Friday, February 07, 2014

17 months - Rebound

With Kili I have been trying a lot of unconventional tricks. Unconventional for a greyhound. Most of these tricks are pretty common for other breeds. My favourite one that we are working on right now is the "rebound". You are probably most familiar with seeing a rebound at a disc dog competition. In between catching or as the lead up to the throw the dog jumps at the handler and bounces off the handler's body. Rebounds can be done off a number of body parts, and can even be done with inanimate objects like walls or trees. The typical first body rebound is usually off the hip area of the handler, but moving on from there people will teach chest rebounds, foot rebounds, back rebounds....

As you can imagine from my above description... a rebound is NOT something that you typically see a large sighthound doing. Once again I found myself wondering if this was something I could do with a greyhound. For one thing, many greyhounds are a little reluctant to really leave the ground except when running. For another, a greyhound is a pretty large dog to have rebounding off your body. However, undaunted we decided to try for a hip rebound. I have chronicled our progress so far.

I started by placing a blanket on the ottoman and asked her to jump onto it and then straight back off the way she had come by throwing a treat on the floor. I tried to click as she was jumping off (though you will hear a few clicks that are a little early or a little late... I'm only human!). Once she was happily jumping on and off I went and sat beside the blanket. Once again I asked her to jump on and off the blanket right beside me. At first I was having trouble with her trying to turn towards me (because I had the food) which was becoming very awkward for her to try to make the turn because she is such a long dog. I reworked it at this point to have her turn AWAY from me where she had more space. I also started to slide closer and closer to the edge of the ottoman, putting my leg under the blanket so that she started to have to jump almost right on top of me.

After this it became all about encouraging her to jump on ME (with the blanket draped over me). This was the tricky part since she didn't want to land on me and would try to aim for the ottoman behind/beside me. Lots of patience and creative positioning was involved.

Once Kili was comfortable jumping onto me while I was still sitting on the ottoman, it was time to start going vertical. This needs to be done slowly. So for our very first try I was almost sitting against the wall, just without the ottoman under me. This was Kili's very first rebound!

We are at the point now where she is fairly confidently rebounding off of me. The next steps are to very slowly start standing straight. For each increment that we straighten we will have to spend time getting her comfortable and confident before moving on until eventually I am standing straight with nothing behind me.

This is such a fun trick and I am so excited about it. That said, use discretion as to whether this is an appropriate trick for your dog and make sure you have good footing. Our house is mostly hardwood and there's 3 feet of snow outside right now, so I went to Canadian Tire and picked up this carpeted foam flooring to lay down to provide cushion and traction.


Claire Krigbaum said...

Neat! That looks like a great workout for both of you! I've been reading your blog here and there and I love your hounds :)

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

Thanks for the comment. We love to hear from people who read the blog. :)