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!
Hello Silvia and classmates,
An update on our progress. The snow has come back, but it has not affected Maia too much, like the first time it fell. She is doing much better. I raised the DW a little, so we are now at 3 feet! One more foot to go and we are at full height 🙂 I am going back and forth with having her do a tunnel or a jump that are slightly off to one side and going straight into nothing. She is much better at going straight and I am even able to run slightly behind her.
Sorry, no video this time.
I have a question about the plank and the turns. Since I do not need speed right now, can I teach this in my house? Does the plank have to be 12 feet or can it be shorter? I can set up a shorter plank in my basement and then I can train a few minutes at a time each day.
I think I will continue with your next RC class -- my third RC class :/ so I can get help with turns and getting to full height. We’re so close to the end, yet so far… 🙂
That’s great news! Should be easy from now on -- but then, you never know for sure… Keep working like this, mostly focusing on raising to full height maybe so that you can then start working on other DWs too. Meantime, you can of course start with turns in your basement, on a shorter plank (just make sure it’s not slippery!).
This is Tea’s 2nd session on a new DW. This one is much more slippery and each ramp 4 m instead of 3,6 m as was the length of the ramps on the DW I trained her on outdoors. The height is 1 m. I have difficulties to get her deep down in the contact when she does the full DW. I have been generous on giving her some reward because she is running good, even if she is not doing the contact good enough. How do you suggest we proceed?
Yes, she doesn’t look completely confident and doesn’t extend enough, especially not over the second apex. I think I have this same DW, just rubberised and Le who is 37cm is doing that same 5-stride pattern and is always in, so it should be easy for Tea if she would run full out. Try to set the DW on the longest diagonal to give her as much room as possible (especially at the exit side) and maybe start with a tunnel to give her good starting speed and try running away with a toy to have her drive after it even more. For more confidence, it’s good to reward generously.
In order to plan for our Christmas training, and waiting for the January class to start, I would appreciate your comments on Tea’s last training session on full DW. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
The last one was sure great! I would prefer her somewhat deeper on other tries, so keep selecting for deeper. Once you get nice deep hits, next project would be fading a helper. Try to put a short straight tunnel before the helper with a toy first, then curve it some and then in the next step, have the same person who runs the dog reward her. -- I think that will keep you busy enough till the next class! 🙂
Hi Silvia and classmates,
here is our latest and last video of running dogwalk. (maybe trics will follow 🙂 )
Last because from next week we´re giving to our dogs three weeks off in agility training, including the DW training. We worked whole year so the break is needed now :))) So when we restart, the class is finished.
Silvia, I would like to say thank you because I mean that this class helped us to improve not only the agility skills but whole life 🙂 Kiwi loves to do and to learn new trics and with this class I had to find the time to do it with her. Sometimes it was not easy because I´ve a daughter of 18months… I have also a husband and a house to care about 🙂 But both were great and only with my husband´s help I could go three times a week to our training center to train the DW.
Kiwi loves to do the DW as she loves to chase the ball in full speed. But she also speeded up in sequences or whole parcours. Next year we definitely plan to start competing.
The video below is composed of three parts -- the first one is with short straight tunnel after the DW, the second one with long curved tunnel after the DW and the third one is a combination of both -- in one sequence Kiwi was doing two DWs. And she is doing well I mean.
So Silvia, thank you.
Vendula and Kiwi
Wow, that’s BEAUTIFUL! Kiwi looks great! She will definitely be ready for trials next year! Amazing you were able to actually get to full height within one class and even with the baby! I’m sure Kiwi appreciates your time with just her too! Definitely time for some trick training now! 🙂
It’s been great watching Kiwi’s progress! An inspiration for us all to see how quickly you were able to progress. What a great job with a great dog. I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) have already had to sign of up next class session! Good luck when you start trialing.
Great job! Congratulations to both of you!
Thanks to all!!!! And good luck with your RC!!!
Well good luck to everyone!
We have not been able to continue bc of weather. The indoor idea we tested a few times but it was possibly less usefull than training other things with the same time. We will continue this when possible and next year (on our own or hopefully in a course). Pity there is not one starting for the summer!
Nicole & Sen
I wanted to ask if you thought it was worth continuing indoors with my original board? It fits ok, the full dw board doesn’t really (it gives me no room to move beside it). Its the one here:
It can’t be very high but at least I could try to get her to undersand the adjustment concept.
