Thursday, September 3, 2015

Some more about this dog walk thing

For now I am not going into my training methods or ideas or plans. I will start sharing general ideas that I had:

1. I don't like training ten million repetitions of anything or training anything every single day. I train contacts once, MAYBE twice a week, and really not even every week. The video in this post is 4 minutes long, has a title and a slow motion replay of every single running contact... and that is two FULL sessions which include the running and 2o2o. That is how little I train. I like varying my dog's time with me and keeping things interesting. I also don't like parrot learning or just teaching muscle memory. I like it when my dogs have an understanding of what they should be doing (and should not be doing). I wanted to devise ways where Hex (and Volt) could figure out what was wrong and right. This meant that speed should definitely NOT be a priority or a required criteria in the initial stages of training. Hex does generally offer speed with anything he does though, so I had to accept this. 

2. My job is made slightly easier by the fact that I am not planning to do any turns for the forseeable future. This is where my 2o2o comes in. It also does mean that I have to spend a lot of time making sure Hex understands the difference and even more time making sure my 2o2o is fast and reliable. It really annoys me to no end when people try to condescend 2o2o training, when it should require just as much fun, hard work and satisfaction as a running contact. My 2o2o is NOT a fail safe, it is NOT a back up, it is NOT a plan B. It is a skill that I am teaching with specific goals and scenarios. Again I believe in my dogs fully understanding the behaviour. I believe in throwing in as many scenarios as possible from day 1. We are adding jumps at the end, straight and angled. Throwing in different approaches and have lots of other obstacles in the vicinity and we are still only on a plank. I am also changing the height and angle of the plank slightly with each session (up AND down) to ensure understanding. He does still struggle with the entries and sometimes comes off to the side, but we will work through that too.

3. Those that have attended my training seminars will appreciate this point. I hate BOF trainers and the behaviours they train... 'But Only If'... as in 'my dog has running contacts But Only If I am ahead/behind/standing on my head'. This was never an option for me. This meant that I needed to remove placement and nature of reward as a requirement very early on in the game. This was achieved very easily with my multiple reward system. We are now on a system where his tug toy or ball or food (whatever I choose to use on the day), can be anywhere from in my hand or pocket to behind or in front or offset or in the car or on a table 30m away, it doesn't matter. Jumps are always at different distances or angles and I never put the plank in the same place twice. I will also change it in the middle of a session, even 3 or 4 times.

Those are just a few of the 10 million thoughts I have related to contacts... here is this week's session. It might look like we have not done much in the last month (which is when I posted the last video), but we have seriously upped the variables... also he is just under 10 months old, so I have no plans of doing much more in the next few months.

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