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Delivering a conceptual understanding of vaulting is absolutely essential for reliable performance of the vaulting skill.
You can either teach these skills as root concepts or let disc placement and experience, the context of the tricks or sequences, teach the skills. Both will work, and they work very well in concert, but your dog’s safety and your sanity is better served by teaching the root concepts.
We want to teach the Vault at the conceptual level. The dog should learn that there are linear vaults, there are reverse or flipping vaults, and then should understand that Stall means to stand up there.
Root Concepts of the Vaulting Behavior (with verbal cue)
- Stall (Stall) – jump on the obstacle and wait
- Linear Vault (Top) – vault from the obstacle in a line
- Reverse Vault (Rebound) – flip off of an obstacle
Let the Dog In on the Plan
Teaching these basic concepts and having them under verbal discrimination means that you can tell your dog what is going to happen and they will be prepared for the kind of vault you are going to do before anything happens. Your dog will make her first move with the intent to execute the plan.
This conceptual and verbal discrimination is key to teaching and executing the vaulting skill safely and to creating new and innovative vaults with a moving handler or from unconventional positions.
These are the root concepts of the vaulting behavior. Knowing how to perform each skill and being able to perform them on cue will greatly increase our ability to rapidly teach and successfully execute vaults and will allow dog and handler to approach the skill as a team. The handler can tell the dog how to set up and perform the skill and the dog will understand how to execute. The rest is just reward placement.