a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: More Boost Training

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More Boost Training

SUMMARY: contacts and weaves

In class last week, we tried just running her up the Aframe set at, I dunno, maybe 5 feet? And she balked about 2/3 up and bailed. Yikes. So we set it lower and ran her over it a couple of times on lead and she was fine. But I need to set up my Aframe again and I still haven't. It's just so HUGE and there's noplace good to set it up.

Unless I get rid of that dang lilac bush. I'm working on it... slowly...

She actually went across the dogwalk unassisted; not very fast but when she got to the downslope, she sped up a little and did a few very nice 2-on-2-off nose touches. We didn't try the teeter in class.

At home, we're still doing mostly running down the dogwalk ramps from various heights and trying to get a good solid nose touch. She's still often just brushing it or not even quite making contact. I need to stick something to the back to make it stand up off the ground a little, both so that I can see when it moves and so that maybe she's more confident about hitting it.

Susan Garrett would be disappointed that I'm rather simultaneously teaching the run-to-nose-touch AND working on contacts; she says thier students don't get on the contacts until they've got a very solid drive-to-nose-touch not only on the ground but at the bottom of stairs and the ends of boards and things. But, oh, well, I'm impatient. Probably means I won't have the perfect contacts that I want. Although Boost seems to *want* to drive across the contacts, her own speed scares her. She's bailed on the dogwalk here a couple of times, so I'm trying to do only a very few full ones, on tab lead, and not superfast, to accustom her to it.

I've got the teeter set at not quite its lowest position. End is maybe a foot above the ground. She has bailed on that a couple of times, too, sometimes when she gets to the end and it hits--where she jumps off sideways as it hits and jumps mostly back on to do the nose touch. It's cute in a disturbing (training-wise) way. So also I'm mostly backchaining that, with one end propped up and setting her above the pivot point, stuff like that.

She's getting faster and more confident in the weaves but her accuracy is deteriorating. I've done a few sets of having only 3 poles and clicking as she makes the entry and the turn into the 2nd opening, but as she speeds up even on sets of 6, she starts skipping more and more. Nancy told our class that this sometimes happens; the dog is doing it great after the initial training with hand in collar or with guides or however you did it, and then over time they seem to forget or lose the rhythm or something. Soooo maybe I should do a few more here and there on tab lead, although she's so fast, it's hard.

So much to do, so little time! It would be very cool to enter her in some things at the Bay Team's Labor Day trial. Nancy said don't even THINK about entering her in nationals-qualifying classes. But I've got just a little over a month before the deadline for entering, and I'm not sure we're really there even for a jumpers class or gamblers class yet. Sigh.


  1. Hello again. I'm enjoying catching up on your blog.

    How old is your Boostie? I have a 2 year old PRT/JRT and I'm avoiding training his contacts. I think it's because my 8 year old BC has such beautiful contacts but I can't remember how I taught them! :-)
    I thought I'd train a 2on2off again but with a nose touch this time. I taught the nose touch to a plexiglass target and it was pretty good but when I took it to a board it quickly degenerated to a chin dip. But I decided I was OK with that and went on to backchain the board.
    Now I can't seem to get a fast board w/o losing the 2o2o. If I get the 2o2o I lose the speed.
    I'm planning on a running A-frame for the first time since I started agility (but I'll go back to a 2o2o if it doesn't work out) and have no clear idea of what I'll do for the teeter--probably try to train him to run to the end, ride it down and stop in a 2o2o.
    This is the first small dog I've ever had or trained so lots of things are different. For one thing it's hard to get the reward delivered quickly and before he's already jumped up toward me.
    His jumping and handling training is coming along although we still have a long way to go, I'm happy with what we've done so far.
    I was thinking of entering PI Jumpers at my next trial (Labor Day) just to get him in the ring and find out what happens.

  2. Boost will be 18 months on July 31, which would make her legal to compete in USDAA. I've been telling myself that there's no rush, I can take my time, it's OK if she doesn't start competing until she's 2 or whenever. BUT--she's so much fun! And I have only one dog competing most of the time now and it feels weird!

    I hate training contacts. I thought I did really well with Tika and she did great until about our 3rd competition when she discovered that she could take a flying leap with impunity, and it took us many months to get the beautiful contacts back and even now I have to watch it--we actually got faulted in the most recent Steeplechase for a down contact, and it has been a very very long time, but we push the limits all the time in competition because I'm always trying to gain that extra few seconds by not holding her on the contacts.

    Anyway--I haven't trained a really small dog--my Jake is 17 3/4 inches--but I've found so far that if the dog is thinking nose touch and if I have the treat in my hand before they start, I have no trouble getting it to them right on or near the target, and since that's ground level, I don't think that it would matter if it were a big dog or a small dog.

    I've been thinking all along that I want a running Aframe with my Boostie BC, but I dunno--risky--

    Good luck with your wee one!