O.k., so this is our last lesson and last 3 weeks! This class officially ends on 15th August - with the next class starting on 22nd, in case fell somewhat behind and want to continue sending videos.
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, 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 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.
uh oh. Very hard for me to get an image of most of that in my head. Both the turn training and the backward leg weaving….No worries though. Probably some of my genius classmates will post their efforts and then I will understand.
For backward weave, you can see the steps at 2:51 of this video:
I was hoping to do a video with a pole with Le as I didn’t start her yet, but then she ripped off one of her claws completely and we can’t do anything for 2+ weeks. I used to do it like shown in that video, but moving the jump gradually didn’t give such good results as I got with Bu and La, so this is not exactly how I do it now… -- I go to 180 degrees turns straight away now. I hope it still helps some:
Both those videos are helpful, thanks!
Hi!! My english is not so good and I din’t understan the turn training, I will be waiting for my classmates videos 🙂
Ok, here’s my first crack at the turns, I just did a few on each side to send in and see if I understood correctly what to do. When I first switched to toy my clicks were late at first as my coordination was not so good but by the end I think I figured out the click timing? Is this what I am supposed to be doing? Then Gradually have her jump on the plank from higher up so she has to go down into the yellow before I click…
Plus here is our pee trick progress as well. This one has been really good for us, as it has really helped me understand her whole rear leg preferences. I think it’s pretty easy for me to see that her right rear leg is much stronger. She can easily stand on it for prolonged times and her balance on it is much better than the left, which she has to put her right foot down on the box to balance much more when standing on her left. She will be getting spayed and her hips xrayed next month and I am starting to wonder if maybe her left hip isn’t as good as the right. I don’t think it’s really bad, I mean she hikes 10-15 miles at a time, swims, climbs mountains and has never even shown any signs of discomfort but I can really see how less control of that leg she has with this trick and with watching her jump circling to the left. Hopefully she is just really right footed and her left leg is fine and all these tricks will help balance her out:)
The backwards weaving between my legs is going to be a challenge! Still need better pivots before we can get there, but we are working on it.
Yeap, that’s the first step. I taped it today too, my video is uploading right now, to show Le’s first session on turns (I taped her claw and she didn’t seem to mind the training 🙂 ) and then next steps with Bu. But yes, that’s how I start.
And yes, when you don’t work on it from puppyhood on, most dogs have a strong preference for one leg, so I think it’s not necessarily something wrong with that leg at all. I believe it just needs more practice so that she can use both equally well.
Oh good, glad to know I am on the right track:) We’ll keep at it! Can’t wait to see your video’s of it. I’m relieved to hear it’s normal for most dogs to have a strong preference for one leg, guess it makes sense since most people also have a dominant hand. We’ll practice lots! Her ciks are getting better too, so I am sure all this work using both sides is helping her with that too.
Todays training. This is the 2nd day we are training the full setup.
She is getting more and more speed. Once i tried to catch a ball, but i don’t think it was a success. Static toy behind a tunnel is the best. Now we start with sending around a jumpving before sending to dogwalk.
Another idea for the set-up… As with her, we do want her to fly the apex, you could try this set-up without the table, like a mini A-frame, as that way, the apex will be more pronounced and she will be flying it more and as a consequence be deeper in the contact. Also, I would start curving that tunnel some, so that you can then get rid of a static toy and start throwing it after you see the contact is good -- so she is still getting it after the tunnel, only that it’s a moving one then.
ok. i write from this spot. My computer is dead, so no video this time.
We tried the setup with the dogwalk ramps like an mini A-rame, but Zushi still concentrated mostly on the apex from the upside. Then i decided to make a mini dogwalk in full length. And now she really speeds up. She is not as deep as we wish, but it seems that she has figured uot what to do. I have a short straight tunnel after the dogwalk and now i can run with the reward and only through when its a good one 🙂
So lot of progress i think.
We have tried a short session on the A-frame (150 cm high) And it went very well.
