Friday, August 5, 2011

Musings and a pointless video

I'm almost ashamed to post such an "unproduced/raw" video here. lol I'm sorry, but I seriously put no effort into it -- but at least it's short!

I had the video camera out last night to record the start of Kaiser's running contact training (part two, since I tried a different method last year) and since it was out, I pointed it at Secret for a while. This video is just some work on independent weaves (away from me/lateral) and the a-frame. The dog walk was so boring that I left it off (she was pretty hot/tired).

The weave work came because I'm starting to obsess over running Secret at Champs. Well truly, I'm obsessing over Champs in general, which has lead to me staring at YouTube videos for hours on end to analyze courses and think of things we need to work on before then. For Secret it's.... Well, everything. The majority of the distance tests from last year are beyond her, so if we run into that this year I think I need to just plan in advance to ignore the line and take the 5 point fault. We'll waste more time than that resetting and/or taking a 10 point off course fault.

One of the lines last year moved laterally away from the weave poles at quite a distance. I am guilty of hovering at trials, so I need to stop that.... But I figured it wouldn't hurt to work last night on a more independent performance. Secret has never been terribly good at driving through the poles while I stood there -- Which is partly why I only used 6 poles (the other reason is because I was too lazy to get out the other 6, lol). I thought she did quite well.

It's so easy to be lazy this time of the year. We barely ever do any type of sequencing work these days. The default has more or less just to go around the yard doing the contacts (mostly because that's what I've been working on with Kaiser). Perhaps one of these days I'll be inspired enough to set up an actual course again... I'm thinking of drawing out approximations of the courses from Champs last year and working on sections of those. Mostly, I'm quite certain that the "out" discriminations from behind the line are just beyond Secret's skills at the moment. Funny how our dogs don't learn stuff when we don't bother to teach them. ;o)

This is one of my favorite videos to watch from the 2010 Championships in Gillette, WY. It is the winner of the 16" Veteran division, which happens to be where Luke is this year. Yeah.... lol

And in case anyone is curious about what I'm doing with Kaiser..... We are ten weeks out from Champs and I'm messing with his contacts again. Yes, I'm crazy!! The little stinker is absolutely 100% rock solid about stopping at the bottom of the dog walk at home. I can barely make him break it and he more or less slides to a stop. But trials are a completely different story and it makes me want to rip my hair out. Yes, I'm sure I'm a HUGE contributing factor to the change in the behavior because I tend to act like a moron at trials and behave completely different than I do at home. But since I more or less can guarantee that Kaiser will not be stopping on his dog walk at Champs, I thought maybe it would be nice to try to put the idea of running (vs leaping) into his head before then. I can always go back to a stop later if necessary -- Like I did the last time.

Last year I very briefly touched on running contacts with Kaiser (for the same reason -- he wasn't stopping at trials). I used hoops placed at the bottom of the boards to try to get him to duck & keep his focus low. I was never super pleased with his performance and once the hoops went away he was kind of all over the place. We had one good trial with the running contacts and then it just got really bad, so I went back to stopping (or attempting to do so) because winter was coming and we wouldn't be able to train anymore.

This time I'm using a method I saw posted by Lisa Bonker, someone I really respect & admire in the NADAC world. The premise is basically to put a tunnel right at the bottom of the dog walk so that they are focused on running straight. Once they get the concept of running, you start to move the tunnel back.

I tried some plank work with the little guy the other night (to test the waters for the Silvia Trkman method) and it was a giant fail. He just has no concept of targeting and I didn't feel like taking the time to go there right now. He likes running & he likes tunnels, so I decided to try Lisa's method.

The first session was a great! I have high hopes for Kaiser, but we have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks!

I do not see broaching this subject with Secret. She is very happy with her 2o/2o contacts and I see no reason to mess with them!


  1. Yes you are a little crazy, though I am curious to see if this running dogwalk works for you. I get the same thing with Skye - he stops great on contacts in practice, but never in trials. I dabbled with a running a while ago and that just made things worse, so I end up overmanaging all contacts in competition.
    Doesnt NADAC allow you to train in the ring? If he misses, then couldnt you bring him back again and make him stop? Thats the one thing I wish I could do at USDAA & AKC but they dont allow it.
    Good luck!

  2. Yup, you can train in NADAC, which is *awesome* for most dogs. And believe me, I've E'd many runs to train Kaiser in the ring and it doesn't stick. If Luke is crazy, I can train on the first run and he'll stick it the rest of the weekend. Kaiser just flips me off and does his own thing. lol

    I've always thought a dog of his size SHOULD be able to run without too much difficulty. He would prefer to run, but we have some re-programming to do.

    The good news is that I moved my dog walk up to full height and did a short session this afternoon & he was even better than yesterday. I'm crossing my fingers that this method clicks with him. He really faught the hoops and is already progressing faster with the tunnel.

    Fingers crossed! We are competing against the most awesome Papillon on the planet at Champs, so any extra speed we can get will help. :o) The hovering creeping stop will often suck up to 10 seconds off our time, so who cares if we get a 10 pt fault for blowing it? lol It's time plus faults scoring at Champs, so we'd be even up in that case. And who knows, we might get lucky and he'll run like a good boy!

  3. Oh my we are doing the same exact thing about champs. Ive watched that Jack video over and over and paused and thought "what would I do with CeCe? How would I handle that?" etc. Man I dont even want to think how insane we'll get by the time its in the 3 week warning period.

    I like your logic about the 10 seconds v 10 pt fault. I was wondering how much time faults were worth, guess not much! I was also planning on crossing distance lines if they are tricky discriminations or what not. I've been babying her tunnel discrimination for our regular because we needed to Q for champs! Now that we don't have the pressure, its hardcore training time.

  4. Well at least I'm in good company! ;o) I've been waiting obsessively for my invite to the Champs Yahoo group since I don't want to bug everyone else with all of my anal questions. It seems so far away, but it will be here in a blink!

    Around three weeks out is where I'll likely start stressing about someone breaking and coming up lame. Odds on Luke, of course, but I'll be watching them all like hawks. I'm always paranoid before big events. Doesn't help that Luke was off/on before 2009 Champs, but that was likely due to his Addison's, which is all under control now!