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.
We need your advice.
When Motja is running on full speed,she gets great in the bottom of the zone.
But there are sessions when it hits is not very deep, approximately 30 cm from the edge, does not get- it very rarely.
But for not very deep contact we don’t click and reward,then we have to repeat again and again to achieve a good hit,then somewhere on the third time Motja was bored
and a little stressful (not running at full speed.)After DW at a distance of 6.5 meters we have a jump and after jump we reward a dog delicacy (in socks) at first play, then take out the sock and give a treat ), because just a toy for this dog not a good motivation.
Reward a dog for not quite good to us getting into the contact zone? Or anyway to click and give one piece of delicacy, and for good and deep contact the jackpot?
Do I need to stay at the beginning of the DW,so dog run herself forward?
While after jump is a toy,she is run on full speed, but as only there not a toy,she stop on contact and waiting me.Should there be a toy always? (After jump)
If failing stresses the dog, don’t let her know it’s a failure, keep running -- just do a wrap on the jump you have set after DW and run it again. If the dog is stressing or lacking confidence, that’s never good for running contacts and you should avoid it by all means -- also by giving one little piece of food in each case if necessary. I wouldn’t click the bad ones, though. And no, you don’t need to stay at the beginning of a DW! Just run with her! And no, you don’t keep a toy there for ever, you need to change it into a toy, thrown after the contact, as described in lesson 3. To make the transition easier, try to not be behind of her at the beginning so that she is not slowing down.
This is Liryk’s first attempts at turns 🙂
It seemed to start out well, but with yesterdays session (not videoed) with the smaller pole/stick turning to the left, she actually seems to be trying to jump the stick? Instead of wrapping it.
The other interesting thing is that it doesn’t seem to be a problem for her turning to the right. :-p
Should I stay at the bigger pole for longer when turning to the left? so she has a better understanding, or just not reward the jumps and see if she “works” it out?
Thanks Megan and Liryk
Of course, you don’t need to fade the pole that quickly, I just wanted to show all the steps in my video, but I will actually go back some for Le’s next session on turns. You can use a bigger pole for several more sessions. And maybe add more distance (ie. more steps on the plank) instead. For some dogs, one side is much easier. Bi was much worse than what I see on your video and while she turns great to the right, left is still not perfect and has always been difficult for her…
So we made it to the full height dw (finally), but seem to hit big issues when I change anything. 🙂 So started back chaining the full height dw to help her out. We did 2 full days on just the down plank (at the top) until we had near perfect sessions of hits……then today we moved to half way across the top plank. We dropped in hits to 45% 🙁 Yikes. Here is a video. Any suggestions based on what you see?
But… Was a low DW ever 100% when coming with full speed? I think you need that first, before raising it… Because well, she is not really running on this video, her hind feet are together and her speed is not normal… I think you need to get good, fast and reliable performance on low DW first…
Silvia… Do you begin the turns with the cik & cap order and the change to another one? when is it time to change the order?
Yes, I first say cik&cap to give them a hint what to do with a pole, but then in second session already, I change to left&right.
I also have a question about cik&cap. Since we’re only using it for a short while at the end of the dw do I need to teach my dogs a different word for each direction or can I simply teach use a generic “wrap” command as the direction will be obvious because of the dw and pole position? Thanks 🙂
Sure, you can go with wrap! I do recommend you then switch to directionals such as left&right though as you want to be able to turn them in both directions, towards or away from you.
Oh, that brings a good question……when do you teach the turn away? From the start, or get them good turning towards us really well first? Spur doesn’t know directionals, so he will be learning them during this work.
I only start turning them away when they understand what kind of striding you want on turns.
Ok that makes sense. Thanks. 🙂
Hi Silvia, I don`t know if I got the correct idea about teaching turns 🙂
Yeap, that’s the idea, but I wouldn’t click (or at least would try not to 🙂 ) everything you did… -- like the try at 0:42… That one and a couple of more were not good, the rest is o.k.
Not sure I should do much different with Spur? He hits with both front and back, but always lands front first. His turns seem perfectly fine, so being pickier seems unnecessary? And, as you know, with Spur if I am too picky he will start to wring his little paws and worry. (I know the board is wobbly, I’ll secure it better next time) His hits might change as I bring him farther back and get more speed and raise the board, but maybe not.
Yeap, those hits are good enough, time to try a smaller pole and starting him further back.
Hi, Silvia. I’m not sure where to post this. I went out to do some work with Da Vinci using food and he was running strange as well as not eating the food in the manners minder. He would eat the jackpot food, but enthusiasm was very low. So, we ended things and played. Well, then I walked near the planks with balls in hand and he jumped right on ready to run. So, just to see, I tossed some and he was running again. It wasn’t pretty, but he was running. He slipped off a few times and wasn’t hitting the contact zone, but only really leaped once. If my toss was bad, he would come off the side. I only did a few to see if his enthusiasm for the ball lasted. He was really having fun. So, I’m not sure what to do with that. I know you’d rather have them run for a toy and apparently we have built some good value for the ball away from the planks. What do I do? We are still at the same height as our last video posted in Lesson 3. I think we are somewhere between 3 and 4 as far as training goes.
Sure, you can use a toy if he would prefer that! It’s perfectly o.k. to switch from food to toys and back.
Do I need to back up for him to get used to running nicely for the toy or do I just lower criteria at the current height until he understands? The toy is more exciting so his performance isn’t as good or consistent.
Where do I start with the toy? Throwing it before he runs or as a static reward since that’s what the food was?