We will join the Running contact 2, to finish our contacts the right way 🙂
Sounds good! I’m sure she will add even more speed and fly over an apex even more once she gets even more experience and confidence, so I wouldn’t worry about it if she is always in now, just high -- just slowly keep adding height and jackpot for the deepest hits. You can also start curving a tunnel some and then eventually add another jump or two after to make it more like a real thing -- and/or sometimes replace the tunnel with the jump, so that she doesn’t get too dependant on it.
Ok so getting pretty frustrated with the running contacts. It is like we are hitting a brick wall at the same time every time we get working at them. We are doing a full dogwalk now, but lowered….and doing horribly. We have a few good turns and then the rest really are terrible. I am trying not to get discouraged, but really am at this point. We should be way beyond this by now, but we are not. She leaps….
We had 2 very good sessions where it seemed we were making some gains, and then last nights session was about 50% good and then todays session only about 30% good. We have not changed anything….same height same dog, same handler….beginning to think we will never get it and I will have the oldest starter dog in the world as we will never get started due to contacts missing. 🙁
Yeah, it’s never good to train RC under pressure to start competing… When I have a student who is under this pressure, I tell them to put 2on2off on DW to be able to start competing and meantime work further on RC and introduce it to trials when ready. Anyway, not sure what’s going wrong, definitely send a video! Also, do you have a way to make her succeed? Like by starting her on top of a down ramp?
Hi Silvia -- thanks I am uploading a video to youtube as we speak -- will post as soon as it is done. I did the back chaining from the down plank….but when she gets the full speed of the full dogwalk is where we run into issues. It is like she is not running full speed when we do only part of the walk. Then, of course, her stride lengthens when she really runs and this is the barrier I am having trouble breaking through.
Then I go back and back chain a bit again and then back to full dog walk and then we hit the wall again. I am not sure how to get her over this hump and have a breakthrough! Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
Hm, that’s very strange. From what you wrote, I was sure she can’t figure out the striding, flies over the apex too much and doesn’t have place for another stride, so she leaps because of that reason… But actually, on most tries, she could easily do another stride (or make the last one longer) -- and yet she chooses to leap… I would first fix that down ramp some more (it’s somewhat rocky), go back to whatever makes her successful, make a big deal out of good ones, experiment some with different forms of rewards (thrown vs. static toy, a tunnel before the toy or not), experiment with your running (try to start by sending her around a pole so that you have some of a head start) -- and try to find a pattern how to make her successful. Also, can you lower DW some more? Please report back after a couple of sessions experimenting with the things mentioned above.
Ok thanks -- this is as low as the dogwalk goes naturally, but I may be able to fix something up with some other type of legs (maybe some sawhorses). You are right as I watched back she could have strided through by adding a stride or lengthening the final one, but she chose to LEAP instead. Tonights session, I did all backchaining, got to the middle of the dogwalk with no errors. I left it at that for tonight. I will experiment some tomorrow with a couple of sessions and be back with a report on progress. Thank you.
Did 2 sessions today with a propped up down plank which stabilized it a bit more. Also did some experiment with different things. Did complete backchaining all turns except for the last one of the day where we had worked outr way back to the front of the dogwalk. One run -- great hit. Stopped there for the day. Still a fair amount of misses, but better I think. She does not run as fast when we are starting from dead stop on the back chain. Has much more speed running into it. What are your thoughts? Did we improve or should I keep experimenting? I am not sure what to do next. I am afraid tomorrow when we go back to full dogwalk we will be back to bad performance….
That sure looks better! Try adding distance gradually now and of course make sure you are making a big difference in rewarding good ones vs. bad ones.
when you start teaching turns off the plank around a pole, do you do only do one side at a time (left / right)? what if they are not solid with the verbals yet? thanks, terri
No, I do both sides right from the start (was too lazy to move the camera to show both sides 🙂 ), but at the beginning, I’m always turning the dog towards me so even if they’re not solid with verbals, it’s no problem. When they get the turning part, I start with turning them away too and by then, it’s good they really know left&right, but you can definitely start with turning as such without directionals on cue.
