Clean Run - August 2019 - 8
When you reach your stopping point, you should
stand still. Do not run in toward the dog before they
come to a stop or meet them at the end as they finish.
Once the dog stops, continue standing still as you
give them a "Good dog!" And then run in, licketysplit, and give them their awesome reward event.
This technique ensures that you are creating lateral
independence while supporting your dog and keeping
their confidence high.
How lateral should you be on each repetition? It is never a
good idea to increase the difficulty every time you do this
exercise because it will cause questions and hesitancy.
Mix easy or confidence-building repetitions in with the
challenging repetitions. I define a confidence-building
repetition as a rep with a lot of speed but little lateral
distance (1-3 feet), the goal being to create the best
performance possible to keep my dog's confidence high.
So, a progression of reps might look like this: 2 feet, 4
feet, 1 foot, 2 feet, 5 feet, 2 feet, 3 feet, 7 feet, 1 foot.
Your exact progressions are going to be based on
the skill and confidence you see from your dog. If you
don't like your dog's speed or if they are struggling with
understanding, then you should do more confidencebuilding repetitions. Watch your dog closely as they run
across the contact so that you can assess their progress.
Should I repeat that distance until it is stronger? Make it
easier? Make it more challenging?
Also, you don't have to reward every repetition. Get
used to rating each repetition as the dog performs it and
reward or don't reward accordingly. Was the effort fair,
good, great, or freaking amazing? I will reward a fair
performance if I have just added difficulty while I wouldn't
reward a fair response on a distance that I believe is
easy for my dog. You do need to consider the level of
difficulty as you access your dog's performance. As they
get better at their skills, you can raise your standards.
Follow this same procedure to work on lateral distance
on the A-frame and the teeter.
Peeling Away Laterally from the Dog
You are going to follow the same training procedure as
you did for running a parallel track except that you are
not going to run in a straight line. When you lead out,
you will begin 1 to 5 feet lateral to the contact. After you
release your dog, as soon as you see that he intends
to get on the contact, begin to peel away to whatever
lateral distance you have designated for that repetition.
For instance, start 2 feet lateral to the dogwalk and end
up 10 feet lateral to it as shown in Figure 2.
no more than
1 shoe length
Handler is 6"
ahead of dog
at sweet spot
close to dog
Start to peel away laterally as soon as your dog
exhibits an intent to get on the obstacle.
Keeping the Dog Straight at the End
The secret sauce for teaching your dog to stay straight at
the end of the contacts is your ability to throw a toy before
they come into their end behavior and have them maintain
criteria until released. This works far better than rewarding
your dog at the end of a contact. You can release the dog
to the toy and then move in and have your reward event.
When I am training a pup from the ground up, I start this
training when they are still on the contact trainer, but it
can be learned at any time. Here's some foundation work
for developing the skill.
Put your dog in a controlled position (sit-stay, down-stay,
or stand-stay) and gently place their toy (it can be a food
toy) on the ground in front of them, a few feet away. If
the dog gets up, pick up the toy and begin again. Do not
make this game a bummer! You can lower your energy
level if the dog is too excited, or use a less exciting
toy, but don't correct him. The lack of reinforcement is
enough of a correction.
Use the same formula of mixing easy and challenging
repetitions to build lateral distance gradually.
When the dog successfully maintains his position,
release them enthusiastically to their toy.
Follow this same procedure to work on peeling away
from your dog on the A-frame and the teeter.
Once the dog can tolerate a placed toy, gradually add
difficulty: drop the toy in front of the dog, drop the toy
harder, toss the toy lightly so it lands only a foot from
Clean Run | August 19
Clean Run - August 2019
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