Freya’s running contact project
I wanted make Freya a true running contact dog. I had tried to build running contact with Pixie but her strong 2on2off messed up the whole process. Freya was my empty canvas that didn't have any history on the contact obstacles. I had done work with box method and Silvia Trkman method. More or less I saw weak parts on both of them. Then I saw a video of Jenny Damm and Miss Lily’s contact training and their competition contacts, I was totally sold. They had fast contact but still a control after a contact zone. I started to watch their story from her YouTube Channel. Jenny had work on the contacts with little steps and change the reward ways on the way. This seemed to me our way too. Work little by little our in mind.
First problem I had that I didn't have access to planks or dog walk that I could lower alone. So I started everything with one contact piece and started to make her run the contact plank. I did this few times and then I changed it to a full size dog walk. Firsts few times I just made her climb the contact obstacle so that Freya could get used to it. Next I started make her run half of the dog walk and started to shaping her running style. I was first only on the front so that I could control rewards. At first I used treats and a bowl. This way Freya has a bowl target but she got treats only from right performance. After her running was nice and low I added new criteria – she had to hit the contact zone as low as possible. I rewarded the right performances even if the speed wasn't super. I only change one criterion at the time. Speed wasn't my big concern I just waited it to build up later on when Freya gets more confidence.
Soon as she started to hit the contact zone from half of the dog walk I started to do the whole obstacle. This change rhythm a bit and we needed to clear the criterion a little bit. At this point I started to make straight runs on the whole dog walk to a toy target so that Freya would start build up speed. Second thing I started was turning cues to left and right. I used long jump mark poles in the in the dog walk to help her got the idea and also stop her from jumping of too early from the contact zone. I used the same turning cue that I had used jumping. This made easy for her to catch the idea.
When she learned run full dog walk, I also started to work on the A-frame. In A-frame work I just watched first her natural rhythm on the obstacle. This turned out to be a perfect two canter technique. Only thing I needed to do was not reward her too crazy contact performances. This meant jump from contact zone to contact zone with one leap. Right now I have been working on Freya rc performance in course work and also worked on different obstacle combination. I do also do every now and then some run trough work with basic set ups so that I can click for sharp and accurate turn and hits on the contact zone. We will see how these contacts will last in competition drive. I have tried to do every different contact in new places to make her used to different situations. So far so good……¨
That's all for now!!