O.k., so this is our last lesson and last 3 weeks! This class officially ends on 18th December - with the next class (that will be a repeat of this one) starting on January 9th, in case you fell somewhat behind and want to continue sending videos. There will be a special, half-price option for everybody taking this class in case you want to join January class too, just as many people from April class joined this one.
1. include the dog-walk in sequences, still reward really good ones or really difficult ones, but mostly, keep running as the reward. If the contact is not good, stop and redo. Try to go to as many different places and on as many different dog-walks as possible to get the dog used to everything. When first trying it on a new place, use your dog's favourite set-up, you can also throw a toy in advance if that helps. Again, new dog-walks can be a very easy step for some dogs, but a very difficult one for others. It's usually a problem with sensitive dogs, retrains or long-strided dogs if the dog-walks are different lengths.
2. even if already doing a real DW, let's go back to the table+low plank set-up, in a seperate session from DW training, put a pole at the end of a plank (where the contact meets the ground) and have the dog jump on a contact from the side to wrap a pole. Use your wrap cue first, but then switch to left/right or come/away cues as the pole won't be there for ever. Click for touching a contact with front feet (not for wrapping) and reward from your hand. Slowly have the dog jump on a plank from further&further away, so that he needs to do a stride and then two before wrapping the pole. Don't worry if hind feet are together in this case, your major focus are front feet now anyway, front feet are better for turns.
Gradually start them further&further, use less&less noticeable (smaller and thinner) pole and make a plank higher&higher and then transfer it to the real DW. Tell them left/right at the middle of horizontal plank (can be somewhat later for shorter striding dogs), first do turns vs. straight exits in different sessions, then mix it up. A warning: teaching turns might temporary make your straight exits worse (so still do plenty of those too!) - but in a long term improves them as they get even better understanding on how to meet the criteria at different speeds.
Here is Le's first session on turns and then the rest of the steps shown by Bu to give you a better picture:
As an alternative, instead of teaching turns, you can teach 2on2off (the same way, on a lower plank first and backchaining it, using a different verbal cue) and then use it for tight turns off the DW. Only introduce it on a real DW once your running contacts are good enough.
3. new rear end awareness trick - backward weaving: tell the dog to go into heel position and start spinning as we were doing on the target, then very suddenly stop and step back with the other leg (if the dog is at left side - with right leg), you can also make a gesture with left hand to try to get them to keep circling below the heeling position, eventually all the way around you leg, so that they come backwards between your legs back into front position. If the dog insists on staying in heel position, you can help with the hand a little bit, lure his head out (left for 90 degrees if the dog is on left side) and say back to have them back up in your direction. Step back with the other leg enough to have them back up between your legs. Reward and tell them to heel on the other side (right) and repeat the process. As soon as you get some smoothness with that, stop rewarding for coming in between, always first tell them to come to the other leg and reward at your side in order to avoid having them back up too far - they need to stay very close to your legs all the time.
Good luck to your future RC training and I hope to see you again in another class!
Ok, I hear you went your wrap command to “left”, I have never taught my dog left or right, any creative ways to do that? I can work on that while his toes are healing.
I teach left&right as an easy trick of a spin in front of me. Many people are afraid the dog will then spin on agility course, but of course, dogs are smarter as that 🙂 You can also use it before throwing a ball left/right, when turning left/right on a walk etc. to help them generalize.
What’s going on with Scoot’s toes? Glad to see you guys in class. Eli and Liberty will also be joining you in January:-)
Melanie, Eli and Liberty
Also forgot to add, I hear you saying something when they are just going straight, but not sure what you are saying, are you calling the next obstacle or is that a “go” command? Also I know I am being picky, but details matter, when do you use “left”, (only when there is a hard wrap back, or even when they are just slightly turning left off the DW)? thx again!
I’m saying “ajde, ajde”, it’s my go command and I always use it for straight exits. I only use left&right cues on a DW when the dog needs to do something about it on a DW already (ie. collect some). If the next obstacle doesn’t require collection on a DW yet, I’ll say go-go on a DW and then left/right when they are on the contact already.
Ok, that that is what I thought although I had no idea what you were saying.. 🙂
I’m still at a relatively low full DW height -- maybe 28-30″. Can I just use the downramp on this setup or should I have something even lower?
Also, do we need to have worked through all of Lesson #4 to start this? I have worked jump/tunnels at angles but I haven’t gotten to the step of having choices at the end of the DW yet.
I have a question about repeating the class too. Since the next class would start in January which probably means no more outdoor training for me for that whole class would you let us do a repeat for 1/2 price for the following class in April or whenever?
The reason I like to introduce turns on a different set up (low plank) is to not confuse them with straight exits. But as your dog is so young and won’t be trialing for a while, I guess it’s no problem to use the same set up as even if he gets somewhat confused, you still have plenty of time to clear it up. Do work on it in separate sessions for now though. You don’t need to complete the whole lesson 4 to try it, no, just go ahead.
