Saturday, December 19, 2009

Four on the Floor...Fix!??!?

As you know, I have been trying out a variety of contact methods in an attempt to come up with a behavior that we both can live with. recently, after I was practicing her 2o/2o behavior at home. I worked her for her dinner, running her over about 10 a-frames and teeters. Later that evening, she came up lame, seeming to favor her left front. So I rested her completely for 48 hours (that was fun) then I brought her to class and just did one run, with no contacts at 16 inches, just to have other people look at her. They thought she looked ok, but I wanted to take it easy with her anyway. That was a wed. class, and I teach on thurs. I usually bring her and work her some after class or use her to demo something, but I didn't want to be tempted to do anything so I didn't even bring her.

Friday we left for a trail, so I didn't do anything with her then. Sat. I ran her and she seemed to move ok, although she jumped her A-frame (so all of that 2o/2o didn't help anyway). I got her massaged afterwards and she said that she was definitely sore, but ok to run tomorrow, and to ice her tonight and give her some rimadyl, and to get a second massage tomorrow. I ran her the next day she seemed fine. She said that she felt some better, but to ice again for a day or two and take it easy with her for a few days. (See Mattiponi Trial)

All of this got me thinking....I already know that if I try to teach her a running a-frame that she looses her mind in the ring. I also know that trying to force a 2o/2o in practice can make her sore, and it still doesn't translate to what I want in the ring. I supposed to not train the a-frame at all?? doesn't seem to be practical.

Then I thought, well I haven't tried 4 on the floor yet, why not?

So I found an old clean run that had an article about training the 4 on the floor (4otf) method, and I read over the steps.

1. I started with a towel on the floor and shaped a down on it.
2. I started calling it "spot"
3. I practiced that for about 4 days then
4. I put it out in front of the bottom of the aframe.
5. I pulled it out about 2 feet from the aframe, because I didn't want her to try to jam her self into position and I didn't want her to leap onto it either. That seemed to be a good compromise.
6. I did some hop -ups with it, saying "spot" and she would usually stop in a 2o/2o, then I would say yes - "spot". She would then go into a down on the towel. I would say yes again to release from that.

Sometimes, she would go down all the way to a down the first time. I just said yes and released. I didn't want to stress her with trying to break the 2o/2o again. I'd done it 3x already.

In class, when I put the towel down, she does a 2o/2o. I started out saying yes and spot again, but somewhere along the way, I just started releasing her to the next obstacle (probably, because I didn't like making it seem like she was doing something wrong).

The next weekend we had our first trial with my new "spot" command. Sat, she did a great run thru, the contact, which I am perfectly happy with ( although I was apparently so happy that I forgot the course. Sunday's was a little jumpy, but it is still a work in progress ( see Cocker Club Trial)

The next trial, was Morgantown, she did really good a-frames there to. I was even able to front cross at the end of the frame. both were really nice run thru the contacts. ( see morgantown trial)

The third trial was Oriole - Aka the kitty litter trial. I did 2 really nice front crosses,and a run straight off, which was a little high. We had 2QQ's that weekend and were 3 for 3 in standard.. that hasn't happened in a while! ( see Oriole Trial)

It should be noted that I also was saying "wait" for the teeter for these last three trials, and they were MUCH better Teeters too!

In class she is still stopping 2o/2o in front of her towel on the word "spot".
It should also be noted that her 2o/2o never had a target or touch word associated with it.

Will this hold up, time will only tell, but I am very pleased with these early results.

Do I need to actually make her stop in the "spot" position in practice or competition? I do not know. Is it a fix....I sure hope so!

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted

1 comment:

primarychic said...

Hello! I am a big fan of your blog and Team Cheetah! I've got a male Golden that could be Cheetah's long lost twin. :) How is the "four on the floor" going. I am currently trying to teach the box method, but when I get a head of steam built up my dog jumps the yellow. I went slowly with him just like you did with Cheetah, but I'm just wondering if I'm wasting our time with this method. When push comes to shove, does the box method work? I like the idea you have here of running off to a spot. Does this seem to be working for you and Cheetah?