Here is more footage from my RDW training yesterday. I have realized that I am a lot more uncoordinated that I thought. I catch myself clicking unwanted behaviors way too much!! Luckily my dogs are a lot smarter than me and seem to understand that their handler needs more help than they do. When I do make a mistake and click when I shouldn’t be clicking I try to just reset the dogs and really give a big jackpot reward when they hit the yellow the next time. I am hoping that will “trump” the previous reward.
I started to introduce turns yesterday. I am using a small cone to help the dogs not jump off the side of the ramp anticipating the turn. After we get comfortable with turning I will begin to fade away the cone and hopefully they will continue to run to the bottom of the ramp before they begin their turns, at least that is what I am hoping for! After talking with Jeannette about Dasher’s progress I am opting to go back to his 2o2o DW behavior. He is naturally so amped up that when I added my motion to the RDW behavior it seemed to put him over the top. Dasher has a really beautiful, fast, 2o2o DW, I have always been happy with it, so I feel good about my decision to keep that behavior with him. I started this process as an experiment not really knowing how each dog would take to the training. Zip and Zorro seem very comfortable with it so far, Dasher seemed to be getting more frustrated as we went on. After mulling it over, I will always do what is best for my dogs, in this case Dasher has a strong DW performance as it is so “if it ain’t broke…” I will still try the running A-frame with all three boys and see how that goes. So far I have not had too much access to a frame but hopefully starting next week that will change.
This winter I decided to teach the boys running contacts. I think when I made the decision I had no idea what I was in for. I have never taught a running contact so I knew I would need some help getting started. I went up to Rosanne Demasico’s in November to get some help and ideas on a plan of action. Rosanne was a big help and I was eager to get started at home. Unfortunately my yard is not big enough for a dog walk and an A-frame. I had to make due with a dog walk ramp that I made myself and a table to prop up the ramp. I started our training by using a ball placed about 15′ from the end of the ramp. I have recently invested in a “Manners Minder” and have really liked the results. My timing sometimes really stinks, who knew running, watching your dogs feet and hitting a button could be so difficult? Luckily my dogs are very forgiving and with more repetitions I am getting better. Practice makes perfect!! As usual my dogs continue to teach me something new about themselves. Zippy and Zorro seem to have a knack for a running dog walk. In the beginning of our training Zorro wasn’t really running forward across the board and had the tendency to hop and then miss the yellow. After working on getting him to really run he did not have any problems hitting the yellow. Here is a clip of today’s training session. Each clip is repeated twice, once at regular speed, then in slow motion. I have been working with the boys for about 3 weeks now.
Zippy was a bit inconsistent at the beginning of our training. After I started to use the Manners Minders I think I was able to mark his behavior more accurately and in the last week or so Zippy has gotten much more consistent and I believe he is beginning to understand what behavior I am looking for. Here is a clip of Zip’s progress.
Dasher’s training has had it’s ups and downs. It was a bit of a challenge getting Dasher to find value in the Manners Minder. He is much more ball driven than food driven and I think since I started our training with a ball reward he was not too enthusiastic when I switched to food. I worked with the Manners Minder on it’s own to try and add value to it and Dasher is starting to appreciate it a bit more. Another challenge in our training has been introducing speed. Initially adding speed but no motion I was getting some nice contacts. As soon as I added my motion, Dasher started jumping the last stride and missing the yellow. If we make too many mistakes Dasher reverts to offering a 2o2o behavior so I need to be careful not to frustrate him. After today’s training session I think I may work with the board flat on the ground with Dasher to get him comfortable running across the board. Here is Dasher’s training session:
My plan is to progress to a low full length dog walk this week and see how the behaviors transfer. I have also started some A-Frame work but again due to yard constraints I don’t have my own A-Frame so I will be relying on Jeannette’s generosity to borrow her facilities when possible. I am excited with our progress so far. I know I have a long way to go since I have not even begun to introduce turns. That should be interesting!!