Perhaps a Panel?
Q. My dog refused the panel jump at a trial last week. She looked like she’d make it, but then, right on top of it, she went ‘uhuh, nopenopenope!’ and ran for a tunnel. We only did that course, so I couldn’t tell what happened, if maybe she was scared or what. Could it be a panel problem?
A. Oh dear! There could be a couple of reasons for her to refuse the panel – if that’s the only jump she refused, it’s probably not health related, but always ask yourself if your dog may have been injured, and then move on to solving issues through training. It’s usually not health, but it’s best to rule that out first!
Also, is it possible she just didn’t have the right angle? Often Quick refuses a jump if he doesn’t like the angle, or he hasn’t gotten enough speed behind him to get him over. Work on jump wrapping exercises to eliminate that problem.
So, moving on to training for panel jumps – panel jumps block the view of the landing area after the jump, so your dog is really and truly jumping ‘blind’. Some dogs have no issues with this. Some dogs do. You can help your dog in a number of ways. Some dogs need to walk around a panel jump once, to see that there is ground on the other side, and for the rest of their agility careers, they’re good to go!
Another method is starting the panel jump as if it is an entirely new obstacle – which it is! Set up one panel for your dog to step over, training this jump like you would any other, gradually raising the panels to full height, with your dog’s full view blocked. Reward often and extensively to encourage her to enjoy this obstacle, and soon she’ll be flying!