Running Contacts

FAQ on Running Contacts on LoLaBuLand website covers a lot on how to teach it and answers some most frequent questions. But as I improved the method some by then, definitely read questions&answers here too and/or, even better, join running contacts long distance class or get a Running Contacts DVD.

You’re welcome to post your videos here, tell how long it took you to get to full height, problems you encountered and of course: how much fun it is to train them:). Videos are very welcome, it still brings a smile to my face when I see a beautiful running contact, it’s something addictive about it. It is on times frustrating, like for example when your puppy thinks jumping off the flat plank is a must -  but it all makes the end result even sweeter. So… Happy training, everybody!

1,259 thoughts on “Running Contacts

  1. Hi,
    My dog, Rozz, had perfect RC on the dogwalk until I this spring. He now jumps every now and then. And when we hit the contact he hits it with his back paws and not his front paws( like this:
    ). The plank board I trained him with is 540km away at my parents house.

    He is only 2 yrs old.
    He went from (dont mind the handling…):


    Now I have swallowed my pride, and asked for help.
    //Tobias & Rozz

    • Hind feet are great, better as front feet actually. But to know why he is missing, I would need some more info… Like several slow motion videos of the misses (and some of the hits) to help me see a pattern -- I can’t say much from one miss and we need to know the why to know how to fix it… What I do see is that on that try that he misses, he is slowing down on a top plank and then his striding is off and he misses. If all his misses are from this reason, I would recommend training on many different DWs to build his confidence and speed on new DWs. Is he missing in training too?

      • Our training has its ups and downs. Sometimes he misses almost all the time and other he hits them spot on every try, except when I throw a ball too soon. He has missed two times of six on competition

        • That’s still not enough info… I need the why. Tape it, put it in slow motion and study what is different in his striding on his misses vs. hits. Find his best approach, his most difficult approach etc. Also, what is a too soon thrown toy? Didn’t you practice RC with a ball thrown in advance? It’s important he knows how to hit even in the excitement of the flying ball/trials! A toy thrown in advance should be the easiest scenario, no?

          • I cant get my movie making program working. But there is still great news :) I figured it out! instead of throwing the ball i just lay it on the ground several meters away. in 2 months he have missed the contact 2 times in training + competition.

            When I threw the ball, he slowed down so he could see if I was throwing the ball or not.

            Problem solved ;D

  2. Hi Silvia :-D
    Wondering if I could get your view on this video?
    I’ve started training Edge’s running contacts and I’m wondering if you think he is over reaching on this one?
    Just an update on Liryk too while we’re here :-)
    We were going great guns in competition but unfortunately while I was away at the WAO she injured herself with a grade 1 tear of her iliopsaos muscle, so she’s resting for the next 8wks :-( I wanted to say thankyou for your puppy class as I really believe her flexibility and core strength from all your tricks, has saved her from a complete and more serious tear. Thanks again for all your classes!!
    Megan, Liryk and Edge :-D

    • Great to see Edge again, I see he did some growing! :) His DW looks good, that’s not an overreach no (overreach is when hind feet hit unnaturally far after front feet). What he is doing here I call “dropping FF down”. He is going for 3 strides and would normally miss, but then shortens the next stride to throw
      that FF in. It’s actually a great sign as it means he understands his job and can adjust his stride in order to hit, but it’s not the easiest way to hit, so not the easiest behaviour to maintain. So hopefully, you get some other type of hits too? If yes, all is good :) If not, I would change his approach to change his striding and get some more variety.

      So sorry to hear about Liryk’s injury, I hope she is back soon!!! And I hope WAO was lots of fun!

      • Thanks Silvia!
        LOL yes he did grow quite a bit :-D
        I looked back on the other videos of that session and he does give a variety of hits, back foot 3/4 of the way up the blue contact and back foot at the very end of the blue, as well as that front foot hit. Will change his approach though to see what else I get, thanks!!
        WAO was LOTS of fun :-D Though I did miss not having my own dogs to run :-) It was great to see so many awesome handlers and their dogs though!!
        I’m confident Liryk will be back in no time, she’s very unimpressed at the lack of running :-P
        Megan, Liryk and Edge

  3. Hi there Silvia. We have started all over. The video is of our 4 th session on carpet. It is almost 6 m long. I have not be rewarding, ( just throwing the ball) but starting from good spot that gives us the best hits, actually just trying to learn to SEE RF !!! And i don’t think i see any OR at this point? I think i am getting there finally, with SEEING that is, but would like to know please which type of hits to start rewarding. i think it should be RF but know you have said FF is ok too but don’t want her to go back to FF only. Should i stick with the carpet until i am happy that i am seeing RF well and rewarding correctly? Thanks kindly

    • Great, no OR!!! I would stay with the carpet until you can see and JP RF yes. Normally, FF are fine too yes, but knowing her OR history and FF preference, I would R only for FF and only JP RF hits. 8, 9, 10 were perfect -- keep this starting spot and make a big deal out of tries like this! And once you can see it well, switch to plywood with carpet over it!

