For more on running contacts, it's best to join running contacts class or get a Running Contacts DVD. This page is meant for those who just have a quick question or want to show their finished product - you are very welcome to do so, it still brings a smile to my face when I see a beautiful running contact, it's something addictive about it. It is on times frustrating as well... - but it all makes the end result even sweeter. So... Happy training, everybody!
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Looking at European Open videos, it seems to me that La did indeed step over contact zone on dog walk.
I know that it will most likely be pointed out by all running contact doubter once again, as sure fire evidence that running contact can not work, conveniently forgetting that most 2-on-2-off dogs can miss contacts every now and then also.
Anyway, do you have any theories about what happened? Did the surface had something to do with the performance (it did seem quite slippery)?
No, the surface was great, it was Smart’s dog-walk, our favourite one 🙂 , so it didn’t even cross my mind she could miss it, it’s very weird, I have no explanation. But my contacts statistic from this EO is still 5 from 6 or 11 from 12 if you count A-frame too, so I guess running contacts can work 🙂 . La was my study dog, I do many things differently now as I did 9 years ago. We are still not perfect, but I guess that would be too boring anyway 🙂 .
Hi Silvia, I started training running contacts with Ruby. We’re having fun! He can’t believe his luck lately -- first channel weaves and now this. He just runs straight and he gets toys to chase 🙂
I had to put two 30cm poles at the end of the plank or he would start on it, but end on grass. Yesterday he ran 80% of his runs on the plank and today 90%, so I think he got the idea 🙂
I have two questions.
We are starting only 1-1,5m from the plank, so I know I need to increase this distance so he will have greater speed by the time he reaches it. I am wondering what to do afterwards:
a) fade the poles
b) make sure he’s running, not jumping, then start adding angle, and only then fade the poles, when there is visible difference between plank and the floor
I filmed the last two sessions and I noticed something weird. His hind feet seem to be normally separated for the last stride (just as much as for the strides before that), but his last stride is higher and longer. I can understand that it gets longer due to acceleration on the plank, but there is no need to make it higher. Should I worry about this?
Here are some examples from today. Unfortunately you cannot see the plank because the camera is too low, but if you look closely you can see the poles at the end. I was clicking for every run on the whole length of the plank.
I wouldn’t worry about running at the side of the plank, the problem goes away once the plank is raised. You can keep the poles till then. But yes, the last stride is not exactly as you would want… It seems to me it’s the anticipation of the toy, I wouldn’t be throwing it at the end of the plank until he has very good forward focus and some more understanding of the exercise. Just throw it in advance (restrain before the plank, throw, let him run).
As for channel, you can close it fairly quickly to about 20cm. Then, you need to progress pretty slowly.
This morning (before your post) I was experimenting with different rewards -- food after the plank (first 6 tries), throwing the toy, but starting at different distances from the plank, and throwing the toy in advance (tries 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20 -- you can see the toy thrown on the video). Tomorrow we’ll do all tries with thowing toy in advance.
I was still clicking just for staying on the plank, but on #18 I decided not to reward him because of jumping and the next run was much better. Yay! 🙂
I marked each run as a jump or “Nice” if I thought it wasn’t a jump, mainly so you can tell me where I got it wrong 🙂 For the #12 really don’t know if it’s a jump or not.
Here’s the video from today:
Okay I’ll stop rewarding the highest and jackpot the lowest. Yes, she will be medium -- she measures 15 1/4″. We are doing Cik Cap too. Very beneficial for her. I will be buying the video to get some more tips.
We added some serious speed today! 🙂 Mainly because I had a helper to restrain Ruby 5m before the plank. I will work towards sending him around an obstacle, but right now it’s easier for him to figure out what I want if someone holds him. His striding improved a lot with greater speed, and I think all tries except the first were running.
I am a terrible judge of his performance while we run, but I see from the videos that his best runs are those in which his feet hit the plank twice. I will try to listen for that pattern and see where it gets me 🙂
I started mine today. I finally got a plank but it’s not perfect…it was the widest I could find (9 inches) and it’s 2 inches thick but both the girls didn’t seem to have a problem with jumping off the end so thats good. The only thing was not staying on the plank to the end. I remedied that by putting a traffic cone on one side and something else on the other…then they stayed on the plank to the end so that I could mark their running behaviour over it and once the cone etc..were there to keep them on plank, they were successful everytime with the looks…I’ll film one of their future sessions for a better watch. I wish I had more room for them to get even more speed up though….
