Monday, March 30, 2009

Darn contacts

So as it turns out, we're going back to 2o2o contacts. This weekend was a contact – DISASTER. A-frame crappiness I've come to expect but the dog walk? Of all things, deej knows the dog walk. Soooo, its back to targets and stopping on everything.

This morning we went over to the club and put down the targets and it was like instant perfect contacts. We'll practice there this week and on the contact trainer at home. Then at the trial this weekend, if he jumps the contact I'm pulling him out of the ring.

Especially on the dog walk, we've always had stopped contacts on it.
But I feel a lot better about going back to 2o2o on the A-frame, for one thing he already knows how to do it. The criteria is super clear and easy for both of us. So, just gotta get it in competition and we'll be great.

Save for the contact debacle on Sunday we did freaking awesome in standard. Got jumper Qs both days and even placed 3rd on Saturday with a 31 second time. Usually that would put us around 7th but at a 1-judge show on the weekend of nationals it was good enough for a ribbon.


  1. Awww, the contacts are such an issue. I did 2o2o with my Pin Heads, but they started to really bum out about it and their performance got slower and slower. I decided to switch to running after about 3-4 years of trialing with 2o2o. Used Rachel Sanders box method and even borrowed a hit-it board for a little work with that. Now I simply use the "Sand-box" almost exclusively and always in practice. I have considered fading it and Rhonda Carter suggested going to masking tape, but we are having such good success now I hate to try something different at this point. With Spur I might fade to masking tape before we start trialing. He won't be ready for a while.

    Colby will still, on occasion, blow a contact on the dog walk in a trial without the box, but Roscoe just gets it. When I say "Hit It" he knows what I mean. I do slightly adjust my speed at the end, but he rarely misses it.

    I have been pleased with the sand-box method. Rachel doesn't actually instruct that on the dog walk, all her info in print is about the A-Frame, but she has been a BARK camp instructor and the last two summers she and I worked on it on the dog walk. She may some day put out something about using it on the dog walk, but right now she doesn't have that and doesn't even suggest it. Still, it is working for me, so I use it.

  2. Nice, I'm happy its working for you, I'm sure it's user error on my part the months that we've been doing it there really hasn't been a sense of DJ "getting it."

    I was trying it and have been working that darn box since November, did all the flat work etc...and had some success in trials but it just wasn't clicking in Deej's brain.

    Likely if we went back to the flat work and then slowly slowly slowly transitioned to very gradually raising the A-frame it would work but doing all that again just frustrates me.

    I can't help but think it may just be reinforcing him for springing off the equipment which he loves to do and I think he thinks about that more than where he's supposed to be...I don't know, something for someone smarter than me to figure out!

    I think if I try to train running contacts again it will either be a. with a trainer who trains them or b. using Sylvia Trkman's method possibly -- I think that might work with DJ and keep his boingy-ness to a minimum.

  3. I used Sylvia's method with Spur. I seriously ran boards for months and increased height SO incrementally, but once at full height Spur is SO bouncy he would leap it sometimes. I had to go back to the box, which so far is working.

    With the Pin Heads, it may have been the electronic hit-it board I borrowed that really helped them sink it what was expected. If you know anyone with one of those it might be worth a try?

    The other thought might be four on the floor. I know a TON of people who are doing that around here with great success. Retrains are hard, I think. Good luck! I had to go back to 2o2o for a bit with Colby just to slow her down once I had given her permission to run. Swapping back and forth seems to help her. She is just enough on edge not knowing if she should stop or run that she will hit them more consistently.

  4. Thanks! Yeah four on the floor is something I've seen and find intriguing! I really really really don't like DJ hitting his shoulders so hard but at the same time at least 2o2o takes way less repetition.

    I was thinking about getting a hit-it board, we've only used one of our instructor's a couple times but he totally got the concept of that pretty quick.

  5. I actually made a hit-it-board of my own. It wasn't electronic and I really think it helped. I took a very flat board, maybe 1/4" thick, cut it to the size of between the slats, but full width of the A-frame. Took tiny hinges and attached the top to one of the slats, then glued toy squeekers on the underside. When the dogs hit that board, it make the squeekers squeek!! Of course, I had to charge up the squeekers like you would a clicker, but it worked pretty well. You could probably make one similar on the dog walk, but my dogs seemed to generalize OK.

  6. Oh and I painted it yellow and put grit on it. If I ever get my A-frame out I will take a photo of it for you.

  7. Wow that's cool, what a good idea!