Sunday, March 29, 2009

Running contacts - progression #2!

So, after a couple of sessions with the plank on the ground, we were very pleased with the results.

Here's a little recap: Since I already have a running contact, it wasn't difficult to get me to run across the plank. The difficulty came in making sure I didn't jump the yellow, even with the plank on the ground. BOL!

To do that we varied the placement of the reward target out from the plank. For me, we brought it a little closer so that I could see it better, focus ahead, and drive ahead. Once I was running 100% and driving to the target (didn't take but a few runs), we inched the reward out further from the plank to make sure my speed was the fastest going all through the run. It worked great.

For Gracie, Mum had to give her more independence, to make sure she ran the plank, crowding her made her run around the plank. That worked well. And Gracie ran through the plank with the target at about 10 feet or so consistently.

So, once we both had been at about 100% for many reps, it was time to elevate the plank. Now remember, we don't have a dog walk, so to elevate, Mum utilized the patio that Mum built before I was even born.

The nice thing is that out from the patio there is a nice gradual slope in the yard. Even better for this situation. So she propped the board at the end of the patio creating about a 1.5 foot slope. And she put down a non-skid rug on the patio to give us some grip. This slope really was the beginning tell tale in how both me and Gracie would stride through the yellow.

You'll see I hit the yellow right in the center, a great placement. Gracie however, strides through only hitting her back feet in the yellow, and sometimes just barely getting in the yellow. She has a much longer stride than I. We decided after viewing many other vids of larger dogs doing running contacts that we may have to work on Gracie's striding through the yellow. Not to alter her stride per se, but to help her understand to run completely through it.

Right now, we're treating it as a wait and see. But we have a plan to alter her stride if need be. To do that we are going to vary the placement of the reward target out from the plank, like we did with me.

Also, Mum started varying her placement as we ran the plank - moving out on either side, running with us, standing still, etc. Making sure we continued striding through the yellow. Worked great.

So for now, you'll see in this vid both of us with the plank elevated for progression #2. Enjoy!

This is the second in a series of posts about re-training my running dogwalk contact. You can see the first post here:

Johann & Gracie running dogwalk retraining - progression #1


  1. Good job with your contacts training! I hardly touch the contacts. BOL!

    Belly jiggles,
    Solid Gold Dancer

  2. Johann - Looks like your teeter board/dogwalk is working great! It's interesting to see the differences between your style and Gracie's - makes for challenging training! Thanks for making the videos - it's fun to see the progress!

    (Bet your mum isn't wearing shorts today!!!)

  3. Nicely done with JoJo continuing straight on while you pull off laterally. You know that I learned the importance of that skill this weekend. We worked on our plank tonight too. Found that Quila did much better with food instead of a toy. The toy is too motivating, she's not learning with it.

  4. Great job! Very smart girl!

    I think my rat terrier would be good at agility...good in that she'd be interested and have the energy, but I don't now that she'd catch on. I think she'd be too busy trying to follow people around. LOL!

  5. Awesome Job guys, you both did so well! Even when your mom altered her stride you both just kept going down the ramp, not distracted at all! You both have made such great progress with this technique, way to go!


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