Sure, you can definitely play with it some and then you’ll see, it might transfer well to a DW when you get to run it again. -- Doesn’t look too tempting in conditions on your photo 🙂 We’ll see what we can do about summer classes, maybe we can make a “been to classes before and have a question” class 🙂
That summer brush up “been to classes & have a question” class sounds good to me… but so does a break to learn other things… however, Stella is 4 now and we’ve stopped trialing to get her RDW trained and the idea of possibly another 5 months going by with no trials… well, I am a little lost about what to do now and how to do it… I feel a little defeated that we did not finish the training before winter… and that our last sessions were so many steps -- after she was doing so so so very well… I don’t know where to go to practice, long drives and facility rentals too expensive—our field somewhat resembles Nicole’s field… but soon it will just be snow… I remember seeing you working on weave poles in the snow Silvia, as long as it is not very much snow, what is your thought about working on RDW training with some snow on the ground??? what about with hard frozen ground and no snow???
I was thinking I should continue with your January class, but haven’t figure out how to do it… perhaps I can find some clubs with runthrus at a reasonable distance away and ignore their courses (and also the other people who I don’t think will like this) but just work on obstacle/DW/obstacle over and over for the 2 minute allotted time… I would have to be a little brave… anyway, we did the DW in sequence in class this week again, and she was trotting and leaping again--out of five tries, only one ok one with a high hit—very frustrating.
PS: I am very excited about your new SPEED video—and plan to ask Santa for it for Christmas… Or maybe instead I should ask Santa for the Advanced Tricks class, thats exciting too…
In my experience, once we have thick permanent powder snow that you mow and flatten down so it is say, about 20 cm thick (otherwise you will kill your grass) you can do anything on it (weaves too). Usually that is what I would have by now. Frozen ground is not good (without snow) -- usually its slippery and the dogs can’t get their nails into it. Mine will run on it but slide around so I don’t allow it. Bigger problem is keeping the equipment from being slippery -- you need to cover it.
I quite frustrated too. I think that my problem is the dogs don’t get what is being rewarded/required. They think I am rewarding running. I think there must be a better way to get them to get this idea. Never have my dogs been so slow to get something as this. Now I am trying an inside setup with a helper to withhold the reward if its a bad run -- lets see if that turns the light on! Advantage of having a 4 kg dog is that its not impossible to work inside, but its not ideal either.
Nicole… this is not our first set back, last spring she was coming along great and then I changed my wood plank for an actual DW rubberized plank and it set us back weeks. It took trying all kinds of things to get her speed back. I despaired. Thought she’d never get it. In the end, what helped was starting over in a new place with lots of room to run and finding the right exciting toys… and then we were back on track and I quickly forgot my despair.
I know she will get this, she had it before she caught her toe… it was so exciting. Your dogs will get it too. I just ran out of time in our country yard. But, now Silvia just made a good point--they run in the snow anyway!! so I will give it a go… Stella actually LOVES running in the snow. It energizes her. She goes wild! I hadn’t thought about that. So if I can keep the equipment from being slippery, maybe the snow will turn out to be a good thing!!! : ))
Hi, I live in Canada and have LOTS of snow here. My two love running in the snow too 🙂 I plan on training the DW and the A-frame outdoors -- what I’ve done to keep the snow and ice off is I cover them up with tarps after I use them. It’s been working really great so far -- no ice and no snow on them. 🙂 Good luck!
Ania -- about the tarps, have you any material recommedations? I notice that the traditional ones (like “oilskin” or something -- not sure what they actually are made of) disintegrate quickly in extreme cold and stick to the surfaces. Plastic weave ones seem good but a little ice still seems to get through (they are not entirely waterproof). We have very bizarre and too warm weather for this time of year. We should already be in the “dry” part of winter -- then I can train outside (temperature willing).
I use the plastic weave ones but I double them up so no water gets through and I layer the tarps so that the water does not run down under a tarp. So far they have been really good and no ice has fromed on the DW. I secure the tarps with bunjee cords and little sand bags. Hope that helps. I can take a picture the next time I am at the field to show you.
No its ok. I also have double plastic and bungee. Seems ok. Thanks!
Well, so far nobody thought of a better way 🙂 I think this way is pretty good and yes, you are rewarding running. I actually think that with the size of your dogs, they should be in 99% of a time if just simple plain running. Did you ever measure their stride ie. how long is from where their last hind foot hits to where the first front foot hits?
