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Z started agility 4 weeks ago and we just started contacts this past week. The instructor does 2o2o but I was leaning toward running contacts ala Silvia Trkman. Z is already flying over the frame but if I try to have her target close to the end for 2o2o she swings her rear and if I set it further out she goes straight and is lucky to get one paw in the yellow.

 

I've never had a fast dog, so I've never had to worry about this, but now I need help to figure out the method that will work best for my girl.

 

Thoughts?!

 

2o2o

Pros

instructor's preferred method

tried and true

can use stairs or contact trainer I have already to aid in teaching

 

Cons

Can be rough on a dog's shoulders/wrists when done frequently and at high speeds

Slows dog down due to required release cue

 

Running

Pros

easier on dogs' bodies

faster

teaches dog to target bottom without cues

 

Cons

difficult to practice on my own (no yard or fullsize equipment)

instructor isn't familiar with specific method

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I think the biggest "con" is the second you mention: nobody to train you with that method. I have a fast young boy that I would LOVE to have running contacts on; but I mostly train by myself, and just don't think I have the eye to make it work. He has a very solid 2o/2o.

 

If you'll notice even some of very fast very good dogs, actually have a 2o/2o - but a very early release. It doesn't quite turn it into a running - but dang near! We won't be practicing that until we're looking to get on the World Team - ha ha! THAT WAS A JOKE!! Seriously, I like having that stop at the bottom - judge doesn't have to think, I have a second to think, and gee, maybe even the DOG has a second to think - about whatever's next.

 

My pref.

 

diane

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I just had a private lesson today for contact work. A running contact is what EVERYONE wants their dogs to do. After a long discussion with the trainer about it, the 2O2O method really sounds best. It teaches control and after trained properly, is almost as fast as a running contact like mentioned above. I learned a ton today and have a lot of work ahead before our next trial. She also mentioned that only 30% of running contacts are right on target and 70% of 2O2O make their targets during trials.

 

The running contact is how Lucia was originally trained. It's what our original trainer taught. She learned to fly over the DW and AF, miss contacts and jump off sideways at the bottom. I've been working REAL hard to fix all this to no avail :rolleyes: Regardless of what is taught, control needs to come first. A 2O2O method is going to teach control and help build muscles. It's not as hard on joints as it looks. It may take awhile for a young dog to develope the muscle control, but IMO it doesn't look harsh if done correctly. The trainers dog demode for us. He's the same age as Lucia. No matter what the trainer did for distractions, he wouldn't pull off the contact until told to. He could also fly over both obsticle so fast it looked like a running conatct, but if you watched closely, there was the slightest hesitation at the bottom as she told him to go on. Very cool to watch!

 

IMO, the 2O2O method will give the dog the time to gain strength and confidence. It's slower in the beggining, but well worth it in the end. I'm now doing a ton of backtracking and retraining for all the initial mistake I made. Lucia has shown a TON of improvement with the new training methods from this woman (we did a bunch of lessons last fall while in NY, too) and even got her first 1st place last month at a NADAC trial in GA.

 

Good luck and let us know how Z is doing with it. She looks great in all your videos!

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Are you talking about a running a-frame, or DW too?

 

I think a running a-frame is possible, and I've seen a few nice ones in my trialing. I've asked a few folks how they trained it, and the general method seemed to involve stride regulators, targets, and lots and lots of reps. If you have someone who can take you through the process, breaking it down into its smallest pieces, then I would say go for it! I know if I were training a fast, young, well-built dog with lots of drive, then I would train a running frame. I did try it with Wick, but rushed it, never made her criteria specific enough, and eventually retrained a 2o/2o (which, with a quick release, is still pretty darned fast). There are times, usually in gamblers and snooker, where having that stop gives me enough time to get somewhere odd, which is nice.

 

WRT to her front end, I was more concerned about damage on the up side of the frame, as fast dogs tend to *splat* and take all that momentum on their shoulders. She has a nice smooth approach, thankfully, and after 6+ years of 2o/2o her shoulders and other bits are still in great shape - no sign of arthritis or wear and tear. Wick also is 20" tall and only 32 lbs with very fine bones, so her height/weight ratio probably has saved her body from the wear and tear that a bigger dog might experience.

 

Now the DW ... I dunno. I've seen some GREAT running DWs, and there is no doubt that they are way faster than a 2o/2o, but I am still not convinced that a largish dog can be taught to run through the yellow (up and down) through all conditions (rain, mud, slick surfaces) and in all aspects of course design (curling out from a tunnel, tight flip into the tunnel after the DW, etc.). Even their handlers admit it's a wee bit hit and miss.

