So... Here is the plan. As agility is easier to show as to explain, you'll be getting your homeworks in video form. You'll always get some new assignments, but you need to keep practicing the old ones too - we'll be checking back on those here and there, so don't forget to keep working on those!
1. restrained send to cik/cap - the purpose of this exercise is to play a nice chasing game, while teaching great sends, distance work and commitment - see how early I can start running in the other direction when sending Le to the jump.
Things to pay attention to:
- height: If you only did cik&cap on other objects so far, start with a jump now, but without the bar for first 3 sessions: and then put the bar VERY low - max. 5cm (2 inches) for smaller dogs, 10cm (4 inches) for BC size and bigger. You can then add some height every 5 sessions: 3cm up for small dogs, 5cm for bigger dogs - SLOWER with young dogs! If you already did cik&cap with more height, do this exercise on your normal height, send a video and I will tell you if it's o.k. or you need to make it lower.
- distance: Start the dog very close to the jump first and then further&further every next try to slowly add distance. If the dog turns back to you (as Le does once in my video) or waits for you, start closer again and add distance more gradually.
- angle: Note from which angle I bring Le to the jump and in which direction I run away to reward. The purpose is to teach them to jump close to the wing, NOT in the middle of the bar! That's why I always do this approach FIRST and do lots of it before trying any straight approaches.
- speed: You can't expect much speed with multi-warps, but you definitely want it now. Restrain the dog, wait for a good pull, let him go and run away for them to chase you&the toy. Make sure the dog is rewarded when still moving - don't stop and reward: run and reward! 🙂
2. If the first part goes well, you can also do some figure 8s + chase it game: it's the same game, only that you use two jumps now and run from one to another, sometimes still rewarding the first wrap, sometimes 4th, sometimes 2nd, sometimes 5th, sometimes 3rd... Note the angle of the jumps and the distance between them: you want BIG distance to get good speed - something like 10m. Again, you want the jumps under this angle to make sure the dog is jumping close to the wing, not in the middle of the bar. DON'T do figure 8s on one jump, it teaches the dog to jump in the middle!
3. restrained send to a tunnel (obstacle discrimination!) + come to hand vs. go game
Restrain the dog very close to the tunnel, as he is pulling towards it, say "tunnel, tunnel" to them: pulling in the direction of that thing is what you want when you say "tunnel" - and then let them go. Slowly add distance. Later on, you can add more obstacles (jumps&contact) close to the tunnel to make the discrimination harder: only say "tunnel" when the dog is pulling in the right direction, you can feel it if you hold him. You do the same with jumps: call cik&cap and release to the jump that is first the only thing around and then add tunnels closer&closer. The goal is teaching obstacle discrimination AND actively pulling towards obstacles you call (as opposed to hanging with you, waiting to take them all the way to each obstacle).
To train even more things at the time, when the dog is out of the tunnel, either call to hand and when he is at your side, either do a front cross or a shoulder pull (see the video) and reward for closeness - OR say your magic "run FAST" word and throw a toy ahead when the dog is catching up with you - meaning that you're moving in both situations, do NOT stand still when you send!
4. independent weaves
If you haven't started weaves yet, set 12 poles in two rows (left row must always be 60cm/24inches closer to you when you stand in front of the channel in order to teach them correct entries), at least 1m apart, restrain the dog at least 3m before the channel, throw the toy through and release. As the dog is running to his toy, sometimes just stand back, sometimes run after him, on both sides, sometimes far, sometimes close, sometimes run and stop, sometimes run and turn etc. The purpose is to teach the dog to ignore your body language when in the weaves and complete the task. Slowly switch to a static toy 4m after the channel, bringing the two rows closer&closer as you practise independent performance (I'm using bowls with treats with Le as she isn't too excited about dead toys... - but I quickly switched to a toy, thrown after she is out then to get more speed). See the video for some ideas on what to do when the dog is in channel. If the dog already knows the weaves, send the video of how independent it is. If it's not, go back to the channel.
Wow--It’s back to training! Thanks so much for the video demos. It’s so nice to have a clear picture.
Nancy and Nero
For Cik/cap, we are still doing it around a table leg or a single pole. She does not seem to understand the cues yet without me directing her with my body/arm. Is that ok? or should I wait until I get her to understand the cues independantly of my position (which is what I want in the end)?
Also, for restraing, the only thing I can do with Maia, is put one hand on her chest and I push against her, trying to excite her and then I push her back when I release her, is that ok? I will video tape this tomorrow and show you.
