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.

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