 

I have seen Silvia Trkman's videos on YouTube and they are AMAZING, but I also have seen video from the FCIs where her little dogs missed the contact. I think Christine Carpentier's dog (Phidgy, I think?) had a stunning running DW, but then he missed some too.

 

If you don't have equipment in the backyard on which you can practice a lot, then I would stick with a 2o/2o or a four on the floor or similar. JMO!

 

BTW, I think that running teeters are pretty easy to teach, but some of them are pretty extreme. After some big bangs (which scared me more than Wick) we have settled on a more conservative (but still running) teeter. I figure that the 0.9 seconds that we lose on the teeter performance, we will make up somewhere else. Also have no world team aspirations, just happy to make it around the course in one piece!

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Z is already flying over the frame but if I try to have her target close to the end for 2o2o she swings her rear and if I set it further out she goes straight and is lucky to get one paw in the yellow.

 

I wanted to mention Lucia did this too. Stopping a dog at a full run off an obsticle like that is very harsh on shoulders and legs. She doesn't have the musles to control her rear end yet and that's how she keeps herself from flipping over her head. The new trainer has her "backtracking". Teaching the dog to do the contact from the bottom back. Not a recommend method by most trainers, but after watching her dog run, would totally recommend it. You start by having the dog jump onto the contact near the bottom and treat them when both feet are still on the contact. As they perfect this, have the dog jump up farther up and start there doing the same thing. Stop on contact with back two feet....treat....treat....treat. Eventually you start picking the dog up and placing him/her farther and farther back until you are at the beggining. Slow, but it works. The next thing you know you have a dog running the DW or AF, touching and off to the next thing.

 

I hope this helps. Sorry so wordy.

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Maybe I should clarify a bit - the running contacts I'm looking at are a little different from many out there - you actually teach the dog where the contacts are and get them driving into them on a flat board, then gradually elevate it. Here's the details if you want to see exactly what I'm talking about: http://www.silvia.trkman.net/ (go to training and then "FAQ on running contacts").

 

One of the biggest things that has turned me off 2o2o is the risk of injury down the road - Z's wrists are a bit more angulated than Maggie's and I really don't want to do something that could end up crippling her later in life. Due to her angulation I'm afraid the 2o2o method might put too much pressure/force on those joints. Thoughts/experiences on that facet?

 

There's so much more to think about with a fast dog!

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Ok somehow I posted without seeing the last two posts until just now. :\ You guys have some great thoughts! Exactly what I was looking for.

 

Z isn't a large dog by any means Kristi - she's 16" and 24lbs right now at 13mo, so we do have that running in our favor at least. And I am thinking running all the contacts, but most def the Aframe given the angle and Z's wrist angulation.

 

I've considered backchaining the contacts too, kind of like what your trainer sounds like she's doing in2. What cons have you seen with that?

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but I also have seen video from the FCIs where her little dogs missed the contact.

If my memory serves me correctly, La used to basically never miss contacts until she hurt her shoulder I think it was, then she started jumping. Now that she is recovered she is getting back to her old self and has very consistent contacts again. Silvia Trkman's contact training method takes awhile to train and you have to be really really really consistent and devote a lot of time to them - but the end result can definitely be rewarding if you are willing to spend that much time training them.

 

I like the 2o/2o personally. It can be really fast on course if taught properly and is much easier for the dog to learn IMO (in the sense that the human half of the team makes very few mistakes - the dog is either in the position or not!). If you want you could train Z to keep running down until the rear paws are on the very end of the board (so the spine is really straight and the dog is almost just standing on the ground) and that helps with the injury risk part of 2o/2os - at least that is the theory.

 

If you plan on going to international competition with Z then yeah....you might want running contacts, but trained well 2o/2o can pretty much be just as competitive at a trial where you aren't competing for every little hundredth of a second... In terms of risking wrist injury, I think it all depends on your exact 2o/2o behavior (which can actually vary quite a bit)

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Yeah I wanted to do the silvia running contact but our trainer wouldnt have it

We do a trot to the bottom and lie down on the floor - less stress on the dog but slower (have seen the fully trained dogs in comp and it can be fast with a fast release - although the dogs are not full pelt on the way down)

Our trainers resoning is that stopping the dog gives you that seccond control say if there is another obsticle infront that you dont want your dog to drive onto

I know that a solid directional would work too - but unfort she does not really do different methods for dogs that are smart enough - we all go at the speed of the fluffy show dog!

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Running contacts are wonderful things to see, BUT and this is a big one in my opinion, you are playing with fire if not taught correctly. I have seen and talked with some of the best competitors on the East Coast when I was trying to decide what to train with Whim, some use them some dont. I know that Roseanne on the board, if she is around can tell you about them as she uses them with her pups. I had toyed with the idea of training running vs 2o2o with my very fast baby dog, however my biggest concern was him striding right over the contact or simply leaping off. I really feel that unless you are looking at World team or shooting for top ten nationally that you really dont need that running contact, use a quick release instead. Your dog has to really grasp the concept of striding up and down each contact.

