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2o2o contacts - nose touch query

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Hiya,

I have recently started training my 2yr old BC two on two off contacts with a nose touch. I am planning to back-chain the contact equipment, so we have just been working on nose touches initially with a target, then with target removed. We have been doing it on stairs, planks, the sofa etc, any position which requires him to have his back legs higher and and with his front legs on a different surface to simulate back legs on the A frame or DW and front legs on the ground and the nose touch to the ground. I use the command "touch it", which he understands perfectly well, but the minute I phase out the food rewards and use the toy (his preferred reward), he will not nose touch. He stops in a 2o2o position every time and waits for his release command to get the toy, but will not nose touch as initially trained. If I insist on a nose touch, he either refuses to do it, or shuts down and loses speed for any repeats. Yet if I don't insist on a nose touch, I get an enthusiastic 2o2o, a stop every time, speed into position and away from it on release. I realise that this shows inconsistency in training considering my initial "touch it" command insists on a nose touch as well (to encourage lowering of the shoulders coming down the contact equip), however he seems to really not like the nose touch with speed (and knowing the reward is his favoured toy). So..... Do I keep insisting on a nose touch as that was my original criteria, or forego that and leave it as a standard 2o2o which he seems to want the criteria to be?? I have never come across this with my other agility dogs.

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You can always adjust your criteria. The fact that you used the nose touch to begin with does not mean you have to keep it forever.

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Yet if I don't insist on a nose touch, I get an enthusiastic 2o2o, a stop every time, speed into position and away from it on release.

 

Is this the end behavior you wanted? Do you actually want a nose touch when he's doing the equipment?

 

Both my retired agility dog, and the pup I'm training now pretty much did the same thing as soon as I phased out the target and added speed. Right or wrong, I called it good, since I wasn't looking for an actual nose touch, just the 2o2o. Full disclosure, I might be a lazy trainer. LOL

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Personally, I think that diving to the end of the contact full speed into a nose touch could be very tough on the shoulders over time . . . especially on the A-Frame.

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Personally, I think that diving to the end of the contact full speed into a nose touch could be very tough on the shoulders over time . . . especially on the A-Frame.

Yeah, and that is why I prefer a running contact (shoulder issues).

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The nose touch is supposed to encourage weight shift to the rear. I think once they're in the habit of stopping by shifting weight to the rear vs slamming into the shoulders the nose touch is less vital. My last dog I keep the nose touch through novice or open but then let it go. Letting it go didn't cause me any problems.

 

The dog I'm currently training and just started trialing I let the nose touch go before he had his first competition run. I have a puppy and I"m considering just skipping the nose touch from the get go with her (but I do wonder about the weight shift aspect).

 

I may be a lazy trainer also :P

 

I think the most important criteria to keep with the 2o/2o is not to release until they actually have 2o/2o.

 

 

Personally, I think that diving to the end of the contact full speed into a nose touch could be very tough on the shoulders over time . . . especially on the A-Frame.

 

Actually, a big advantage to 2o/2o is that you can practice your criteria off of the actual equipment, or just on the end of it which means that there is a lot less wear and tear during practice, which for many dogs is where the majority of reps over equipment comes in. Running contacts, especially for the DW can take lots of reps to teach and maintain which equals lots or wear and tear on a more regular basis (not just at trials). I was thrilled that it didn't take that long to teach Rook a running a frame and it's been flawless so far with minimal practice but I finally gave up the running DW because it was requiring more reps to get it consistent than I felt comfortable with.

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Running contacts, especially for the DW can take lots of reps to teach and maintain which equals lots or wear and tear on a more regular basis (not just at trials). I was thrilled that it didn't take that long to teach Rook a running a frame and it's been flawless so far with minimal practice but I finally gave up the running DW because it was requiring more reps to get it consistent than I felt comfortable with.

In theory (please remember, in theory!!! but unfortunately, this is not my experience), the multiple reps happen when the board is on the flat or raised very little - hardly any slope at all. i will call this 'foundation work'.

 

Once the dog really understands to stride through the contact (foundation work i.e. flat board, low slope board), the board can be raised fairly rapidly and the dog should still be successful - thus the repetitions happen on the ground, not when the board is at an acute angle.

 

But since I am not a great trainer, the RC on my dog is far from perfect.

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In theory (please remember, in theory!!! but unfortunately, this is not my experience), the multiple reps happen when the board is on the flat or raised very little - hardly any slope at all. i will call this 'foundation work'.

