Saturday, March 26, 2011

so when you can't train one contact behavior...why not train 2?

I have been trying (again)to train Cheetah to do a nice running contact. I am working through Silvia Trkman's method (for the most part) and it was having sketchy results so far. I have been working on it since about 5 mo. now. About a month ago, I was at a Silvia Trkman seminar and she thought it that it would just take more time since she was a retrain, and I wasn't stopping competition. The next weekend I was at a Bridget McKnight seminar and she was concerned with the lack of q'ing that we have had in the last few months basically just over contacts.

This has been complicated by the fact that we are just 1 QQ away from our MACH2. So needless to say, I am getting a little frustrated at this point. So Bridget suggested that I think about reverting back to a 2o/2o...not something I really wanted to do. But I thought I would see if I could get her to do one while we were at the seminar. So I took Cheetah inside, asked for a couple of hop-ups, and of course she nailed them. I put a target out and asked her to "touch" it. she offered several very nice nose touches. I repeated using the target over the whole aframe, saying "touch" as she came over the top. She stopped nicely and we had a little party.

When it was our turn to work outside on the course, I asked Bridget if she wanted to see her 2o/2o? She said sure...we ran the course ( targets out in place) she nailed them. So this was confirming to Bridget that if she had a 7yo dog that was doing so well on all other aspects of the course, except the contacts, she would probably go back to a 2o/2o. Hmmmm....I see the logic in that but I don't really want to. I agreed to think about it and we would talk later at a trial coming up the next weekend.

I started thinking about it and I just didn't want to throw away all of the running practice that I had been doing. Then I remembered a website I saw a while ago. It talked about training both! BOTH....that's it! I could work on the running in practice, throw in some stops, and use the stops at competitions until I liked the running better at home. That way I could take all the time I wanted to to train the running. Now to find that website. A youtube search eventually got me to the original site and other site of someone doing the same thing.


I started playing around with it. I didn't want to give up her "broken 2o/2o" movement by just doing 2o/2o I hate training it. So I decided that if I can teach her left and right and she can respond on the fly, then she CAN learn to respond to touch or run on the the fly too. I started by being very systematic with it, only going one way to stop and the other to go ( based on the same way I was sending her from the tunnel to run already) I also put my target out ahead of time to ask for the stop and her frisbee bowl behind the jump set up for the run.

I ask for walk-it for both, but then quickly followed by the words "run" or "touch". If I am asking for the run - I also encourage her by going go go go in a high pitched voice. BTW she Doesn't need that on the AF or else she gets a little too hyped.

this is a session from a couple of weeks ago, that shows you that she was already starting to get the distinction. I am now going in the the same direction and randomly asking for both, more runnings than stops (because they are more fun!). I think that this will actually translate to her listening better to the cue on course in competition more so than if she always assumed it would be a stop. I also think that her running is getting better ( hit wise) and I don't feel that she is slowing down or acting uncertain about anything. So I see this as a win win situation. I will work harder on the stops than I would normally. I also will be able to mark her for making the wrong choice better. I can definitively say to her that was NOT a touch vs well but she DID hit yellow?!?!

This is the next day - I thought it went better than the first.

I'll have to record another session this week and show you how we are progressing.