FAB is Flexible on Jump Heights
Just because your dog has been measured into a particular height at other shows, it does not mean he has to compete at this height at FAB shows. If your dog is not jumping confidently and quickly, or whether just getting on in years, then it’s perfectly acceptable to move your dog down a jump height and still be able to compete with him at FAB shows.
Lots of people are reluctant to drop their dog's jump height at FAB if at other shows they will still have to jump higher. But Dawn's wide experience has taught her that taking the opportunity to jump dogs at a comfortable and appropriate height whenever possible is paramount to a dog's long-term health, even if sometimes they will still need to compete at a different one.
How do I know if my dog is jumping the 'wrong' height?
One way to tell if your dog is happy over his current height is to see whether he lowers his head on the approach to a jump. Even a slight head dip is a sign that your dog isn’t comfortable with his current height. Other signs include him taking small steps in front of a jump before taking off, taking off early to launch over the jump, or taking off very close to the jump and still only just making the height. If you are unsure about your dog’s jumping style at his current height, please ask Dawn for advice.
Won't my dog stop jumping higher jumps at other shows if I jump him lower at FAB?
No, that's unlikely. In fact, most dogs actually become faster and more confident if the majority of the time they are jumped slightly lower than the height they measure into at regular shows. By taking the opportunity to jump a lower height when possible, you can lengthen your dog’s competing career and give him a new burst of speed and enjoyment.
What else can I do to help my nervous jumper?
Dawn has teamed up with a friend in the USA to develop an online jumping programme (called Hit The Ground Running) to help dogs overcome some of their issues with the jumping aspect of agility. Click here to find out more about it.
Dawn's Papillon, AgCh Tonring Just A Puzzle (Puzzle), is the only Papillon ever to have become a UK Agility Champion. Before long however, he began to knock poles and started to lack confidence when jumping.
Although the picture (left) may look impressive, it actually shows just how much Puzzle has to launch at a 35cm jump (normal KC Small height) to clear it. To repetitively do this jump after jump cannot possibly be healthy news for the tinier dogs in our sport. They really do need the chance to jump at a safe and appropriate height and indeeed, Puzzle loves running Petite at FAB. He's especially impressed when other FAB-wise female Papillons turn up in his queue to take their turn!