You can of course take the next class instead of a January one, BUT it will very likely only start in autumn as I’ll be away during summer so much…
I think we have to use the “half-price-option'” of the next class.
We are still waiting for our real DW, so we can´t finish this class with lesson 5. I did some of the “jump-moving” and tunnel things from lesson 4, but only with our low and wide “garden-dogwalk”, and we did try the A-frame one time. But we sure need some more weeks to get into level 5. The real dog-walks which can be made lower are all outside, and when coming home it´s always too dark to go there. Blue did great with the low A-frame, but in some tries (with more speed) he flew over the top of the A-frame and landed in the contact and then made a stride. I thinks he tries to do it right, but has too much speed…so should we reward those tries?
And….can we start with the turns with our “garden-dogwalk” or should we wait for the real one (of course we would first train the normal straight running on the real DW).
You can of course do the turns on your garden DW! You don’t even need to finish the whole lesson 4 for that. But of course, only work on extension and easy straight forward stuff on new DWs! On an A-frame, I do reward no matter how they get to the contact BUT I try to only give them approaches that don’t allow too much speed and too much flying. Once you raise it to the full height and start using it in normal sequences, without rewarding every time, they settle down and flying goes away.
Hi Silvia, I wrote something on page 14 RC II but it didn`t appear in recent comments……..
I found it and replied a little while ago -- let me know if you still don’t find it.
Hi Silvia… we after those sessions with Stella’s wonky striding, we have taken a couple weeks off and then last week went to our class…
I got to run Stell a few times over the DW before class started. She was still all wonky on the striding. No leaping, but breaking into a trot across the middle and resuming the run again after the second apex. (I definitely think its because she caught her rear toe on our DW training contraption at home in CT… she was licking her foot for several days after) Everyone there early for class could see she was worried about where to land her feet around the apexes…
However, then in class on the course with the DW in sequence somewhere in the middle -- Stell didn’t have time to think about those apexes and how to avoid them, she just ran it, the whole thing, just like we’ve been training, but with no frills, no extra toys or treats, and everyone watching said it was a ‘BEAUTIFUL DW’ which is interesting because I thought sequencing it was going to make it harder… This renews my hope!!!
So how to make training mimic exactly that for a while til she trusts our DW again… (I stuffed foam in the gaps hoping that will help)
Very cool she was running it so nicely within a sequence! Maybe you can focus on other stuff for a while now and actually only do it in sequences, to help her forget about it?
So then should I stop and jackpot her “beautiful DWs” in the middle of a sequence or should I make less of it? Is her reward to keep going as you say in this weeks assignment?
In that class, I didn’t stop to jackpot… and I probably should have right then, because of all the trouble she has been having… but one of the course challenges was a left turn off the DW past a tempting tunnel to the weave poles and I chose to work on my handling training rather than her RDW training… Looking back now, I think I made the wrong choice. What do you think? What should I do in the future?
I mostly work on hard handling stuff away from the DW at this phase and still reward the DW often -- not every time, but definitely still reward it a lot.
Hi Silvia & classmates, I finally have something good to post. This morning I trained Saga on the plank on a downslope. Then I gave her a break and tried her on the dw. It seemed to help. When I worked on the plank the first 4 tries were about 15′ away, then 18′ and the last at 21′. I rewarded the first try b/c she put a front foot down, no reward on the second and jackpots on all the rest. On the dw she was jackpotted on all but the second attempt. I plan to continue with practicing both the plank and dw. On the dw, I will start to change approaches as long as her success rate is high.
Thanks again for all your feedback and encouragement. And, yes, we will be continuing in your January class. -- Sondra
Cool! If she keeps running like that, I would raise the DW after a couple of more sessions. Simply because fitting in those 4 strides will be easier on more height. But definitely keep working on a plank too.
I think I found our secret!!! 😀 Last night at class we had a 150 degree (?) turn off the DW. Almost completely back the other direction. It was a fast, straight approach and I tried running, saying GO, GO, just at the beginning, then peeling off to get my body in position for that turn and he was VERY high, maybe not even in. I tried again and it was better = reward. I then tried again and really pushed with my voice, GO, GO, GO, GO all the way, but my body ran off to get in position (I wanted to front cross on the OTHER side of that jump because the course went that way). He NAILED it!!! I did that again our next turn and same thing, perfect!! I think, for Spur, he needs to be pushed to go fast the whole way, even if we have a tight turn. His stride is short enough and he is so sensitive to my body position that he made the turn perfectly. I now think back on some of his misses at trials with turns off the DW I probably wasn’t pushing him verbally the whole way and he collected too much, reading my body making preparation for the turn since I am fast enough to get up there almost always.
