open field, hence the need to manage the other dogs. Again, the dog has not worked in this area before and so it will be a different "feel" for the dog.  Check that the jumps are in line.

 

Having completed 5 successful BOUNCE runs, running away away from the Trainer over the jumps to the Handler, the dog is rewarded and returned to the car. The Handler has achieved Bounce Platinum and would be awarded a 4-tiered Rosette (orange outer, yellow middle, orange inner, yellow inner) on having completed this stage. A small trophy would also be awarded that could be engraved, ie with the dog's name, etc.

 

If there are any lessons for the Trainer to learn and pass on to the other Trainers about this dog/relationship, the dog's training record is where this should be recorded.

 

THE HandlER LEARNS -

  • Dogs are not natural jumpers - they only jump over an obstacle if there is something really worthwhile on the other side which can be got quicker by jumping over rather than running around it. Therefore, we need to give a dog a high enough reward for going over the hurdle so that it eventually want to jump just for the pleasure of doing it.

  • How to help the dog jump over the hurdles rather than run around them by carefully planning where they should be on the finish line.

  • Not to say "Come" when they want their dog to go over the hurdles towards them; "Come" usually means "stop what you are doing and get here as quickly as possible", not "jump what is in front of you" - just call the dog's name.

  • Never to walk past a jump.  If a dog sees their Handler walk around a jump it is quite justified in thinking it is also allowed to - after all it is the quickest and easiest option!  The dog will also come to this conclusion if the Handler (or Trainer) has the dog on a lead and walks it past a jump whilst returning to one end of the lane or the other.  Remember - always take the dog in a deep wide curve so that the dog never finds itself walking near or past a jump.  If curving is not an option due to lack of space - walk OVER the jumps with your dog.

  • The importance of standing in the correct position so that the dog's "sight line" to its Handler is over the jumps. If a Handler stands to one side of the lane or the other, the dog is then tempted to run past the jumps, as the jumps are no longer between the dog and the Handler.

  • The Handler to carefully control their body movements (ie their hands, arms, shoulders, torso, head, legs, feet, and the dog's motivator) as they call their dog; wait for it to return; and as it nears them, turn and run away (but not too soon).  These unconscious movements can be misinterpreted by the dog and cause it to swerve past the jumps in its eagerness to get the motivator.

  • That dogs are sensible animals and try to conserve the amount of energy they need to use in order to get a reward.  It is far quicker and easier for a dog to run past a jump than to use extra energy and jump over it.  Therefore, the training and reward have to be of high enough quality so that the dog is willing to make that extra effort for the motivator.

  • Most dogs enjoy the act of jumping so much that it becomes a motivator and reward in itself.  However, this excitement can lead to higher levels of stress, so the dog needs to learn to cope with this added excitement.

  • As always, to finish each short training session (a maximum of 5 runs at a time) on a positive note - if the dog is unable to understand what you are trying to teach it, ask it to do something it is confident of doing instead (such as a sit, down etc).  Then put the dog away and and think and discuss with others how you can train the dog taking smaller steps in the training programme so that it can succeed in the next session

 

THE DOG LEARNS -

  • That although it seems less effort to go around a hurdle rather than over it, jumping these hurdles is so rewarding for the dog that it eventually actively seeks out and jumps any similar hurdles it sees. Once a dog understands the principle of going over obstructions rather than run around them, many other opportunities for the dog and handler to have fun together are suddenly more achievable (eg. Agility, Flyball, Dog Dancing etc).

In addition to what the dog has already learnt in Recall, it also learns -

  • Through trail and error (as before) that if the dog runs round a jump it will not be rewarded.  It will NOT be punished - it will just not be given its motivator and the handler will not show any positive emotion to the dog.  However, if the dog does jump the jumps it soon learns that it will always be rewarded with its motivator and will be praised with real positive emotions from its handler.  It then chooses to run and jump as it has learnt by the consistent training that it is the most rewarding action to do.  Remember that the timing of the reward and doing the training in very small manageable steps helps the dog to understand what is expected of it.

 

This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).

 

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