No but I guarantee you they can both jump the contact! I’m sure they will get it, just taking a LOT longer than they usually do
Huh, very strange she was now trotting and leaping in class too… It sure is strange, I think something must have happened, like hurting her toe as you said… What if you do some refreshing on just the plank, just to remind her what you want on that DW? And well, until one year ago when I build my agility roof, I did lots of training in the snow -- not on icey one though. Some on frozen ground too, despite we don’t see very hard frozen ground often. They run in those conditions every day on the walks anyway…
yes—I was thinking about getting out the flat plank again! Do you think it is worth (when we get back to the yard) lowering the whole DW contraption again—to 37 inches again where she was running so beautifully? I have thought about this and apart from its not easy to physically do it myself, I am guessing that she will be wonky anyway because there will still be those “evil” apexes… so this is an interesting topic, what do you do with a behavior on an obstacle that develops because of an injury… because this is what must have happened… the only way I can explain her regression
do you stay away from it and hope she forgets? : (
do you proceed and not give it a lot of attention? : /
maybe I can figure out a way to just change its position in the yard (its in the flattest area now) just enough so it will seem different to her… and then I need to come up with a whole new way of working on it, play some games and then just casually add it into the game? I will have to give this some thought. I mean she usually knows when I get the soccer ball and set up the camera--what we are about to do… I need to change it up??? I am just thinking as I am writing… my poor Stella… and it was just a little ding of an injury, but huge in her hairy head!!!!
anyway, I hope I can get some more video up before the class ends so you can give me your reading
I just give them time to forget and make it look completely different by doing just a plank for a while for example. You could also try lowering it as apexes are less pronounced then. Changing a place might help too yes -- worth trying. I sure hope it goes well!
The summerclass sounds like a great idea! I´m a bit hesitant about januari-march too, because I don´t know if it will be a lot of snow here…
Todays session were very short (the military started to practise in the firing range next to us and I decided to quit because Ninja was a bit concerned by the gunshots…) but all three runs were perfect!!! 🙂
I guess I have to fade the ballthrowing at some point, but I´m really not sure that he would run as fast if I don´t throw. He runs really well towards someone with a toy too, but I often have to practise alone. As soon as he is less motivated he uses 5 strides and frontleghits. A bit strange for a border collie to not allways run as fast as he can..?
I probably need to join the next class too!
That’s perfect! 🙂 I think he is slowing down when he is thinking too much, so ball throwing is very good for him. Once he gets really confident about it, I think it won’t be necessary anymore. You can maybe try mixing in a try or two with a ball only thrown after the obstacle, but I would mostly still be throwing -- maybe even including it in sequences and all, but still doing lots of throwing in advance. To me, it looks like you two are almost there already, he just needs some more repetitions of running full speed over it without too much thinking 🙂 And well, dogs are different… He seems to be a thinker and thinkers tend to slow down to make sure they do it right -- but add speed when they feel more confident about it.
I forgot to ask some questions yesterday:
Do you think it´s too early for me to try some angled aproches?
If I do, how many strides would you like Ninja to use on the dw?
Do you think I shall start some turning after dw (we are doing cik and cap on the ground allready)?
In the film from yesterday I sent Ninja around an obstacle-upright about 7 meters before the dw (the same distance as I usually have a tunnel). Today I tried to put the upright a bit closer to the dw (5 meters) to see what happened. The first two repetitions he struggled a bit but then he was perfect again! 🙂
Cecelia: Wow…Ninja looks great!
Thank you, Anne! 🙂
Yay for Ninja, that looks really good now! You can try some angled approaches yes, I think he will need 4 to 5 strides for those, depending on how much angle there is. The turns, I would for now work on a plank away from DW sessions, maybe even on a plank you have at home. Introducing turns on a real DW can affect their extension on straight exits, so I would wait for it a little bit more, but you can do lots of work on a plank already.
Wow, that was really good!
Today we tried some angled aproaches. I don´t know if it went well..? I thought that he would hit the up-contacts every time when he came from an angle, but he didn´t until the angle was quite sharp. I probably have to use the strideregulator on the slightly angled aproaches.
Yeap, down contacts were definitely much better as up contacts 🙂 I like the variety of stridings and hits he is showing now, looks really good to me! I guess you can as well raise it again. Keep the stride regulator for up contacts for now though!