I agree, for him it’s definitely better to push and turn then, his strides are not that long that this would be an issue. The only problem with this technique is that dogs are very smart and often can’t be fooled into believing they’re going straight, so go-go-go might not work, they might still be collecting… But maybe it will work for Spur, if you did it three times and the third time was the best, then maybe it will indeed work.
Well, no the first two I tried the go, go only at the beginning, then was quiet and pulled off thinking that would be his collection cue to trun. It was too much collection for him. So, I will still have to experiment, but I think this may be why we have had a couple of misses at trials. I don’t have a turning cue, so I would stop saying go-go about half way and that caused too much collection. Last night I continued my verbal push, go, go, go, go!!! and used my body and that worked perfectly. We’ll see how it goes. I am pretty fast and he isn’t super fast, so unless that changes I think we can manage such turns. 😀
I haven’t trained much in the last couple of weeks. Had a session today where he got to run some straight and also started on turns. He is almost always in the contact, but often high (like the first two reps).
The turns look great! He is still somewhat high, not reaching forward so much on straight exits, but as he is mostly in, I guess you can simply let it be and just jackpot when you a get a deeper hit. If you find a set up that would consistently give you deeper hits, that would be great too, so keep trying different set ups and approaches to see if he has a preference for one or another.
Not much training here lately, I’ve had some sessions at new locations with new dogwalks that have gone alright. I think. I haven’t video taped the sessions.
Today was his first session in a long time and it was much worse on video than I thought watching it live. One was perfect, but the rest was really crappy.. I’ll just have to try again and try to get good hind feet hits. We ended with some turns and that went really well! I hope that I’ll be able to train more now, but it’s not that easy when we have to rent a riding facility for evert training session.
Wow, the turns sure went great! You can start fading a pole! Not sure why and when the overreaching came back, but yes, more of it again in straight exits… That one try was definitely perfect though! I see you try again going into nothing then and yet he doesn’t reproduce it… Was anything different about the toy? Anything that you can think of that would allow you to reproduce that perfect hit? Wishing you a short winter!
The perfect hit was first try in second session. I replaced the jump with a big, visible toy. Did the same in the other repetitions that direction, but it didn’t reproduce.
The session today was much better. I ran him to a toy again and he had some high back feet and some very low back foot. In one repetition I think it’s an over reach from what I can see in the video. My camera isn’t perfect indoors, so you have to guess. I was really happy about it IRL, but it might have been wrong.
Generally, I feel like I’m a bit too happy with everything. I often think it’s ok and that he’s almost always in the yellow, so I reward everything. I think I should reward less and expect better if I want better. He’s got enough drive to not get rewarded every time.
Yeap, definitely time to raise the criteria. I wouldn’t reward 1, and 2 and 7 were somewhat high too and 4 is overreachy. And 8 is perfect! You are definitely getting more of those now!
I’m really annoyed with myself for not being more clear. I didn’t like a few of the repetitions today (didn’t really love any of them to be honest), but he still got his toy all the time. I didn’t really reward him, but I think the difference between good and bad should be clearer.
Turning to the left was really bad today. He had one good repetition, but I hurt my foot and fell crying to the ground so the reward wasn’t very good 😀
I don’t remember, did you try turning left before or was it always right? Just interested if it was a bad day or a bad direction? I’m interested as my other dogs are somewhat better turning to the left, but got turning right pretty fast too, while Bi is MUCH better turning right and had a REALLY hard time turning left and I noticed the same with some other students who had right-preferring dogs.
About straight exits… How about trying a lower DW for a session or two and see if that helps any with that separation? -- It would be really good to find a way that would give you more consistently nice hits.
Tried a low dogwalk. First repetition was a perfect hit! But the rest were not… I got a lot of front feet, probably because he has trouble fitting in four full strides when it’s low. I’m also terrible at seeing what’s front and back feet when I run beside him. It’s really embarassingly bad. But at least I’m not rewarding everything.
Right, now we’ve got the separation, but on the ground… You’ll probably indeed need to just work it out on a full height, selecting towards better hits… Do reward nice front feet hits too though, it’s good he knows different ways to meet the criteria. 10 for example was perfectly good to reward, he makes an effort there to drop that front foot down in order to not overstride the contact.
I hope it’s OK to ask this even though class has ended? It looks to me like he wants front feet so much that he adjusts to do that and loses seperation. Would it be wrong to reward hits like 15 even though seperation isn’t great?
Yes, I would reward 15 too.
Oh and the reason I like 15 is because they are more seperated than the ones on the video 12/17, I think?
Two sessions today, one on low dogwalk and one on high. I was better with my criteria today, mainly because I didn’t get front feet today 😀 I had one really nice, jackpottable hit. He was very consistent on full height and all that’s missing is that damned hind feet separation… I guess I’ll just have to keep selecting the best ones.
Yeap, separation and reach forward are definitely the key here… The class is finish though, so see you in RC III 🙂