Hi, This is second training at this height, I`m happy with the results 🙂 we were doing a llitle secuence before the DW, one jump and a tunnel, two jumps and a tunel, two jumps… No more that 3 obstacles
This was first time Acqua on the A-frame, I rewarded everithing because was her first session, What is the best way for the dog to do the a-frame, I wrote which one was my favorite… Is that one correct?
Can we begin with the turns?
We are working on tricks but this one is a little dificult for me to teach 😉
Some very nice DWs!!! Still some leaps, but those that you jackpotted were sure beautiful! Great job! For A-frame, I wouldn’t be throwing a ball in advance as it promotes flying even more. Try to put two jumps at each end and keep doing wrap to A-frame, wrap to A-frame, ignoring the flying and only clicking and rewarding when she does it right -- like in that try you marked yes.
I have been on this set up for about a week now. In the beginning we did not have much success. I changed the place of my reward based on something I learned at a workshop by someone who uses your method. I am using a remote reward or ” manners minder” to click and reward. I also Jackpot with a toy that I throw after the correct performance. I have found that changing the focus or point of the reward has helped with greater contact performance. The speed is still good. If you notice on this video after Disco exits the tunnel he is on the up ramp and leaps to the table. This is something new and unique to this new set up. Please let me know what you think of these and advise with any changes. My goal is to continue this way and increase the height slowly. I will also work on my position. I have noticed when I am really a head and running he will miss the contact. I have signed up for the new class so I will continue to work on improving our performance and keeping up.
Thanks so much!
Sorry wrong video submitted on my last post
I’m sorry, but I really don’t like what he is doing now. He is definitely slowing down: first two tries he looks back and leaps and the last try he is almost trotting… To me, it looks like manners minder is so close that he is already stopping to get the food OR he doesn’t care about it and has no desire to run there. I think you got leapy first stride from the same reason: he is just not in a hurry and has time to leap in the air some. The dog running full speed won’t spend time in the air.
It is of course possible to train RC with manners minder, I did it with La and a primitive version of simple food in the bowl 🙂 BUT she runs full speed for food. My BCs don’t and Disco isn’t either (OR he can’t because it’s too close) -- and I can guarantee you that the behaviour you see now will change into leaping as soon as he will be highly excited about something (like running the DW in a trial situation). As you noticed yourself, it falls apart already when you’re ahead and running and he is in a hurry to catch up. Imagine how much in a hurry he will be in an excitement of a trial…
Okay! I agree with what you said. The Manners minder is about 10-12 feet form the edge of the plank. Should I continue with this set up? He will do the leaping in the beginning with a toy as well. It started to happen when I added the tunnel to the entrance. Should I stop the tunnel.
I am confused about when I should be tossing the toy. If I toss the toy upon releasing him he is running at top speed but his focus is far out. How far should the toy land from the edge of the down plank?
Yes, let’s continue some more with that set up, but no tunnel for now. At the beginning, I toss way in advance and far out, but at this point, you’re probably ready for fading a thrown toy into a toy, thrown after the contact is done -- see lesson 3. That way, you can withhold the toy for bad tries.
Hi Silvia, I don`t understand what you mean with manners minder -- is it a technical instrument (just like Kristin uses it) or is it just a name for a technic of rewarding (may be just like token systems for kids and adults in rehab. I never heard about this before…may be this is a very stupid question but I would like to know what a manners minder is.
Birgit, it is a technical instrument. You hold a clicker that opens the door and dispenses a treat remotely. So, when the dog is correct you click and they run to the device and the treat is there. No click, no treat. Do a google search and you should fine a description and photos. 😀 Amy
uups…thank you, Amy! I thought it could be a method, something based on learning theories…therefore I didn`t try to google it. I know about these remotely controlled boxes for food. Thank you.
Yes, it’s what Kristin uses. When are you ending your video, we didn’t see any for a while… How is it going?
