Another running contact question

Discussion in 'Dog Sports' started by fickla, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. fickla Experienced Member

    I am currently teaching the 2 pups running contacts with Silvia Trkman's method. However I am having an extremely difficult time knowing when they hit the end of the board vs when they jump. I have improved my rewards as we have progressed over the past week, but feel I am completely screwing up my dogs. I've at least been filming it every day so I can see exactly what they are doing and what my percentage of correct rewards is. Through analysis it does show that both me and the dogs are improving.

    My question is what line should I have for rewarding my dogs? The contact zone is 42" and right now I am rewarding for anything where one paw hits at 22" or below. Is this too strict of a critera? Right now my percentage of missing hovers between 60-80% which is way higher than what Silvia reccommends on her website. Perhaps I just raised the board too high (it's about 1ft off the ground right now)...

  2. szecsuani Experienced Member

    I think you shouldn't look for exact numbers. When you see that the dog is running naturally, without a slightly bigger stride at the end of the plank, you reward. It is pretty hard at first, but you can get into it.
    And maybe you shouldn't raise it that much, only if you see that they are 100% sure what you want. :)
  3. fickla Experienced Member

    Thanks for the advice. Since I originally posted I've gotten a ton better but am still having a hard time just seeing "jumping." That's why I wanted a reward line to help me judge in the beginning.

    But Vito has been getting it and is doing very well. I've been able to raise the board every couple days and his success rate is 80-100%! He is really doing great now.

    Lance on the other hand is really struggling. And unfortunately he's a soft dog so shuts down when he' not getting rewarded as he thinks I'm mad. So I've been having to reward even the jumps by letting him have the target treat and have been giving extra treats for running all the way and letting him do tricks as a reward as well.

    But I'm still not sure what I need to do with Lance. The board is very low but he still is a flying corgi and jumps a ton. I can't lower my 12ft board all the way since it has a piece of wood underneath as it's my teeter board. But I may get out a 5ft board I have and just have him run over that flat. Otherwise I"m debating about doing a different method of running contacts with him. Either way I've discovered that his stride type doesn't take him as low on the board as Vito can go. Even when he doesn't jump Lance hovers around that 22in mark. I'm just not sure what to do with him!
  4. szecsuani Experienced Member

    I mailed Silvia with that problem too. :)

    She told me, that I could try running just on a carpet. That way, the dog can see that he has to run all the way the rug. but he doesn't have a reason to jump. If that goes well, you can move on back to the plank.

    Pami is a soft dog too, she becomes very timid if I don't reward enough. But you should make running itself a fun thing, he should be happy about running with you, that he can chase you and so on.
  5. fickla Experienced Member

    Thanks for the advice. At least Lance does LOVE to run and has no problem with motivation at all on the agility field. Since I've been rewarding even the missed with letting him get the target treat and having him to do tricks and extra treats on the great ones we haven't had a problem with him shutting down at all anymore. He is running very fast on the board!

    But the past two days I got my smaller board out that's also only 1 inch thick that I thought Lance could do well on. I had it completely flat on the ground and Lance STILL jumped. Actually several times he completely flew over the entire contact zone with the board not raised at all!

    Anyways, thanks for the advice. I'm going to keep playing around with ideas for Lance. Today I put his target only 8ft away from the board instead of 15ft and that helped a little. He still jumped but since the target was closer he at least ran further down the board and hit the contacts :)

    So I'll keep playing around till I find the right solution for Lance. Does Pami have good running contacts now or are you still training it?
  6. szecsuani Experienced Member

    I stopped training running contacts, as we didn't have room to do it, only when we were at our house in the countryside, and that wasn't enough, I should have done training every day, but instead, we were training like every second week.
    So I swiched to 2on2off, and she now has very reliable contacts, and she is fast on the dog-walk and A-frame, as I was only telling her to run on them for like half a year.
    So afterall, I'm satisfied with our contacts, and I'll find the opportunity to train running contacts for my next dog. :)
  7. fickla Experienced Member

    Yeah I think running contact needs to be done at least several times a week when they are learning. 2o2o is much easier to do with less room and faster to train!

