Saturday, January 23, 2010

just contact stuff.....

Well, we did not float away and had a break in the weather so the water did not end up in the house, it was close....but we got lucky. Most of it has soaked into the ground, except a little lake out the sliding glass door, where the dogs potty of course. The whole town was half flooded, I have never seen this much water. There is a LOT of mud, which is making its way into my house, LOL. On the bright side it seems to have leveled right where I set up most of the agility sequences, it was getting some dips, but it seems pretty level now.

I thought I would post a short video of some of the contact practice I have been doing-or planning to do since the weather was not cooperating this last week. I like to find ways to practice contacts without having to do a ton of Aframes-since I do think they are hard on a dogs body. I do a lot of work inside on a contact board, I have one contact board that is the size of my dogs from shoulder to end of their bum to really reward the position and to make that a very high value position, I saw that at an Elicia Calhoun seminar, and the thing is with the shorter board they have to really position their body correctly so they learn a lot of body awareness. I have a four foot long board where I can either prop one side of the board up and practice running into position and we can just hop on and hop off into position. As far as some things we can practice on the actual obstacles I will just twirl the dog around with me between the dog and the obstacle and have them hop into position off the side. I try to feed for their head down which discourages leaping if you can keep them focusing low, and a straight body position and I spent a lot of time clicking and treating for the dogs to rock their weight backwards. Then we sometimes put a table next to the Aframe and the object is to just pop into position, and then I put a jump at the side of the aframe or the dog walk and have the dog learn to jump onto the obstacle and into position.

To get independent contacts I try to back up a few feet if I have gone to the dog to reward the contact position, then I try to sometimes release before I get to the dog if there is a jump afterwards, reward when my body is even with the dog and reward after I pass the dog. I try to make sure not to do anything with my body to cue release this is one release I want just to be verbal. To start off you can walk past them on the contact, then jog, then run, practice front crosses after the contact, pushes, pulls, just getting the dog to understand to hold position until the release cue is given. I try to pop my dogs onto the contact and throw balls, tug as long as their feet remain in position and stop as soon as they move, anything to make that a fun place to be and highly rewarded. I do try to get more excitement into practice so I can try to more closely replicate what happens at trials.

So those are the big things I try to do, but watching my tape, yikes, I did sometimes reward Liz with her head in the air, I noticed when I did it, but that is not a good thing. I was taking my time and I should get moving a little faster, I sure was not training excitement this morning, LOL, and YIKES, it is a Saturday morning, I am doing laundry and it is cold, so I look like heck but, that is what the neighbors have to deal with after all it is my back yard so sometimes I forget to dress up when I am playing with the dogs, LOL.

So not trying to say we have perfect contacts or any huge answers, just thought I would post a few things that we are doing and trying to keep in mind-always seems to be room for improvement with our contacts anyway!!!


Diana said...

I cant believe there is no water in your yard after all that rain. My yard is still a swamp. Im not sure its ever going to dry out. Im probably going to have to replace the sod in places. And its sunny at your house. Im so jealous. Good contact work. I have never seen the jump next to the a-frame before. Diana

Kathy said...

Its weird, there is a ton of water closer to the house, mostly nasty mud now, and the other side of the aframe has a huge puddle, but some of the yard is really nice, hard to believe so quickly after it was a true lake, LOL, but the sun is really nice, it is freezing but I am so glad to see the sun!

Sam said...

I really like the table set up. I know you suggested it to me last week but it's nice to see it in action. I think I'll do that when we practice our 2o2o. BTW, we've started incorporating a nose touch, too!

Sam said...

Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your idea of playing games with Marge to have her crash things down. Thinking about starting with a little castle of plastic cups and shaping her to knock them all down :) Thank you!

Sara said...

Where did all the water go? Glad to see a sunny yard!

What a cool idea, setting a jump up next to the A-Frame. Boy, Liz made it look so easy. She is really a beautiful jumper.

Oh, and I love the idea you gave Sam, about playing a game to crash things down. Really great idea.