A Chilly Midsummer Week

I have been pretty busy with teaching the past week and it will get worse in July. It’s getting cooler and we’ve had some rain here. I hope we get she sunny weather back in July, when we’re having a lot of camps. Thomas is away for a couple of weeks (working on his masters degree, studying search dogs). I’m home alone with Shejpa and Missy and we’re leaving for Sweden after class tonight. Missy is entered in an obedience trial on Friday (wich is Midsummer Eve, a national holiday). I have a good feeling when we’re training at home, but I also know that we’re not as well prepared as we should be. We havn’t done any serious competition-like training and havn’t trained enough in new locations with strange dogs lately. Missy is unfortunatly sensitive to those kind of things. My goal for the trial on Friday is to have a happy dog who keeps focused and confident.

Shejpa and I have done some more training on our running contacts. I have lowered the plank back to where it’s resting on the table. Mostly because I’m training on my own, but also because I made some other things more difficult. Since I’m training on my own, I can’t have a person with treats for Shejpa to run to. The best way to solve that was to let her run into her soft sided crate where she get’s a treat if I marked the correct behavior on the plank. She loves her cratebut she did initially have more misstakes with the crate compared to when she ran to a person. I think some of it has to do with focus and speed. It is easier to get focus and speed to a person and I need to do some value building for the crate between short sessions of running the plank. She is more likely to look at me when I’m ahead when I’m the one delivering the treat. That made her miss a lot in one session. She’s better when I’m behind and she’s very focused on the crate.

I have noted (from watching videos) that a lot of people training running contacts are doing the exact same thing through their sessions. They are stationary, standing in one spot and not changing their own position at all. I wonder why that is. Most people would agree that changing your position is important in all other agility training (weaves, stop contacts etc.). I also see how much my dog is affected by different body positions and movements, and I wonder if all the nice running contacts I see on video really are that good if you take away the lure and start handling. Any thoughts on this?

  • reply Daisy Peel ,

    Hi there,

    I stumbled across your blog and have enjoyed reading it! I have been training Solar to do the running contacts, and wanted to respond to this thought of yours. I know that I did a lot of training while stationary because I wanted to make sure Solar could extend and run the length of the board regardless of what I was cuing. I know I can *get* a dog to extend by running faster, but I wanted to be sure he knew that his job was to extend down the length of the board even if I’m not running along, and to focus forward.

    I did use a food machine at first – not quite the same as a lure, as the food is not delivered if the behavior is not achieved. Later, I simply clicked and threw a toy forward, which I still sometimes do.

    Anyway, that’s why *I* was stationary for at least some of the training…I can’t speak for others, though 😉


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