Clean Run - August 2019 - 6

Part 2

Any Dog Can Have Awesome Contacts from a Distance
By Stacy Winkler, photos by author
If you haven't had a chance to work on the training
described last month in Part 1, I would suggest you hunt it
up and start there. You need to understand how to build a
reward event before you start the training described here.
This article series is not about how to train the 2-on/2-off
behavior, but rather how to integrate distance work into
your contact training.

Training Session Reminders
*	 Begin	every	session	with	drive	and	reward	successful	
behaviors very, very well.
*	 Manage	your	dog's	behaviors	in	between	your	training	
repetitions. Work the whole session, from the moment
you release your dog to work until you put him away.
*	 Always	be	prepared	before	you	begin	a	session.	Have	
your plan in place before you call your dog to work.
Make	sure	you	have	all	your	training	tools	ready	to	go	
and enough treats to get you through the drill.
*	 Understand	the	drill	thoroughly.	Know	what	you	want	
to see (for instance, a perfect 2-on/2-off position in the
center of the contact) and what you don't want to see.
Plan how you will reward your dog when they are right
and how you will react if they fail.
*	 Be	thoughtful	as	you	progress	your	skills	but	never	be	
afraid to push the envelope while you are skill building. The key to great behavior is to work to extremes.
If you are afraid to fail, then you won't be able to
advance your skills. If	you	find	that	your	dog	is	never	
making mistakes, then you are probably not pushing
your skill building enough!
*	 Remember	always	to	keep	your	training	fun	and	enjoy	
watching your dog learn.

Lateral Distance Training to Build
Independence
Lateral distance is the easiest way to begin your contact
independence	work.	As	you	build	lateral	distance	on	each	
6

contact obstacle, it is imperative that you keep the "sweet
spot"	protocol	active	on	every	repetition.	Review	the	
explanation and diagram from last month's article if you
need a reminder about what the sweet spot is for each
contact obstacle.
Lateral Distance on a Parallel Track
When I teach contacts, I prefer to do all my initial training
on	a	baby	A-frame	or	a	contact	trainer	so	that	when	
the dog makes mistakes, they are doing it on a trainer
rather	than	the	real	obstacle.	Once	they	are	proficient,	I	
transfer the behavior to the real equipment. Work on a
contact trainer if you can, but if you don't have access to
one, use stairs, a plank, or the real equipment set very
low. The illustrations show the real obstacle being used.
You	may	use	a	jump	or	tunnel	to	facilitate	more	speed	
onto	the	contact	obstacle,	or	you	can	just	set	up	your	
dog in a stay 15+ feet from the contact.
Run	on	a	parallel	track	to	the	contact,	as	shown	in	
Figure 1. For instance, if you plan to practice being 5
feet away from your dog as they come into their end
behavior, then you should lead out to a position that is 5
feet laterally from the dogwalk. You will run in a straight
line	so	that	you	finish	with	5	feet	of	lateral	distance	
between you and your dog.
How	far	ahead	of	your	dog	you	lead	out	depends	on	
your	speed	and	your	dog's	speed.	Remember,	whether
you are practicing being 2 feet lateral to your dog or 30
feet, you want to be 6 inches ahead of your dog at the
contact's sweet spot. So, plan your lead-out accordingly.
You are going to release your dog and move forward
in a straight line. You want to try to release the dog
while they are looking forward to the contact. This
will help the dog focus on their line and the obstacle
you are sending them to rather than worrying about
your position. They will be aware of your positions,
but focusing forward on their task will aid in creating
independence.
Clean Run | August 19



Clean Run - August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - August 2019

Contents
Clean Run - August 2019 - Cover1
Clean Run - August 2019 - Cover2
Clean Run - August 2019 - Contents
Clean Run - August 2019 - 4
Clean Run - August 2019 - 5
Clean Run - August 2019 - 6
Clean Run - August 2019 - 7
Clean Run - August 2019 - 8
Clean Run - August 2019 - 9
Clean Run - August 2019 - 10
Clean Run - August 2019 - 11
Clean Run - August 2019 - 12
Clean Run - August 2019 - 13
Clean Run - August 2019 - 14
Clean Run - August 2019 - 15
Clean Run - August 2019 - 16
Clean Run - August 2019 - 17
Clean Run - August 2019 - 18
Clean Run - August 2019 - 19
Clean Run - August 2019 - 20
Clean Run - August 2019 - 21
Clean Run - August 2019 - 22
Clean Run - August 2019 - 23
Clean Run - August 2019 - 24
Clean Run - August 2019 - 25
Clean Run - August 2019 - 26
Clean Run - August 2019 - 27
Clean Run - August 2019 - 28
Clean Run - August 2019 - 29
Clean Run - August 2019 - 30
Clean Run - August 2019 - 31
Clean Run - August 2019 - 32
Clean Run - August 2019 - 33
Clean Run - August 2019 - 34
Clean Run - August 2019 - 35
Clean Run - August 2019 - 36
Clean Run - August 2019 - 37
Clean Run - August 2019 - 38
Clean Run - August 2019 - 39
Clean Run - August 2019 - 40
Clean Run - August 2019 - 41
Clean Run - August 2019 - 42
Clean Run - August 2019 - 43
Clean Run - August 2019 - 44
Clean Run - August 2019 - 45
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Clean Run - August 2019 - 50
Clean Run - August 2019 - Cover3
Clean Run - August 2019 - Cover4
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