I got some footage of the dogs running on the plank. I’m trying to make the best use of the little space available. I’ve set the plank back from the beginning of the lawn to try and preserve enough space for the dogs to leg it after their balls after the plank but you can see there’s a step right there behind the beginning of the plank so they can’t run up to the plank from the other side to get even more speed. Once I can raise the plank as high as that, I can use the upper lawn for them to run at the plank from….
At the moment, this means the plank isn’t perfectly level either…just can’t do it.
What do you think to the dogs efforts so far despite our limitations? I don’t have an option on windows movie maker to do slow motion but when I was editing it, I went through them slowly and there’s a lot where they actually touch right at the end of the plank even though it doesn’t look that way normal speed….even though, I’m only worrying about them running and not jumping at the moment….sometimes it’s hard to decipher whether they actually jumped or not.
Any tips to improve things appreciated..
HI Silvia. Do you have any advice about the above video? Wondered whether you’d missed it but I want to know I’m not doing anything wrong before progressing. I started laying the plank on the upper lawn in the background and throwing the ball down into the area I’m in during this video. The dogs have more room to run but have to come down the step you can see. Doesn’t seem to bother them too much, especially Wren. I’ve even been able to put a bit of wood about 2-3cm thick under one end of the planks and they’re still running, not jumping, so far.
It’s hard to see much from that angle… Side-angle and slow-motion would help a lot…
Ok, I’ll get more footage when they have their next session. With our agility club show yesterday, work today and a 10-8 shift at work tomorrow, I can’t train them for this everyday. Does that matter?
I can’t do slow motion as I say….my video editing thing doesn’t seem to include an option for it.
We’ve love our Sylvia Trkman board! We’ve been training with your board in our little cement backyard in the city since April and this summer in the country we finally figured out a good platform system of stacking storage boxes filled with water for stability — we are just getting up to full height. We’ve had several interruptions in our process, little injuries and just life, but I also have had to keep lowering it again, because of this thing she does I need help with and wanted to ask you about: Stella tends to take a larger stride at the end of the board. Its not exactly a jumping launch, but it could be. Her back feet ARE separated, she’s running, but its definitely a bigger stride and she’s pretty high in the contact zone or can clear it completely. I started experimenting with SOMETIMES putting a little red fuzzy squeaker on the board--about mid-board--or a plastic baggie of the end at the bottom to get her to rethink her striding and take more even running strides down the board and it seems to work. But, am I making a big mistake? How else can I get her to stop the big stride or leap at the end. Keep starting over lower? Sometimes starting our session on a flat board before I put it up to current height does help, reminds her the feel of running the board evenly… but we have had much frustration. Below is some recent history:
Sylvia Trkman can you help us?
Can you put your board on something longer that would allow her to get more speed before getting on the board? Or maybe just try normal dog-walk? I have this feeling she runs best with plank on the floor because she runs the fastest there. From at stand still, she doesn’t get enough speed. Did you try throwing a toy in advance?
ok--thank you!! this IS what I have felt too, that she needed to be running a length (maybe across the dog-walk) to get the speed and that she was only getting up to speed toward the end of the board and it was resulting in these big strides/launches at the end… but mostly I have not worked on the contacts training on the DW because I thought she was not really supposed to be working on it yet, not until she had the footwork perfectly on the board up to full height first!
It will take some figuring out now… (as we don’t have daly access to a dog-walk) what I can use to put the board up on that is longer… and that will fit now that we are back in our small city back yard…
I just wanted to show you how our Contacts look like -- maybe I do something wrong or You does and I don´t see it 🙂
You is a 9 months old Shetland Sheepdog 🙂
Great, You’s contacts look great! Make sure to also vary your position so that she doesn’t get depend on your position.
Thank you very much! I will do this and when we get to the whole dogwalk I will post another video 🙂