We started out with our usual warm-up and then got right into work with the balance beams.
Video Balance training (10½ and 6½) - The initial 10½ inch wide beam is like a freeway to Gimme, since she did so much agility. Jo had me slow her down since the Parkour evaluators tend to view fast as unsafe, so she said I should create good habits now. Even the 6½ inch beam is pretty easy for Gimme, though stopping and doing "flip" 180º turns is more challenging. My treat presentation was throwing her off balance, until I got it centered and lower.
Video Balance training (4") - (I edited out Jo's instruction, her accent is thick South African and I can barely understand her when she's right there) With the 4 inch beam, it got really challenging. We tried getting the treats lower and more centered and it only helped a little. Gimme got a few of the "flip" 180º turns, but then would lose her balance in trying to get to the treat. Toward the end I had to let go of treat timeliness because she was getting into feeding-frenzy mode. Even when she stumbles and/or loses her balance, she never gives up and always gets right back on the beam. This girl loves a challenge. She really likes to try new things and conquer hard stuff. She got farther and did better than any of the others, simply because she keeps trying. Jo made sure we ended on the easier straight line, which was really easy compared to all the turns we worked on.
I want to teach this at home and will try a more systematic approach. I've got a couple of 8 and 6 inch beams I inherited. I plan to make a balance beam from them, with milk crates for the end stations. Then will practice doing "walkies" and "flip" in a slow controlled manner. When she can do it on the 8 inch 95% of the time, then we'll go to the 6 inch beam. Since I have my own table saw, as she gets good at 6 inches, I can just slice off a quarter inch at a time until we get to 4 inches.
Also, I was reading the Parkour training group on facebook and one person made a great suggestion. She taught her dog to sit on the narrow beams. Her idea was, if the dog can sit, then they understand about getting their feet close together, which is what they need to do the turn. She said once her dog understood this, then the turns were easy for him. I think this is brilliant, so will be trying this approach with Gimme.
Next we played with the sway bridge. This isn't part of Parkour, but its
a good, safe way to help the dogs get used to things moving
Sway bridge video - Gimme wasn't the least bit concerned. In the first part of this video you will see she seems distracted a couple of times. There is a siren going off in the distance and she was listening to it, deciding whether to sing along. Past the place where I trimmed off the video it got really loud as it passed right by the building. Gimme started singing along as I was playing through it to make sure there wasn't something there I wanted to keep. She's very melodious doncha know...
Gimme always sleeps soundly after class almost all the way home. Of course by the time I get home she's ready for more training. Tonight we just came home from nosework class and she's thoroughly disgusted because I'm on the computer instead of training her. What is the world coming to?