Monday, 25 June 2012

Retraining the contact

When I started agility with Ben it was just a fun class - and he very quickly learnt to jump off the contact equipment.
Going to classes we were taught a 4 on the floor contact - this means the dog runs to the end of the contact and lies down on the floor. It works really well, except that I didnt have my own equipment to practise at home so only having a go every now and again in class ment Ben never really 'got it'
I did build my own 'inside agility contacts' which in my tiny sitting room wasnt ideal - but actually worked quite nicely

But again as I didnt have access to real equipment very often I didnt really manage to transfer the skill from the inside small plank of wood to actual equipment - also of course the most he saw contact equipment was at a show where I had to keep running if he jumped a contact - so things were getting worse

But now I have access to a field and equipment when ever I want it - so I have decided to attempt to train these bloomin contacts - and - gulp - to also record it so everyone can see my mistakes!!

So the cunning plan!
From 'Control unleased' (if you dont have this book and own a dog you really should get it!!) I have already taught my pair to run to and lie down on a mat

So I figured this is a good start - thats all a 4 on the floor is!!

BUT a problem with the mat - and many people also have with 4 on the floor - is that the dogs curve back towards you - when we really want them facing forwards

So for the past few days I have been working on teaching them to go to the mat but keep facing in the direction they were going in by clicking early - way before they lie down and before they even turn back to me - then chucking the treat overhead so they are expecting a reward infront of them.
Then once they are anticipating this and facing forward more waiting with the click till they lie down again

I also did a brand new thing (for me) rewarding with the ball launcher too - this is new for the dogs too so they did really well realising what I wanted from them

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