Looking forward to another fun class!!
Sure, no need for knowing the directions for that exercise as it’s obvious because of the body language! The important thing is staying close to the wing and committing well to it. And yes, it’s perfectly o.k. to do the push on her chest instead -- you definitely don’t want to restrain her if she doesn’t like it! You could also start from a stay, but I think the way you describe is better -- if she is o.k. with that, of course!
Hi silvia, Welcome back, you really had nice vacations 🙂 I have a question, Acqua learned the weaves by 2x2 metod, she is still missing the entry when I’m running, and she is no so independent, what should I do? Begin with a chanel or change to 6 weave poles?
Video whatever you have now, I can see better where you are then and can advise better.
Now, that might be a silly question, but I’m really not familiar with this method -- but from your question, it sounds like she can find an entry with you moving if you use 6 poles, but not when there are 12??? Doesn’t make sense to me, why is that? Also, do you do all original training with a static handler or where does that problem originates from? I do everything, static and moving handler, right from the first session on, so I never had this problem… -- and to solve it, we need to know the “why” for it.
Just want to clarify re. 2x2 weave pole training. One of the strenght of this method is finding the entry no matter what and a dog doing the weave poles independently. For that reason I am redoing my dog’s weave pole training by starting from scratch with 2x2’s. Ana it’s all about the reward line in this method. I made the mistake of throwing the toy too far away and not always straight (off reward line). IMO you might want to start from scratch again -- any method you feel comfy with.
Silvia: yup the handler should move, be static also right from the first lesson.
I need to clarify Silvia. For the weaves do I need 12 poles in each row, that is 24 poles in total or 6 poles in each row?
Oh, no, sorry, you need 6 in each row, 12 all together.
Hello Silvia. I will going on vacation and will start this program on July 13. So we will be always two weeks behind.
No problem! We’ll have a 2 weeks break in August, so you can catch up then! Enjoy your vacation!
The video really helps! I want to go out and practice! Unfortunately we had big thunderstorms with 15cm of rain over the weekend and soccerfield and park are soaked and muddy. I hope it will be dry by tomorrow or I’ll have to go to the training center (indoors).
Between Puppy class and the start of new class we have been playing the “restraint game” in all variations I could think of and lots of wild tugging. Buddy loves it now!! the value for toys and games with me is getting higher and higher. Sometimes he still takes off with the toy, but not as much as before.
Sounds great! Keeping my fingers crossed for a better weather!
I am excited to have a new fun to do list to play with! I have a question about weaves, Emily is 11 months old and I am not sure if I should wait to start training the weaves until I can more quickly move the poles together as she figures it out, or if it’s a good idea to work the open channel starting now which shouldn’t be stressful on her body and just work on getting all the different handler variables and work on different angle approaches until she is old enough to start pushing them in tight? What do you think, what age do you start your pups on weaves?
same question, Shape is 7 months old now…
Hm… You could start some to give her a feel of it -- and then leave it alone for a while. The most important thing is to not do tons of repetitions, it’s repetitive actions that can hurt the dog -- not running through a channel here and there.
I start at around 9 months, but then take it easy, I don’t do it very often -- maybe some more at the beginning (four sessions per week maybe), then not at all for a month or something -- depends how well it’s going. If it’s going well, I don’t want to stay with the same width TOO long. I do put them together VERY slowly (a little faster when it’s still very wide, but then as little as possible), so that I have time to work on all other stuff, stuff that is really important (like entries and exits), but don’t like to work on the same width for too long as they start to like it so much they don’t feel like turning when it start to be necessary.
Hi, Silvia. I had the same question, but I’m guessing I need to wait a bit longer than others because Da Vinci is a bigger dog???? Is that right? He is 9.5 months now/ 48 lbs./ 23-24″ and growing.
Yeah, you’re somewhere as Laura with a 7 months old BC… You can try some, but then leave it alone for a while.
Excellent video Silvia, thanks a lot!!! You sure know how to keep us busy with fun stuff for the dogs and me to do
I am having some problems with naming cik&cap too 🙂 I am so terrible with left and right 😉 To my embarrassment I am thinking forever if my dog is pivoting to the left or right by looking at her or his shoulder and giving that a thought too. Oh well…In order to help ME with this I am teaching my dogs to pivot left and right in front of me on cue. I really need to teach them one behavior such as a right pivot first till it is solid on cue before we move on the right pivot. This is me and I hope this will help me.
I hope this is fine that the dogs have to go the extra route to help me.