    I think we had a breakthrough with Lance today though!!! The past 3 days I've moved the target closer to the board which has helped Lance not leap off the flat board in flying corgi mode, but he was still jumping. But today I decided to run with him and he had almost a 100% rate! I've ran with him before, but today I was much much closer the board, maybe 2 ft away so I think the pressure of how close I was to him prevented him from leaping. Of course I will have to work on me fading away from the board and varying my position but at least I was able to get what I wanted! Lance got a ton of jackpots today :)
  8. szecsuani Experienced Member

    That is very great!! :)

    I don't think 2on2off is easier than running contacts, in fact, sometimes it's a lot harder. At least to make is reliable. I worked with it a lot more than I would have done with running contacts. I asked Pami to do the 2o2o position on everything that came along. Paddocks, stairs, boxes, rugs, everything. I used a target for a long time, then I just lost it, and didn't have the patience to introduce a new one. Now she does it without a command (on dog-walk, and A-frame, I don't ask for anything on the see-saw, as I think it's dangerous to get in a 2o2o position. I just make her stop), but the speed is still not what I want. But we almost never have mistakes with contacts. :) But I still have a lot to work with it. I actually hate 2o2o.... XD
  9. fickla Experienced Member

    I just wanted to share an update on my dog's running contacts. We have been working on it almost every day for a month now!

    Apparently what I thought was a breakthrough with me running alongside very close the board, was not actually one. So I tried a ton of things with Lance:
    me running close, me not moving, having the target very close, having the target farther, starting Lance lower on the board, moving to a very thin board...

    But ultimately we have yet to find the secret that will have Lance run consistently, without jumping, even 80% of the time on a completely flat board. Usually he does great when I first change something and then goes back to his old flying corgi routine. He really likes to fly :)

    So the past week I have switched to doing Silvia's method, but with a twist. I've seen others use the pvc box method for running contacts, and have seen the "hit it" board, so I made my own mat out of shelf liner. Lance has been taught to run on his new mat which is about 28" long and continue to his target, and then I've been putting his mat on top of the board at the end.

    So far we have had a 100% rate of hitting the mat over the past 3 days, not one miss!, and if I look at his rate of not jumping he has a 90% rate! I'm a little worried about having to fade his mat, but at least I have found something that is working for the corgi for more than a day. Actually this is the only thing so far that has ever produced a 100% rate.

    Oh and Vito is doing amazing. His board, with no mat, is about 22" off the ground right now and he usually hovers between a 90-100% success rate :) The only thing we're having issues with is varying my position as he does much much better when I am behind him instead of in front.

    Edit: so it's been another day and Lance is still at a 100% rate of hitting his mat, and also at a 100% rate of not jumping now!
  10. szecsuani Experienced Member

    It sounds great!!
    Could you post videos? i'm very intrested in seeing your dogs running. :)
  11. snooks Experienced Member

    We placed a small plastic mat at the end of the board, just under the board so that it didn't move, exposed part was as wide as the board and about 14" long/protruding from under board. (pretaught MATT click/treat) and cued and clicked matt on the downside before the dog got there---sort of like before the dog jumps u want him to know which way to turn so you cue after he commits to the jump. Started out putting a small treat on the mat so dog has to stop to get it. Don't worry you don't do it very long (i.e. so ur dog slows permanently) Then click ON the mat and cue mat as long as needed for everytime paws hit the mat. for this i used a tossable treat pocket timed right tossed in front of the dog far enough to encourage coming straight off the obstacle to get the pocket....back to you for a treat. mine quit jumping the contact and i cut out the pocked and mat cue when i could.

    hope this makes sense... lots of nitty details. this one way worked for me...i'm sure there are loads more.
  12. fickla Experienced Member

    Snooks, so you essentially trained a 4 on the floor behavior for your contacts? Once you were getting rid of the mat, did you still expect your dogs to do this 4 on the floor behavior, and just start switching to an early release?