Is he o.k. now running over the single plank to food? If so and it’s new, I would do some more sessions with food first and then switch to a toy, to not change too many things at the same time. If he is still not quite o.k., I would go to a wider plank again and try to go directly to a toy, thrown after the tunnel/jump as by now, he probably pulls nicely there in anticipation of the food after it.
We have made some progress. This is from our 2nd session today. This is her best side. Seems we have trouble if I am on the opposite side, she doesn’t do as well and I don’t seem to see as well…but this looks pretty good I think? This is simply from the top of the downramp. We did manage to get good on low dogwalk, but when we switched to high dw we had more issues. After reviewing my tapes I found that my rewarding was inconsistent….things happen so fast when running the full dw so went back to clarify with back chaining,. This is the result. Thoughts?
I would go back to low DW if it was good when doing the full thing and then raise it VERY gradually if necessary. She will learn more that way as only doing the down ramp. I resort to it when things go wrong to have something to reward, but I don’t do tons of it and try to get the speed back as soon as possible. I think the major reason we’re having problems here in a first place is because you did most of the work with no speed involved and we were therefore not able to get the reach forward and hind feet separation that we’re going for -- and that’s why we always get into trouble when adding speed… So I think adding height and taking speed away won’t get you anywhere. We desperately need speed first and then add height. I would go VERY low and focus on speed, reach forward and hind feet separation first.
Hi Silvia 🙂
Just wanted to say a HUGE THANKYOU!!!! Before the class ends. Liryk is now on a full size dogwalk and I’m soooooo grateful for your advice, because I REALLY believe that you’ve helped make her dogwalk so much better. I’ve just started putting her over new dogwalks and I’m hoping as her confidence grows she’ll run JUST like she does at home 😀
Still working on our turns but hopefully we’ll have those by the end of Running Contacts 2 🙂
Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!!!
Megan and Liryk 🙂
Wow, those are perfect!!! And what a hind feet separation! Really beautiful to see, great job! I’m sure you’ll get the same performance on new DWs too with more experience… -- How is she now on new DWs? Leapy or just higher? Turns can take a while yes, but it looked to be going in the right direction on the video you last sent.
Thankyou!! again 😀
I’ve had her over two new dogwalks in the last 5 days and for both she is high (pretty much her original striding) I’ve tried to reward everything to start with and for the last couple of runs for each session she starts to do the striding I get at home, when I then have the BIGGEST party!!!
I’ve kept it very simple with just one jump at the end. Hope this sounds like the right way to go.
O.k., cool, that sounds perfectly good for a start. Keep working on different DWs, definitely keeping it simple and using the set up she likes the most.
hi silvia -- here is some recent work. thanks, terri
I don’t see it so well from in front as I do from the side or from behind, but looks like she is pretty much always in, though sometimes somewhat higher as ideally? For turns, I like her style turning to the right, but not that much turning to the left… -- Some of those, I would not reward… Try to only reward the best ones, so that she can learn what you want… -- I know, easier said as done! 🙂
yes, she is mostly in, but sometimes higher than she had been -- just since i started doing turns on the dw. when we only work straight, she hits deeper again. she does move better to the right -- even tho she does all her herding circle behavior to the left. (?) i wasn’t sure how to proceed on the plank with turns -- she really isn’t giving me one or two steps, she seems to be just trotting over. a couple of my bad rewards were b/c she moved a little faster, i got too happy. 🙂 she has no speed off the plank, so i returned to the dw. should i continue trying to get tighter turns (like 180) as i fade the pole? also we are having no success with the backward weave starting from a pivot. any other suggestions? thanks, terri
Yes, it’s hard to get good speed when working on just little portion of a plank and turns only. But you can pretty soon add more distance and speed. I also sometimes throw in some straight exits with a toy, thrown in advance here and there to make it more fun. But somehow, you need to get to 180 degrees turns at one point… You cand continue with moving the jump, but at one point, you will need to get an extra stride and probably front feet… And yes, you can start making the pole thinner and lower when still adding degrees to the turns -- and then reintroduce it if necessary when you get to real tight turns.
For a backward weave, you can as well try it with some luring. The easiest is if you stand in a corner so that she doesn’t have many direction options, ask her to flip from front to heel position, turn her head out (away from you) with a lure, move the other leg backwards to give her a bigger gap to get through and ask her to back up, reward for coming through and then ask for heel position on the other side.
i have started getting better turns (tighter) off the dw by rewarding in hand to tug. i have used a smaller and shorter pole. i sometimes throw in some looser turns to a jump, and some straight exits to a toy. it seems wicked is figuring it out, tho sometimes hits very high, which she had stopped doing a while ago. so far she has not started creeping, which i was worried about. i have to be cautious that we have plenty to reward, since she is so soft, but so far she has been eager to continue. is this when we may have temporary setbacks but just need to work thru it? i’m feeling anxious that this class is ending. do you suggest we continue with rc2? if so, will there be a way to track our original classmates? i remember the many, many comments at the beginning of the session, and i’m not sure i can keep up with that again! i will try luring for the backward weave. thank you, terri
August class is much smaller as the first one and many participants actually started in this class, so I think it won’t be as active as the first one. But yes, you are definitely almost there anyway. It’s normal that introducing turns confuse the dog some and give you some higher hits… Try to still do a separate session on just straight exits here and there to keep those low. Unlike as with 2on2off, I never saw any creeping as a result of teaching turns, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much, but yes, definitely keep the reinforcement rate high enough to keep it fun.