I love the tunnel exercise – that’s gonna be fun with my tunnel crazy dog. Maybe you remember how much Byuti loves running through a tunnel. Esprit is the same and Funky loves tunnels already. Maybe I should use a jump or the table instead of the tunnel for discrimination as the tunnel is a very strong and self-rewarding obstacle for my dogs.
Well, you could also use just one word for both directions. In 99%, they can read the direction from your body language anyway. The important thing about cik&cap is collection, tightness, commitment, sends. At one point, you do want to use a tunnel as an off course possibility when teaching the discrimination, but you can set them VERY far away first and then SLOWLY bring them in -- slowly enough to have very high successful rate -- ideally close to 100%, considering how much fun tunnels are for most dogs.
THANKS Silvia! All the pivoting with Byuti surely paid off. She is tearing downt the wing nearly -- nice tight turns. I will increase distance but of course also start with the bars.
That’s what I always say it’s about body language. I can stand in front of the weave poles and say tunnel the dogs take the weave poles and probably mumble to themselves “lady get a grip”.
Do you mean one tunnel at the very end of a field and no other obstacles and check if the dog knows to do?
Sounds ready for a low bar! 🙂 And oh, no, I thought we’re talking about how difficult obstacle discrimination will be for tunnel-loving dogs 🙂 so I suggested to introduce off course tunnels when you play cik&cap games on a jump -- first in another corder of the garden and then closer&closer to the jump you’re using for cik&cap game.
Here’s some video of my 3rd session of part 1 of the lesson. I include mistakes… I have a few questions:
1. Do you treat Le to get her to release the toy? or just get her to release.
2. Should I add a low jump yet or get even tighter?
I love having your video to refer to. Thanks so much.
Nancy and Nero
Very cool, just move that jump for a quarter of a circle, just as you do for figure 8s -- that’s the angle you want to work on, NOT the easy, straight approach 🙂 For figure 8s, put the jumps even further apart and stay more in the line between the jumps: the more you push him out before the jump, the less he needs to work that turn and the less he learns. If both goes well, you can add some height, but don’t forget on tightness + we want even more distance on sends + start to leave earlier (move away from the jump faster after the send) to start working on commitment.
Thanks for your video too, I think it will help other participants!
When I teach releasing a toy, I use treats, but then not anymore. I still treat her for bringing the toy back though as that was VERY hard for her -- I don’t do it with my other dogs that didn’t have this problem. Also, because of the way I used a ball for running contacts, she thinks that if I only throw a ball, but don’t treat, things weren’t perfect, while treats after a ball mean it was definitely good.
I have a weaves question too as you’ve already answered my cik/cap question. I’ve been working entries with Spur, but haven’t trained many full sets. I have weavamatics at home. Is it okay to start her on those? It’s what I trained my Pyr Sheps on and they both had beautiful weave. Right now I’m having her run the WAMs with them fully open using short poles. Hopefully that will work.
One more question. What type of harness are you using in the video? Spur does not like to be restrained by her collar at all. We’ve tried lots of cookies when touching her collar etc and while she will let you hold her by it, she get distracted from everything but the collar when you are holding her. It looks like the harness you are using has a handle which might not be so bad for her.
Yes, Le is the same, she hated being hold on her chest (as I usually restrain my dogs), so I tried a collar and she didn’t like it any better -- but she was perfectly o.k. with a harness, I chose this one because of its handle. It’s Hurtta, Finish producer -- not sure if you can get it in US, but I think CleanRun sells something similar.
Great. I found a similar one on Clean Run and buying it will donate money to the USA World Team. So Spur gets a new harness and the World Team gets a few dollars. Win Win.
Thanks -- I just ordered one from CleanRun too for Maia. Hopefully she will do better with that than me pushing on her chest, which she is not fond of.
If so, simply start from a short sit stay or with a trick (maybe sending her around your legs?) for now.
I sometimes use V weaves later on, but don’t like to start with them from several reasons, the major one being that the dogs don’t learn to run through as straight as possible, but are instead often learning to jump over the poles and later on in and out… If you don’t think that’s what you’re getting, then it’s o.k. Also, I think entries are harder to see and learn with open V weaves as with open channel, but again, if you like what you’re seeing, then that’s fine. It’s really not so much about the method you use as it is on how you apply it… I saw some brilliant weaves from dogs trained by various methods… And I saw some terrible styles, entries and independence from each of those methods too… So I guess it’s not so important which method you use as it is to really think of everything right from the start and make sure you’re getting what you eventually want.