 

Once the dog really understands to stride through the contact (foundation work i.e. flat board, low slope board), the board can be raised fairly rapidly and the dog should still be successful - thus the repetitions happen on the ground, not when the board is at an acute angle.

 

But since I am not a great trainer, the RC on my dog is far from perfect.

I totally understand the theory and it sounds great!

 

I took an online class with Sylvia Truman (queen of RC) "Running Contacts that Make you Smile" - more like pull your hair out :wacko: There were over 100 people taking the class. For a few that theory held, for many it did not. Rook did great on a low slope board and even when 2' high and sometimes when 3' high but not always.

 

If I recall right she recommended 20 reps 4-5 days a week and she actually had you raise the height fairly quickly once the striding was good on the flat. Honestly, that is when a lot of people had problems. I didn't practice as often as she suggested and I'll still bet he did more DWs during that time than he will the rest of his trial career.

 

That online experience plus knowing several people who have or have tried RC is what makes me think it can take lots of reps. I'm sure for some people that isn't the case - and lucky you if you're one of them :)

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... Full disclosure, I might be a lazy trainer. LOL

Ha ha! At least you have some sort of criteria. We just run and hope for the best. :P

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I totally understand the theory and it sounds great!

 

I took an online class with Sylvia Truman (queen of RC) "Running Contacts that Make you Smile" - more like pull your hair out :wacko: There were over 100 people taking the class. For a few that theory held, for many it did not. Rook did great on a low slope board and even when 2' high and sometimes when 3' high but not always.

 

If I recall right she recommended 20 reps 4-5 days a week and she actually had you raise the height fairly quickly once the striding was good on the flat. Honestly, that is when a lot of people had problems. I didn't practice as often as she suggested and I'll still bet he did more DWs during that time than he will the rest of his trial career.

 

That online experience plus knowing several people who have or have tried RC is what makes me think it can take lots of reps. I'm sure for some people that isn't the case - and lucky you if you're one of them :)

I have the ST RC DVD.

 

My experience is exactly like yours. [i'm glad to hear that I am not the only one that had problems - like many in your class.] Good striding on the flat or a low-sloped board, then Torque starts jumping the contact zone as the board is raised higher.Then I lower the board again for more practice, and he is successful. And again, raising the board results in jumping the contact.

 

What is extremely frustrating is that, when he does 'jump' the contact zone, he is almost 100% perfect with striding such that he places his front feet within 2-3 inches above the yellow, before launching with his rear feet. At least he is consistent. ;)

 

I'm also a member of the 'run and hope for the best' crowd.

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Lots of trainers are no longer training with a nose touch. They focus on the position and reward that, not a target so there is nothing to fade.

 

I was talking to a British international judge a few weeks ago and he was saying that a number of the judges are now setting courses that make it very hard for running contacts unless you have excellent verbals as well.

I watch a lot of people try RCs and so far with fast dogs I am not seeing any consistency. I know who people who have been training since I came to Spain 18+months and they are no closer.

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Thanks for all your comments, they have been very useful - it has definitely helped with my thinking of altering the criteria to take out the nose touch ("altering or changing" as opposed to lazy training lol). Also interesting to read the experiences with training RC's. I had initially wanted to train RC (using ST's methods), but changed my mind when I decided I didn't have the time (daily), home equipment or accuracy of seeing the foot patterns. Talking to an international judge, his comments have stuck with me "if you start with a stopped contact you can always move to a running contact later on - if it turns to s**t, you have the stopped one to fall back on. However if you have taught (or tried to teach) a RC contact from the start, especially with no training previously, you can stuff up the contact for good and forever be in the category of 'run and hope for the best'". I found them wise words!!!

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Actually, I disagree with that international judge. I don't see why one can't train a stopped contact after a RC. It may be a little harder than starting out with one, but if one maintains their training criteria, it certainly seems very do-able to me.

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I agree with you, Jovi. Coming from Freestyle, the idea that a dog can't learn distinct behaviors with an identical piece of equipment and then perform each of them on cue appropriately is bizarre!

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One of our young but very successful international handlers says she teaches both stopped an running contacts at the same time.

 

As for using a nose touch, I've never really seen the point of it.

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For 2o2o I just used the little target pad I got during intro/foundation agility work, where you would "send" your dog to a target point. I kept the "target" command and faded the pad down to a bottle cap, then to nothing. "Target" command, then and now, means drive to contact and hold until released. Never tried an RC since I sort of need the contact hold just to get caught up with my dogs! If I need to shave run time I just release with "ok" the moment they reach the contact.

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