One of THE TOUGHEST concepts to get with running contacts is that you have to look for the slightest changes in your dogs behavior. And not only see them, but acknowledge them in that split second to reward. There can be no doubts, no processing. It either "is" or "isn't"...
Many times you are rewarding just to preserve attitude, the dog might be doing it wrong, but you still reward. If they are going slow, and their stride makes them miss, you reward just so they will go faster etc etc.
When working with people that are doing running contacts this is TOUGH for them. People don't like rewarding things they don't want. But for running contacts. IT IS NECESSARY.
Riding that fine line is something one has to get good at...it's tough and it's frustrating...but once you find it...it's a neat feeling!
I am figuring out Lynn's brain when it comes to turns. Flips into tunnels or SHARP turns she gets...but the softer turns have been an issue...if there are multiple obstacles at the end of the DW, there have been issues. Into NOTHING has been an issue, into nothing with a turn a HUGE issue.
So I had to break them all down. STAY ON THE BOARD. That is your goal Lynn. If I fade off laterally, STAY ON THE BOARD, if I stop suddenly...STAY ON THE BOARD. HOWEVER you want, just stay on that board.
I changed up the exits, started making them more difficult, made her look more to ME and less to what she THOUGHT was right. She did make some mistakes, but suddenly the light bulb is really coming on. HIGH LEVEL REWARDS USED!
She is starting to get STAY ON THE BOARD. Sure...she is still going off course sometimes, but her understanding is getting to be that, I can handle her after the exit much better now. AND...I can continue running forward and still cue turns, which is good as decelling a lot really puts me behind...so lateral motion while STILL MOVING FORWARD is the key for ME as a handler.
So...we are meeting in the middle here :) As you can see from the video below.
Patience is a virtue I am not known for possessing--but I've learned that it gets you further in the long run...I just have to chant it sometimes--PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE. Lateral motion will turn her now, but not pull her off the DW, so I have more options...slowly but surely we are getting there :)
The communication process is fascinating to me...seeing that light bulb go on, its just so cool!
Tonight we worked on some tough courses, 270's, threadles, lateral distance on weaves and contacts, backsides of jumps etc. The dogs all did so well on them, I was very happy. 22" Weaves are getting better. Lynn seems to be going--GREAT!!! I didn't like 24" anyway, I like swimming these! (beating my head against the wall)...Gator, Klink and Crackers have decided that I am stupid but they enjoy toys, so whatever :) They seem to really be getting polished up for Nationals...
The weather is warming up this week so we can do a ton of swimming and keep that part in their fitness program. I need to do more sprinting.
I hit my 10 pound goal for Nationals working on losing more. I feel really good :)
I really enjoy my three dogs, Klink, Gator and Lynn just make me so happy to run. They have heart, they try and we have a great connection. It's fun running them...they take great care of me out there. They really really do :)