Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Contact progress, always a work in progress
So I was a bit bummed and have been the last few days, just feeling a bit depressed but I made myself get up off the computer and go outside and work with my dog,...Just what the doctor ordered!!! I always feel better after that.
I thought I would just post a video of how the contact retraining is going for Breeze. Originally both of the dogs, Lizzie and Breeze were trained to do the 4 on the floor contacts, or modified running contacts. I used Ann Crofts methods but I did it BEFORE she published her revisions, so I had some of the problems with those contacts that people predicted I would. Liz could do the Aframe in two strides, she hit once at the top of the yellow on the upside, she leaped over the apex and hit above the yellow on the downside and then jumped/fell into a gorgeous 4 on the floor position, LOL, leave it to Liz. So obviously this was not going to work for her and she was going to kill herself, so it took forever to retrain her to a 2020 on both contact obstacles, but she is doing killer contacts now.
Breeze was doing well with the 4 on the floor,she has more self control and is not as much of a dare devil, which is nice....She did partially tear her ACL on the dog walk and she was hurting herself repeatedly, so I had to do lots of rear end awareness things, lots of games on the dog walk, lots of exercises and I FINALLY feel safe having her on the dog walk. She is doing well, but I decided to do a 2020 because I felt that would slow her down a bit on the end, have her focus a little more on the end and the little slow down and thinking could possibly keep her safer. She LOVES the 2020 but when she gets excited, I do not know if she is just not thinking about stopping early enough, because she is getting closer and closer to the end....or if it is hard with her hips to stop herself or she just needs more experience to learn how to control that body and speed. I think she is just not prepairing herself in time and is not predicting the stop early enough, which just means more practice. Anyway, it is not doing too bad and if I really can not get a nice 2020 I think she will at least do the 4 on the floor and I do have a plan B, so I feel good about the whole thing.
As for the Aframe, Breeze was going up and over the Aframe and doing a 4 on the floor but it was weird looking with her laying sideways parallel to the end of the aframe. I figured, hey, it isn't pretty but it is working so I left it like that. She was stopping and striding nicely down the Aframe and people might laugh, but what the heck? The last few weeks that deteriorated and she is barely striding through the yellow, and I think with the criteria where she is sideways it is just too easy for her to barrel down the Aframe and make her contact without having to stride through the yellow. I really worry about her hurting herself, so I have went back to the new training steps Ann Croft outlined in Clean run and using some stride regulators. Up until now she has had trouble controlling her speed on the way down so she could get a straight down at the bottom, but she is doing it now!!!! I am pretty happy about that. One thing that is working really well for us is placing a toy several feet in front of her, that is working so much better then when I was just using a jump to release her too, so now that is working so well, I will think about releasing her to a jump and then a toy, but right now it is keeping her attention forward and off me.
So it is not a finished product...but, I think she is really getting the idea. Doing these retraining when a dog has already really learned one behavior and I try to change it is HARD!!!
MY NEXT DOG, I am going to think about all this stuff and train it exactly like I would like to start with, that is so much easier,....but I have learned a lot, so...can not complain about that.
Of course as I pulled out the bumpers the words of Breezes dads person rang in my ears...LOL,....when I was first training the 4 on the floor Tracy predicted I was going to be hauling out all sorts of equipment and props, LOL, so yep, guess she was right, glad she does not read my blog to know I am admitting that, LOL, but actually I would tell her that and I probably will because she will probably get a good laugh out of that.