  4. Thank you. I shall carry on at it, can i ask when i re-watch the video, i see some of her hits are 1 high FF and then 1 low RF do you reward for these or should i just look for 2 FF and R, and 2 RF and JP? Thank you kindly.

  5. Hi there Silvia, we managed 1 session yesterday. I am very happy that I am finally starting to see it, (not all yet but almost) and now I rewarded this session as I write in the video! Do I do a few more sessions like this one or is it time to put ply under? Do I still keep it as wide? Do we then just do the same as we have done with the carpet as 1st step with ply/carpet over and for how many sessions? Thank you kindly.

  6. Hey Silvia

    I have a big competion problem, because the germany rules say Disqulifikation for that.

    You can see here (Aframe)

    When I repeat the Aframe, then he made this

    It is not on every Aframe but very often. And in Training he do that never, wherever i trained with him.

    Now he is 23month


    Nicole, Deav and Kite
    He has learned the Aframe with two bars, but for 2month we train without bars.

    • Why would that be disqualification??? Because of jumping the top??? You could try to handle with some collection cues (deceleration, turning into him) to take some speed away, but I really don’t understand how can they disk. you for that -- another stupid German rule?

  7. Hi Silvia, I’m just about to start training your RCs with my young dog, Niobe, as 2o2o really isn’t working for her due to various reasons, definitely not through lack of trying! and we (my trainer and me) feel RCs would suit her way better.
    Just have a question on getting the full speed running first -- she does pretty much everything at full speed but will not drive for a toy (she does tug but won’t retrieve or chase -- if its not in my hand its not exciting), chase a ball, or drive to food, she’d drive to a jump or tunnel though (as her whole world seems to revolve around them but she does self reward with them -- one of the reasons 2o2o doesn’t work for us cos stopping in a course to her is just unheard of! and once they’re in the mix you can forget any toy or food interest whatsoever). So what would you use to get that full speed in a case like that in the beginning?
    I can see your system will help build her confidence at getting the down (currently she will jump off the top plank just before she reaches the down on a DW 60% of the time -- on A-frames she seems to worry when she goes to go over my shoulder height and will either try jump into my arms or rushes to self reward on a jump, gets the down contact 85% of the time). But does them better with distance handling. She’s sensitive but bold and impulsive -- quite a handful at times haha probably sounds like a disaster but she does listen and follow directions very well in courses etc.
    So it’s back to the beginning for her and contacts!
    Thanks :)

    • Sure, you can use a tunnel for her to drive to instead of a thrown toy. I do find it important to have the chasing drive too, so I would work on that separately, building it from tugging, using a long tugging toy so that you can put in elements of chasing, then progressing to a throw-able toy on a long string and tugging with that and then fading the string and making a chasing the beginning of tugging.

      • Hi Silvia -- just a wee update, Niobe is now hitting her RCs 95% of the time -- like with all obstacles she prefers to be driven from behind so most of the misses are me getting too close or ahead which causes her to change her stride into what I call hyper-speed -- in that mode everything gets demolished!
        I know you don’t use crossovers over there but we do here in New Zealand -- how would you incorporate the turn at the top with a running contact? would you train the equipment as a trick rather than an RC?
        Still working on the chase drive :)

  8. I retrained Krusher from 2o2o when he was just a little over a year and a half old. At that time all we had where the instructions that were on Silvia’s sight and a video camera. This is the end product!! Not to bad but if there are any suggestions to make it better I am all ears!! Krusher will occationally miss (usually taking out the last stride). I am currentally taking the running contacts class with my BC that I am retraining as well.

    • Looks great! Try to find a pattern in which situations he might be leaving out that stride and then specifically train those situations, adding difficulties gradually. Try different exits and approaches, some speed loops tunnel-DW-tunnel etc.

  9. Hi there Silvia, before we carry on I would just like to check if we are doing it right please. We 1st did some sessions with ply wood under carpet and she started getting it really nicely so we moved onto 2 DW planks, side by side, under the carpet because I could not get the ply wood stable enough. I have kept the carpet longer so it forms a soft edge to get up onto the new raised height and I have softened the off edge too. This video posted is our second session (4 July) and it did not start well but I think ended really well? I don’t see any OR at all? I also did not R FF because I think if I do she will go back too it, and not use RF which she got really nicely at the end of the session? The vet wrap unfortunately gets dirty as it is winter and very dry, but it does still help to see it. I am very happy that I am also seeing it so much better, it sure helps!!! :-) Do I do some more sessions with the same results and same set up? And then? Do I set up the whole DW flat with carpet over, and start running the full DW? Thanks kindly.:-)

    • Cool, no OR! Knowing her problem, R rf only is o.k. yes. You could next raise it by the help of the hill/slope. If not possible, you can next go to up plank to down plank and then to low DW yes.

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