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Running Contact with Down


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I have a question for those of you who train the running contact with the down.

 

Once the dog has the idea, does the dog start to drive really quickly into the down? Isn't there potential for joint strain as the dog repeats this?

 

I'm asking because my instructor wants me to try this with Maddie. I'm game to try it. But I just can't see how running over the contact and then going into a down is easier on the shoulders than a 2 on 2 off.

 

Any insight would be appreciated!!

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I dont have super fast dogs but a few in our club do

The dogs do drive down fast, but the idea is they run all the way down and off the contact and then down once they are off the bottom so they are not stopping at a funny angle with all their weight on the front shoulders

a fast down is more natural for a collie :rolleyes:

Its about the same as dropping on a target on the flat - you have to make sure the position is far enough forward that the dog drops flat

Also once they have got the idea of the postition you can sometimes do a fast relese so they drive to the position but you get them to go before they drop so it becomes a running contact

 

I dont drill anyway so no repitition, no joint strain :D

 

 

DSCN0465.jpg

Heres Ben - he stops a little further out now

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Another question - did you introduce this on a lowered A-Frame?

 

I'm working at home on the dogs running across a flat board and then going into the down. That's coming along.

 

But when we go to connect it to the A-Frame, it seems to me it would make sense to lower it - even if only briefly - to introduce this new piece of the picture.

 

Also, do you do this from the dogwalk, too?

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I would lower it so it is only a few cms off the ground. The dog has to learn to decel and not overshoot its mark. :rolleyes: So raise it slowly and the dog will learn how to decel in time to down at the bottom. If you send the dog over a full height a frame the first time it will most likely end up dropping miles past the a frame because they are going so fast. There is a big difference between a board on the ground and an a frame.

 

As for the dog walk it is slightly easier. Perhaps if you did the a frame first and raised its height slowly, by the time you got to the dog walk the angle is much less and would be a breeze for your dog to complete.

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I would lower it so it is only a few cms off the ground. The dog has to learn to decel and not overshoot its mark. :rolleyes: So raise it slowly and the dog will learn how to decel in time to down at the bottom. If you send the dog over a full height a frame the first time it will most likely end up dropping miles past the a frame because they are going so fast. There is a big difference between a board on the ground and an a frame.

 

That was my thinking, as well - especially for Maddie. We have been training her running contact with a hoop at the end of the A-Frame, so she is used to just running right through. If I try to get her to decel on a full height A-Frame, she is going to be confused. With the height lowered, it will make more sense to her since the picture is different from normal. I don't think she will need many reps before I can raise it. I just want to show her the picture before I ask her for it on a normal height A-Frame.

 

It will probably be easier with Dean since he runs the A-Frame with a lot more thought to begin with. Adding in a new criteria for him will seem normal.

 

As for the dog walk it is slightly easier. Perhaps if you did the a frame first and raised its height slowly, by the time you got to the dog walk the angle is much less and would be a breeze for your dog to complete.

 

The dog walk will definitely be easier. In fact, I was thinking of actually starting with the dog walk.

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That was my thinking, as well - especially for Maddie. We have been training her running contact with a hoop at the end of the A-Frame, so she is used to just running right through. If I try to get her to decel on a full height A-Frame, she is going to be confused. With the height lowered, it will make more sense to her since the picture is different from normal. I don't think she will need many reps before I can raise it. I just want to show her the picture before I ask her for it on a normal height A-Frame.

 

It will probably be easier with Dean since he runs the A-Frame with a lot more thought to begin with. Adding in a new criteria for him will seem normal.

The dog walk will definitely be easier. In fact, I was thinking of actually starting with the dog walk.

 

That's the idea. Just showing them that a lowered A Frame is the same as a board and then you could raise it up quite quickly, running her over even just one time before raising it. Once she's got the idea about the running contact then raising the height one link at a time will help her with adjusting her stride. A board on the ground has a different stride to a full height A Frame. Raising the Frame slowly lets her work out her stride so she doesn't go flying over the top and into the hoop. I think if you started with the A Frame lowered the picture may make a bit more sense than a Dogwalk, but I suppose it doesn't matter which way you start I just did the hard one first.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As the snow melted and I got back to some work on the contacts which, at this point involves fading the down from the performance, I realized the change in release was causing confusion for my young BC which was causing creeping and hesitation on the boards.

 

So, although I recently suggested this method to someone in another thread and found it quite easy and smooth to train initially, having just had the chance to go back to some contact work after about a foot of the snow in my hard melted, I have quickly decided to steer away from this method. I will not use it to train any future dogs of my own or any future student's dogs. I am now re-working using Silvia Trkman's method and will rework both contacts to eliminate the confusion on the release.

 

Best,

Jen

Flute AAD, AX, OAJ, OAC, OGC, NAJ - semi-retired

ADCH Enna TM - Silver, SACH, GCH, SCH, JCH, RCH, MX, MXJ - rescued champion

Rising Sun's Hot to the Touch - aka: Fever - retired due to epilepsy

Ignited's Molten Rush, aka: Lava - BC puppy in training

Kasi EAC,EGC,EJC, OA,OAJ - (1992-2007)

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I would totaly do Silvias method if I had the time and the space

a down at the end was just easier for me to figure for my dogs as I have a v small house and limited time on equipment

Everything was taught on the lowered contacts to start with, but they got it really quickly

Mind you this thread reminds me I really have to work on it again - I have been sloppy lately

 

One interesting thing I found with Mia was she figured the position too well and launched herself off the top of the A frame into her down perfectly at the end - but she didnt get rewarded so she quickly figured out it was go all the way down then lie down at the end - not get to the end position by any means possible :rolleyes:

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Since my instructor wanted to try it, we gave it a go tonight.

