Oke dokes, so the truth is, that even though I did train Chaos's correctly, but then my butt got lazy... I didn't spend enough time on basics. Then to make it even worse I didn't re-enforce his contacts when I started competing and THE worst thing ever, was that I did quick releases in shows... and needles to say that equalled FAIL...
It was not that he was missing contacts, he just no longer knew what was required and his performances were slow and well... a bit crappy by my standards. So when I got back from the AWC last year I decided to do something about it...
Eish, now as you all may know, trying to fix or improve behaviours is the pits instead of just doing it right the first time. Luckily the Spaz, awesome boy that he is, worked with me for three months and we came into 2011 with contacts that I am proud of... not PERFECT by far, please understand me, a huge improvement... A few people have been asking me exactly how I did it... Now the kicker is that I video'd all my sessions of improvement, BUT with my pc blowing up (okay so I am exaggerating, but you get the idea) and me frantically transferring data before the insurance company came to pick it up... well I lost the damn videos somewhere. I am sure they are floating around in the cyberspace we call the Reed Household Computer Network, but I cannot find them... sure I will find them in 10 years when I really couldn't care any more. But for now, what I did, was do a quick movie session with Chaos this morning, outlining the basics of my 4-step program... So here goes:
Now just to clarify, I only had to work on certain problems:
1. Chaos always drove up the contacts, I have only had a problem with the down ramp.
2. Video was taken on the dog walk, but I I followed exactly the same steps on the A-frame.
3. I never had problems with my see-saw.
4. I only work the end of the contacts in my four step program. It solved my entire down-ramp problem.
5. I always work on full height contacts. Even when I initially trained the contacts, I used competition spec equipment in training (except the see-saw, where I use my adjustable see-saw).
6. I hate props... I really really really really really really hate props... If I can avoid working with props that will have to be removed when in competition, I am a happy camper.
7. I NEVER train for longer than 5min at a time, BUT I do a little bit of maintenance on my contacts every single day.
8. I never let my dog 'get away' with self releasing in a competition or any other place for that matter... no, I don't beat him with a stick, but I just ask him to redo it and if he gets it right cool, we go on with the course. If he fails a second time, I remove him from the ring and we go back home and train a little bit more. If you are the type of person that allows your dog to go ballistic in the ring, fail on a contact and just go on.... sorry, but I don't have time for you.
Erm... okay I think that is all I wanted to say on the subject... maybe my fixing can help someone, or maybe you completely disagree with my methods... it really has worked for me.