    I guess I still want a real running contact with Lance. If it doesn't work out I'd consider doing a 2o2o on the dog walk but I worry about his corgi body slamming to the ground for that on the aframe. And I really don't want to train a 2o2o or 1rto and then just early release it as I think that can lead to sloppy training. I've thought about the 4 on the floor method but have never seen anybody train it or know that much about it.
  13. snooks Experienced Member

    it's actually 2 on 2 off because the mat is so small that when they stop to grab the treat their back legs still have to be on the ramp. You don't really do it for long, maybe a session or two. once they get the idea you toss their pocket and cue mat at the same time so it become a running cue with the treat off the mat but they know what the mat is. it was used mostly for dogs that were going waaaay long and jumping contacts compltely. Small piece of treat like chicken on a black plastic mat very visible. the thing was that by hitting right at the end of the ramp with front paws necessitated the back paws being on the contact. Treat was close enought to the end of the ramp (3 inches or so) to make they were positioned correctly. it was a way of teaching them how to treat the end of a ramp regardless of speed. it is very different from everything else i've seen but it did work well for my contact jumper b/c she flies over the aframe.

    i think it's easier timing wise to click for maybe.??? a running 2on 2off click can be hard for some dogs to connect---clicking what??:dogblush: u drop mat cue pretty quick so you dont have a dog that slows down.
  14. szecsuani Experienced Member

    The videos are great!!! I love Vito's contacts, keep going!! :)

    And Lance is sooo cute!!! :)
  15. krazykai0905 Well-Known Member

    I've made my own teeter totter, and Kai loves it. I would start bringing the contact zones lower and lower, but start c/t when the teeter hits the ground, then start holding your hand in front of him, as kind of a block so he doesn't scramble down. Bring it down slowly and when he steps into the contact zone, click and treat, then let him off. Slowly start bringing your hand lower and lower down, until he can do it by himself, and you can start going faster and faster. Kai loves the teeter so much, she does it by herself in the yard, going up, running down, and back again. I'll post a video soon, if you'd like :)

    ~~*Harper & Kai*~~
  16. fickla Experienced Member

    thanks for the advice Harper but my question was about doing running contacts for the aframe and teeter. My dogs do the teeter just fine although I don't train running contacts for that, they have a stopped 4 feet on the edge.

    Actually as an update for anyone, Vito is doing the full height dogwalk and has great running contacts. unfortunately I haven't practiced much in the past month since it is getting cold and has been raining (and some snow) a ton. but since he is still young I"m not worried.

    Lance I have just decided to stop his running contact work. He has been doing well with Silvia's method plus a mat on the end but progress is slow. Lance naturally doesn't want to run but wants to jump. While he hasn't missed the contact zone in ages, he isn't doing it the way I like (and it's not even close to full height). And now that it's winter I just don't have the space and time to devote to running contacts. Lance will be doing a 2o2o on the dog walk and I'm still debating what I want for the aframe. i am currently experimenting with a down immediately after it.
  17. stormi Well-Known Member

    Good Luck! I hope it works for Lance. I tried a down straight after the equipment for Breeze (excpt see-saw/teeter), but she jumped over the contact and into the down. She tends to jump out to the side though, so if Lance runs straight hopefully you wont have that problem.
  18. xena98 Experienced Member

    Hi well after having 2 dogs with probably 85% reliability and praying they have hit the contact with the toenail I had decided I wanted a reliable independant contact with Gabby I dont like doing the 2o2o that's just me. I had done 4otf Gabby has been trialling since June and has not missed one contact dont have to be anywhere near it. I just tell her to touch it and go off to my new spot and she knows that she has to get as quickly as she can to the bottom and drop and is not allowed to move till I say ok. Eventually I will release quickly. I never trained everyday with her as I dont have any equipment at home but only in class training which is twice a week and probably can only use the equipment 3 or 4 times in a training session
  19. fickla Experienced Member

    It's good to hear that 4otf has worked well for someone! I haven't been using a hoop in Lance's training for the aframe, but I think I might have to. He is understand the down after it pretty well (well after a long time of trying to do one rear toe!) but a couple of times Lance has jumped into the down, almost missing the contacts and I'm sure he would have if we had been in a trial where his adrenaline would be pumping. I don't have an aframe at home so we only practice once a week. I'm just hoping that using a hoop will fix this problem or I'm not sure what to do with lance's contact for the aframe.

    Lance's 2o2o on the dog walk he loves though! It's very black and white to him and he is really hitting it well regardless of what I"m doing. At first I was worried about him creeping to his contacts, but he's getting much more speed as we practice. This is something that I have been able to practice at home with my 12ft "dog walk" board. If I need to I can switch Lance to a 4otf for his dogwalk, but he really does like the very clear criteria the 2o2o provides.

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