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I don't post much anymore, but since Pat mentioned me I'll say my thing.

 

I've been training running contacts for 5 years. My dog Drifter has been clocked on the dogwalk at 1.35 (on video, with replays), so yes, they sure are fast.

 

I taught him with a foot target, then faded it away on the a-frame so he runs that naturally. I don't think that 30%/70% number is from real research - my boy hits the a-frame 95-98% of the time. He's missed one this year out of 7 trials, which was maybe 15 a-frames? And the one he missed was at the first trial back from the winter.

The dogwalk I still try to require him to hit the "target" most of the time (which is in the yellow, not on the ground), but sometimes I allow him to run full-out, which is how he gets the fastest times. Even when he doesn't hit his target as I'd like, he still rarely actually misses the yellow, although he is slightly less consistent than on his a-frame, I suppose.

 

I don't believe Sylvia Trkman teaches a target area of any kind, she simply teaches the dog how to run down comfortably without jumping. I don't think that method will work reliably for you unless you are a very, very good, intuitive dog trainer that can see problems before they start, and work out ways to solve them.

 

Look at it from the dog's point of view. If you don't think the dog will understand the behavior, then I wouldn't train it. If you have no criteria like a target or a lie-down, then you can't correct the dog for missing it at the trial. There's nothing to correct.

 

In closing, my usual opinion on running contacts is that they are really cool to watch, but difficult to train, AND they create more difficult handling challenges - the only time my dog actually stops on course is the table! Yikes! That not only makes my job harder, but it also means my dog doesn't have a moment anywhere to collect his brain - he is running full-out all the time. Sometimes with a young dog, it helps a lot to have them stop for a second and cool their mental jets. . .

 

If I were not thinking World Team, personally, then I would go with 2o2off. In fact I have my 22-month old stopping on the bottom of the dogwalk right now. I will probably fade that eventually, but since I don't have contacts at home myself, it's difficult for me to train!

 

ETA: i think most wrist wear comes from the up contact on the a-frame. However, if you are very worried about it, try looking into the 4-on-the-floor method. That method will work for you IF you are very consistent with insisting the dog actually does the end behavior all the time. If you let it erode the dog may start missing the contact.

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I would suggest looking into four on the floor too. Its a "modified running contact." I still have not figured out which contacts I will be using with Foxy yet. I have lots of hopes and dreams for her, but I dont want to doom her contacts either. I will most likely make my decision after I see what she is like on more obstacles. I do know a lot of competitive national competitors just release their dogs way early from the 2o2o. Maybe that is something to think about as well.

 

Running contacts would be very hard to teach if you dont have the equipment and the ample time to do it. Silvia Trkman's whole life revolves around the dogs, and most of us our life has to revolve around a job so we can afford the dogs :rolleyes: So the time is a big concern in teaching running contacts. IF I were to do running contacts, I would invest in a hit it board. I saw Luka the Pyr shep being trained with that along with Silvia Trkmans method.

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Always a step ahead of me aren't you all?! I did discover in class tonight that my instructor teaches her dogs to do running contacts, but she recommends something different on the dog walk since otherwise the handler is running 36 feet and without a pause before the next obstacle, soooooo....

 

I have a private lesson with her in a few weeks (!) to start foundations for running contacts to use on the aframe and teeter and we both agree a 4-on-the-floor modified contact for the dogwalk is probably best, so we'll start working on those too.

 

(And I'm lucky - I train dogs for a living and my boss has been talking about buying agility equipment to use for future classes, so I'm def able to devote plenty of time to whatever method I choose and I'll liekly have some of the big pieces of equipment to work with as well)

 

Thanks guys! And feel to add anything else you think might be helpful - I'm all ears!

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Thanks for doing this topic! It's been very helpfull for me, too. This is our weak spot for sure. I just made a 12" x 8' ramp to train on. I wish I had my own place so I could just make the DW and AF :rolleyes:

 

Goodluck with your lesson. I love privates. They are so much more helpfull than big groups. Semi's are my favorite since I get to watch another person at my level train too.

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Thanks for doing this topic! It's been very helpfull for me, too. This is our weak spot for sure. I just made a 12" x 8' ramp to train on. I wish I had my own place so I could just make the DW and AF :rolleyes:

 

I've found that having Dean practice contacts at the end of a board that I prop up against the arm of our sofa to make a "ramp" has really helped him with his A-Frame and Dog Walk contacts.

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