15 May 2010

Running Contacts-a primer about feets and criteria thereof.

So last week, I spilt the cat out of the beans and told everybody about Gustavo's new project, a Well Trained Running Dogwalk. He has been working hard on this, with our at home driveway plank, as well as almost every day before work stops at the training field to work on a real lowered plank. I would like to report he's doing great.

Training in the driveway, with distractions such as the evil nemesis Pistachio the goddamn cat from next door and trucks and stollers and our friend from down the street who's 9 and cross training Gustavo to careen down the street pulling his bmx machine, isn't preferable but a good way to get a few more repetitions on the board in every day.

So far, these zillion already repetitions have allowed me to become pretty clear on what the criteria is that I'm looking for in how his feet come down that board through the yellow paint. And since all the dogs are going through this project together, I get a lot of feet in yellow paint watching practice with Otterpop and Ruby before I run Gustavo through. Ruby already has a trained running dogwalk, so this is good brush up practice for her and for my timing. Otterpop is getting a free running dogwalk out of Gustavo's, she has a hackjob of an untrained running dogwalk using the don't try this at home method. So really, we're getting two for the price of one here.

With Gustavo, I want to be absolutely clear and consistent on the criteria for him, because, well, because. Since I'm using Robot to dispense treats on a beep from the remote controller, I cannot beep a missed contact. So far, so good. I have this picture in my head of where his feet should be hitting, and if they don't hit there, back up he goes for another try. By George, I think he's getting it.

It's pretty simple, really. You just watch that paint, and watch those feet, and when you see what you like, you hit the BEEP. And then you do it again. And again. And again. And so on.


Celeste said...

Some running contact people I know (They are Everywhere)taught 2o2o first. On purpose. Some others taught 2o2o second, out of desperation. And then they started running, or went back to running (whichever). Did you?
T LeC. says his running contact is "a gradual deterioration of criteria." Everyone else refers to "the Silvia T. method." In any case, it's an epidemic that won't go away. I don't worry about my dog getting confused but I do worry about keeping up. (My dog is big...)

Mary said...

Looking pretty svelte, there. I believe your pounds migrated to my waist. Please don't let that happen again.

Mary said...

@Celeste. The convincing thing I found about Silvia T.'s method is 1) logically, there is something suspect about a behavior such as 2on2off that has to be reinforced EVERY times for years; 2) watching how relaxed the dogs with "true" running contacts are (and faster because relaxed).

team small dog said...

Gustavo has a pretty strong 2o/2o that I am retraining from scratch as the running. He does 2o/2o well, but I think he hates it. He has run through it in trials so I shouldn't say it's that strong! He hates stopping. He has a trained running a-frame which is super consistent, and I trained just like this, Silvia T. method. I was afraid to train a running dogwalk with him in the beginning, and now I'm not.

Otterpop had a well trained 4onthefloor dogwalk that I did the gradual deterioration of criteria method on, now it's just a sort of a sloppy in between version. She has a really good, consistent and trained running a-frame. She is going to learn running with Gustavo, but I'll keep doing whatever with her in trials. I'm going to keep Gustavo off dogwalks where possible in trials until we get a lot further along.

Ruby had a wishy washy sort of 2o2/o dw, that I retrained to a running. I never got to trial her much after I taught the running dogwalk though, so I don't know how well it would have held up under pressure. Her a-frame was similar, but I don't let her do a-frames anymore because she crashes into them!

It is a lot of people running to train running dogwalks! Good exercise!

Kevin said...

"It is a lot of people running to train running dogwalks!"


We don't run with our dogs over every jump. What's different about dogwalk?

team small dog said...

The people running exercise?

I want him to run and hit that yellow if I'm standing still, running, walking, standing on my head, falling down. So every day we're practicing. So far, I've been standing and sending him most of the time in different positions, but there will be a lot of running too so he hits it even if I'm running fast to the end.

So there's running. I mean, there's also walking, standing on my head, falling down too. It's just a lot of repetitions.