Contacts, finally!

Discussion in 'Agility and Dog Sports' started by BostonBanker, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    The long, long winter of working on contacts seems to have finally paid off!

    Towards the end of last winter, Meg started jumping over her contacts pretty regularly. It was just simply a lack of training; she had been such a slow, cautious dog at first, I thought I would always be able to get away with very-assisted running contacts. Well, when she got brave and really started getting into agility, that flew out the window.

    With the help of my instructor and really our whole agility class, we spent most of the winter re-training for 2 on/2 off. A million reps on planks/stairs/whatever later, and I think we are getting it. We've just started running longer courses including the contact equipment the last two weeks or so, and Meg is sticking basically 100% of them, maintaining all our criteria.

    I am now really, really excited for trials:D. And really, really glad we put in the time this winter.
     
  2. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    That is AWESOME, huge congrats!!! I know how hard it is to have to retrain a problem and I know the incrediable feelings of success when all that hard work pays off.
    Looking forward to hearing about your up and coming trial season, good luck.

    Lynn
     
  3. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    YAY great news.
     
  4. chanda

    chanda New Member

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    thats one of the best news i read today... keep it up!
     
  5. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Whooo, good for you!! How did you retrain? Auggie knows "touch" and will do it off steps, retaining walls, just about anything... but if he's running down the a-frame he'll just hop right off. =P It's frustrating, and worrisome besides, as I really don't want him hurting himself...
     
  6. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Thanks guys. It's a bit of a sad reflection on my life how absolutely giddy I get everytime she goes right into position.

    Beanie - I used a cut up piece of bathmat, and started just teaching her to put her front feet on it with no equipment. Once she had that down, we did lots and lots of reps on a flat plank, with a mat at each end. Eventually one end of the plank was propped up so it was a bit like a dogwalk ending (just lower). I think it was probably late September to late December or so - that was pretty much all we did for contact stuff. Rep after rep, working on distance, her holding position for the release, adding in speed, etc. Other than maybe the teeter a few times (that's never been an issue for her), she didn't see any contact equipment until close to the new year. Then just a really low a-frame, gradually getting higher. About two weeks or so ago was probably the first time she was on full-height contact equipment since our last trial in September. She's had a some times where she isn't really driving down into the position as strongly as I'd like, but I think she's missed maybe two out of fifty or so reps on the equipment in the last few weeks. A long, long road, but I'm hoping it will stick!
     
  7. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Beanie;
    How does he hop off? Does he swing just his hind end off or just leaps off and swings towards you? Are you using a full height frame? And what contact behaviour have you taught, 2o2o with a target or something else?

    Lynn
    p.s I can't teach agility right now because of illness, so helping on line helps give me my agility fix :)
     
  8. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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  9. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    oh BB just wait till Dekka will nail her 2o/2os in a trial... I will be every bit as giddy as you... lol. (oh and sent you a PM)
     
  10. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    He leaps off and keeps going - he's not very big, so to have him jump off the a-frame without even getting a toe in the yellow is scary. =/ The a-frame I have at home is maybe half as tall as a regulation frame - the planks are four feet, IIRC? It was a while ago we built it, I can't recall. It's not up very high at all since I've been backing waaaay up to try and retrain, but it is up a little.

    I tried using a target, but it seemed too confusing and frustrating for Auggie... So I gave it up, and instead I just trained him to pop his front feet off the garden retaining wall, called it "touch" and away we went. He knows that just fine and will "touch" off anything that's elevated. He will even do it on the a-frame maybe a few times... but then he seems to decide that it's faster to just leap off the a-frame and will start ignoring me again.
    Somebody suggested, and I've seen other people train this way, that I should get right in front of the a-frame and "pull" him to the bottom, standing in his way so he HAS to stop at the bottom instead of jumping off halfway down.. that does not work with Auggie. Instead he will jump off the side to get around me. =P

    It's ONLY the a-frame that this happens with... the dog walk is too narrow for him to get the guts to hop off, and the teeter he does this funny thing where he'll slow down and scratch at the division between the blue and the yellow as he rides it all the way down (his grandma does the same thing.)

    Oh yeah - and baiting the downside of the a-frame doesn't work either. He'll blow past the treats. Agility isn't really about treats for Auggie... he's motivated by the reward of doing the task itself, not the reward of snacks.
    He's gotten quite... er, less velcro lately. I don't really know how to deal with a dog that's as headstrong as I am, ROFL. It used to be that my dog wouldn't get away from me, and now it's pretty much the complete opposite, and I feel like I'm back at square one and totally confused. Sigh!
     

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