 

WOW!!

 

The criteria was so clear to Maddie, it wasn't even funny. It was the first time she very clearly understood her contacts in a very, very long time. She was focused on driving to the bottom instead of flying off, and she actually didn't lose any speed going into the down. She lost flight height, but that's a good thing!

 

Since we compete in a venue where a default down after the contact would not NQ us (if the quick release doesn't register), and I'm not worried about time with this particular dog (if she creeps a little), I'm going to go with it for now with her. The benefits definitely outweigh the potential drawbacks with her.

 

I'm not going to do this with Dean. He's so specific that if he learns to down after the contact, he is going to lie down every time. Anyway, he is hitting his contacts. Maddie's not like that. I think this is going to work really well with her.

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So glad it is working!!

You do have to keep it up so they dont start creeping! and of course it dosent work for all dogs

 

I have to get back to training it a bit more cos I have got a bit sloppy this winter

 

Funny I just had a agility training day and the instructor was scathing of the 4 on the floor method saying the dog wouldnt understand the position

Then she showed us her dogs fantastic 2 O 2 O cantacst - which were great - but you could SEE the slam on the shoulders - it looked so painful

TBH I think I would prefer rubbish contacts to hurting my dogs!

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So glad it is working!!

You do have to keep it up so they don't start creeping! and of course it dosen't work for all dogs

 

The thing about it that struck me the most, was seeing her adjust her performance on the contact to anticipate the down. This is something that she never seemed to be able to do with a traditional stop. I either had to babysit her through it, or she would overshoot it. Had I known how to build value into things like I do now, a stop might have worked well with her. But I didn't. While it could be done now, I'd rather not if I don't need to. She seems to naturally understand the down. I was pretty stunned at how quickly she understood.

 

We've tried quite a few approaches to find the right one for Maddie.

 

I tried the Saunders Box Running A-Frame, but she never really generalized the pounce in the box onto the A-Frame without the box. She knew the difference and would pounce when the box was there, but leap the entire contact when it wasn't there. It might have worked in the long run had we gone back and done more foundation work with it, but she's 9. We don't have years to perfect her running contacts!

 

A hoop at the end of the A-Frame was helping. At her last trial, she was still flying off, but she was flying off lower - well into the contact zone.

 

I like the Trkman method, but that also requires a good bit of time. Time that is well invested in putting a strong foundation on a young dog. Time that we simply don't have with the dog at 9 years old.

 

I think we might have found the appropriate answer with this one. It might not be perfect, but I think it has potential to do what I need for this dog at this time. A contact performance that she seems to understand naturally, and is driven to carry out. I can actually see her finally gaining some independence on her contacts with this.

 

I'm hoping that it continues to go as well as it did last week.

 

Then she showed us her dogs fantastic 2 O 2 O cantacst - which were great - but you could SEE the slam on the shoulders - it looked so painful

 

TBH I think I would prefer rubbish contacts to hurting my dogs!

 

Yes, I would, too. I know that the point of the contact zone is to keep dogs from flying off from an unsafe height, but it seems that even a correctly performed contact can, over time, damage the dog's body.

 

It doesn't seem that there is really any way around that. A stop requires that the dog absorb some impact from stopping. Running requires a good deal of repetition over time.

 

Add in that most of us don't own dog walks and A-Frames, so we can't always train as gradually, nor as smart, as we would like since we have limited access to those pieces of equipment.

 

I know this sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm not. Just musing about the challenges that good contact training presents.

 

It's a conundrum.

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So glad it is working for you! I agree I think there are better methods if you have lots and lots of time and access to the equipment, but I think the fact that YOU are inspired with this one, I think there are loads of great methods out there but if you dont like it you wont train it that well

Dogs are a bit too smart sometimes with hoops and targets - they see when they are not there - again its possible to work on this but it takes time

 

Funny you saying about building value - I have been working on the contacts again and I figured the BEST thing I have that is a rewarded place for the dogs that totaly has the behaviour I want for them is their CU go to your place matt - I have been putting that on the down position and then backchaining the contact

 

I have already used this method for a instant down when walking so I know they can phase out the matt and generalise the location

 

 

Yes it is a balance as to what is the safest way to run our dogs isnt it?? The best thing I have been doing is training lots of different tricks and not doing that much agility at all, teaching turns round trees when I am walking and things like that

Personally I dont see the point in shaving off seconds in a run by teaching my dog to leap the apex of the A frame or something by hours of repitition :rolleyes:

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Funny you saying about building value - I have been working on the contacts again and I figured the BEST thing I have that is a rewarded place for the dogs that totaly has the behaviour I want for them is their CU go to your place matt - I have been putting that on the down position and then backchaining the contact

 

That CU mat is a real eye opener. When I see how badly Maddie wants access to that thing, it really does make me consider attaching value to the things we train in a whole new light.

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