Friday, December 31, 2010

baby steps...

I did two training sessions with Cheetah over the last two days. I continued to backchain her across the crossplank of the dogwalk. I put the table at the very beginning of the plank and had her load on from there. She started off a little rough at the beginning yesterday but she ended it well. Today, I repeated this set up and she started off really good, more confidence and some really good striding. Unfortunately, she had a high hit that I marked, and her next attempt to fix it was a big jump. Her next and last rep was better than the jump, but was about the same as the 8th rep. So all in all, we were about 7 out of 10.

I suppose I will stay here for a couple of more sessions, which I won't be able to do until I get back from the MADNESS trail this weekend. We shall see how she does on the contacts this weekend. She had two really good dogwalks in class on Wed. I was at least able to handle her like she really had a running dog walk.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Transistioning to the real Dog Walk....

Tuesday evening I took apart the picnic table ensemble and put together the whole DW. I was noticing (as did Rosanne) that she was basically bouncing the table because of it's shorter length. This is a concern since we know she is not going to have a 1 hit cross plank once it is a 12'. So I added some more motion to the table set up, in one session, which went pretty good. Then I set up the whole dog walk. It's set at about 28". I did one session that evening after the private lesson I gave to Julie and Splash. I didn't tape that session, but it was very odd.

I tried to run her over the whole thing, just to see where we were. She trotted down the down plank! ARRRGGH!!! I tried it one more time, and she actually started to stop for a 2o/2o.....WHAT?????? So, I just finished the session with several back chaining reps just to get her driving back to the target. I ended it there...sigh!

Yesterday we did two sessions, which we did tape. They went much better than the day before and the second session went much better than the first.

I took Cheetah to class tonight and we had a dogwalk in the the sequence. The course had a 270 from the left off of the dog walk. I handled it the first time as a push, which meant that I had to bust it up to the front of the DW to get the FC in so I could have her on my left to push over the jump. It was perfect! The next time I kept her on my right, but the time I saved by sending her I was able to get to the end and blind off of the DW. It was also pretty good. I may have collected her up a bit, but not too much.

Over all I am very pleased with our progression and will continue to backchain some more today, and tomorrow before we head off to MADNESS trial. The good thing about this trial, is that it is Team only, so even if she faults the DW, it will not be the end of the world. I purposely did NOT enter Friday's GP and Steeplechase classes so I would not be tempted to handle her contacts too much...THAT was hard for me not to do. I am such and addict! I will keep you posted!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

All I want for christmas is running contacts!

The snow melted off of the "Dogwalk" and we had two sessions. As I stated earlier, I fixed the 2" height difference and that really seemed to help her striding. I taped the second session ( almost to dark to tape) but she was a very good girl, and while one was a little high, she was 13 for 13. She had also hit all of them in the first session today...I swear!

This is first time I had tried using the clicker with this, I usually use it alot, but I didn't want her to think too much about what she was doing and found it was easier for me to just mark verbally. Now, I think I can add some precision to it with the clicker w/o causing too much thinking....I hope!

Here is the latest training session.

I added the up plank to the table set up from the end of the last post. I tried her on it one time that I didn't tape about a week ago. For the most part she did ok with this, she had a couple of really good hits. I think her striding was thrown off because she was trying to avoid hitting the spot where the 24" table met the 26" picnic table and that was probably close to were she would naturally put her first stride. Her solution was to take one short stride and then clear the picnic table and land on the down plank. I think she thought that was too hard, so she did manage to figure out a second place to stride on the picnic table.

After this session was over, I added some more foam pieces underneath of the carpeting on the 24" table, this now makes both of the tables even. I will tape another session of that set up as soon as the snow from this morning melts off of it a bit more.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Running contact Journal thus far...yeah I know I am way behind!

After USDAA Nationals, I talked to Rosanne DeMascio and we had a couple of lessons were we just tried to get Cheetah to run, it worked some, but I figured I should go back to the beginning and really try to do some of the Trkman foundation steps. Last February when I got the new rubberized DW, I started it, but I didn't have very much room in my basement to work on it and it didn't seem to be working very well. So as I am want to do, I ended up reverting back to a 2o/2o and trying to muddle through with the contacts. I really worked on her teeter and that is making good progress, but I don't think we will ever be completely done working on that.

Anyway, I first tried to use the electronic touch board that I have, and that proved to have limited success. As both Silvia Trkman and Rosanne pointed out, too much thinking on her part is not what we want.

So I played around with a couple of other things, and then I got out my teeter plank and propped it up on a cinder block and ( at first with the hit it board, then later sessions without it. I like the ones without it much better. The other thing that I think really made her think was the target out in front. She thought she was being proofed. So I spent a couple of sessions ( not taped ) where I introduced her to a frisbee upside down like a bowl with some kibble in it. ( She loves working for kibble - freak that she is!) then I held her collar and revved her up and said "ready - ready - get it! I did that for her dinner a couple of times and that seemed to get her out of the proofing mindset!

Then I ran her over the see saw plank on a cinder block a few sessions, always giving her at least one cookie already in the frisbee and throwing several more in if I liked the rep- if I didn't she got 1 cookie and I said "nice try - try again"

Then I put it on a 16" table with her running from a tunnel. I did that 2 different times, one at the love on a leash training building and the other at Hunter Mountain Farm where I teach a couple of days a week too. I liked that one of the boards had slats and the other one didn't, because I didn't want that to be a factor.

I have been putting foam ( the puzzle piece type flooring foam) underneath it to help stabilize it, since she is NOT going to run over a plank confidently if it is wobbly.

The next session I put the table up to 24" and tried the same set up, but her confidence went down since she smacked her leg trying to time the jump up with the next stride forward. so I didn't do too much with this set up.

I have decided that she needs more room to run at this height, so I placed my 24" table at home up against the picnic table, added some old carpet for traction and added a jump to send her to an viola! a working set up for this height. I am still putting the target out about 15-20' out and putting some kind of treat pre-loaded and then following up with more if I like the rep. I am not moving too much my self yet, mostly because I have to send her to the loop before I can put the treat down, then by that time she is on her way back and I don't want to be running towards her while she is running full speed down the plank.

My next step is adding the up plank to the picnic table set up and start to do a little bit of turning off of it. I don't want to go too quickly with that, I want the running full tilt to be pretty set before I start asking her to do any collection on it. I will also add a jump between the down plank and the frisbee, so she gets used to looking for obstacles after and not just the target.

I promise to keep you posted more frequently.