Ninja looks great. I have a couple of questions for you.
1. Where is the stride regulator for the up contact?
2. Are you intentionally always running in front of Ninja for any specific reason?
1. I didn´t use any strideregulator in the latest video because i didn´t think it would be nessecary with angled approaches (but it was…). In my other videos you can se a blue sandbag placed about 40 cm before the dw.
2. I send him to a tunnel or around an upright and run ahead to see the contact. If I would start simultaneously I would never make it to the end of the dw to see the contact!
It´s very hard to see if Ninja hits it right, he almost never jumps or leaps but he has a tendency to overreach and that´s very hard to see if you´re behind (or ahead).
Hi Silvia and classmates:
I’m posting 2 videos. One is of our last full dogwalk session couple of days ago. The goal of the session was to help Tai sort out running the dogwalk to a tunnel, straight off -- session before he was leapy. You’ll see the set-up I used. I’m posting because it went REALLY well. This is one of the only -- maybe the first -- session where every hit was a good one…and some were great! And he was being challenged too! I’m also posting because the sun was in a cool spot and created a little glow around our session 🙂
The second video is our turn training. We had done a couple of sessions on a lower board. This seemed to be going well….do you agree? I only marked the ones where I didn’t reward; all others were rewarded. At one point I tried backchaining too much and went beyond his understanding. Next session, I will try to be better a marking FF, rather than the turn.
Anne & Tai
Great job with that tunnel after a DW! And a great glow too! 🙂 For the turns, I would try to be a little bit more picky… He is often very high… Maybe you can put a mark and only reward for feet below the first yellow slat?
Thanks -- good feedback!
Would you have a video of teaching the dog backward weaving? I’m having a hard time picturing it. Thanks.
You can see the steps at 2:51 of this video:
Here is today’s A-frame session. I’ve been experimenting with approaches and heights to get Tai to consistently use his RF in the second stride on the frame. This is the best session we’ve had -- a combination of relatively high frame (just 4 links below full height/1.6 m) and severe approach. As you’ll see, some hits were high but I rewarded because he was using his RF. His angle of approach explains the high hits, I think. What do you think of his striding? Your advice on how to proceed?
Anne & Tai
To me, it looked very good from the right jump, but not so good from the left jump, maybe that was too much of an angle afterall? I would work with the right jump for now (and set the left one at the same angle) and then move them further out gradually to keep the good striding and get deeper hits.
We had another A-frame session today, starting with the lower A-frame height but in the first few reps, he was getting lots of big air and hitting with only one stride despite the tight angle of approach. It seems Tai thinks he is “super-dog” and can leap tall buildings in a single bound! So, I raised the height of the frame back to full height to see what I’d get. That helped and after he settled in, most of his hits looked pretty good, I thought. At least somewhat consistent!
What do you think?
Anne & Tai
Hm, yes, still not much of a reach forward or hind feet separation, but yes, at least hitting consistently. You can try to keep working like this for a while and see what you get. Hopefully you will get more separation once you move the jumps further back.
Here is my very first attempt at the tight turns on the plank in my basement. Two things about the board I am using: one, it is narrower than a normal DW, and two, the yellow contact zone is shorter on this than a normal DW.
I think she did well, but if there is anything I am doing wrong, I’d like to know before I do anymore sessions with her. I only did ‘cap’ today. Should I do both directions in one session, or just work on one direction per session?
Thank you as always,
Sure, you can do both directions in one session, I only did left on my video so that I wouldn’t need to move the camera towards the sun. Her turns look o.k., but try to put a tape to mark where you want her to hit. For turns, I want them at least 10 to 15cm below of where the contact starts.
Thank you. I will mark the contact zone like you suggest.
A bit of good news -- I went to an agility fun match today, a fundraiser. In one of the runs, the DW was used twice. Maia had perfect RC’s all day! She was fast and did not leap at all. I’m not sure why, but she always seems to perform better in trials than in practices -- she’s faster and much more focused, and now her contacts are really nice too. I’m going to a trial this weekend, so maybe I will run her in the standard run that has a DW to see how she does.
Wow, that’s GREAT!!! It’s sometimes hard to get RC in trials with retrained dogs, but well, at least one problem you obviously won’t need to deal with 🙂 Good luck for this weekend too!