I’ve continued to work with Tassos weak spots on the dogwalk, using a jump-DW-jump set up. Work now with 3 different focus:
1. Handler running behind (first jump at easiest distance from DW, second straight forward)
2. Changing distance between first jump and DW (second jump straight forward)
3. Moving the obstacle after the DW to the side (first jump on easiest distance from DW)
My plan is to work with sessions like this during this week, and then start sequensing like described in lesson 5. For now I use four type of rewards, small reward is just throwing the ball (high hits but still in with at least one paw), medium is 1-2 treat and praise when he returns with the ball (good hits, lower half of contact) , jackpot (very low hits or good hits when the challenge was new or difficult) and superjackpot (very low hits when the challange was new or difficult). No paw in the contact zone earns no reward. Have also tried 7 new dogwalks in different locations with setups like decribed above and with very good results.
Have done 4 sessions on A-frame, rewarding anything that is in the contact and 2 stride on downramp, and jackpot the ones that looked more like running (from the video I realized I wasn´t that consistent with the jackpot-criteria). It seemed most important to first make him to take 2 strides on down ramp before looking for anything else so he doesn’t hurt himself. Got rid of most of the one strides, but there are not much of hind feet separation when he takes 2, maybe due to a somewhat short stride because I start him close to the A-frame? Looks like there is a little more separation with more speed. I had planned to take your advice and keep running until I saw a really nice try in the session I taped but the weather was so hot and I didn’t want him to get exhausted, will try that next time. Still he is in most of the time, so is there a problem with those performances?
I have planned to try a few competitions in september because after that there are no Ag 1-competitions in my area before february or march next year, and I just don’t want to make such a big deal of the agility class debut. There is a risk I never get there otherwise, just waiting and waiting for the right moment 🙂 But do you think it’s to early? There might be some missed contacts depending on the course but I don’t think that will ruin anything?
Because of the competitions I’ve decided to wait with the tight turns training until october, so I don’t screw up anything with the straight exits. Or do you think it will be more difficult to teach tight turns if I wait?
Do I need to change anything in my training, something you would do otherwise? Or anything in the video I should be concerned about?
Annika & Tasso
Looks great!!! Definitely ready for a trial in September! But yes, it’s probably better to start with turns after that, it’s no harm if you do it later, even if you wait even longer as that -- it’s never too late, but it can sometimes be too early. Not sure why he keeps feet together on A-frame, but as he is always in, I would let it be for now and simply jackpot when he shows better separation. Let us know how the trial goes, but I’m pretty sure he won’t have any problems!
Now with more speed he is getting perfect hits on the A frame about 1 dm deep into the zone, but still no tendences at all of split hindlegs, so I will give it a try with a really low A-frame and see if I can get the running behavior and then maintain it when slowly raising the A frame over a week or so. Afraid the behavior with feet together will be established otherwise.
I’m having this exact problem with Sage on the A-frame. I’ve only done 2-3 sessions and she’s in the contact most of the time even at full height but her feet are completely together. I’m in the same situation as Annika with an upcoming trial. I was thinking the same thing, go back down in height and raise it up slowly. What do you think Silvia? Is that what you would suggest?
You can try, but if striding takes them in every time, I actually just let it be, hind feet separation often comes with more confidence even if you don’t do anything about it. But yes, going down and working on confidence from there doesn’t hurt either 🙂
It’s so nice to hear that. I was afraid it would only get worse if her feet were together. Is it okay to click good hits even if her hind feet are together? How/when do you teach turns on the a-frame?
I don’t train A-frame at all, so I also don’t train turns after A-frame at all 🙂 I just call and turn, it’s no big science to get a perfect turn after running A-frame with just handling, no training. A-frame is really easy to handle. And yes, I would reward any good hit and jackpot for hind feet separation.
Mercy with trick 5
Great, what a nice, fluent figure 8 backwards! Great job! Time to start stepping back with the leg less&less so that he needs to turn around the leg even more.