Getting the Contact

Posted: November 13, 2012 in agility foundations, running contacts
Tags: , ,

Jagger had been doing well enough with his last few sessions on the 36″ high dogwalk that I decided to increase the height. Unfortunately, on my dogwalk this means going  up a full foot to 48″ competition height (definitely a downside of the DIY dogwalk). Not ideal, and while Jagger has bravely run across it, he has been leaping the contact area more often than not. I believe it’s a confidence issue with his striding not being extended fully.

To bridge the gap and ease this height transition, I have been playing Silvia Trkman’s “Get the Contact Game” with Jagger. I had introduced this game before at 36″ when we were working on soft turns on exit for our online class. At this point, I also want to start to teach Jagger to understand that he needs to adjust his stride to get paws in the yellow regardless of where he finds himself on the planks. From my earlier posts, you may remember an issue where as Jagger has gained confidence he prefers to do the dogwalk in fewer strides (like, three, yikes!) and can end up missing the contact if he doesn’t have a speedy approach that supports that much extension.

Here are two videos from our recent sessions. It’s a little ugly, and I’m sorry to say my eyeballs need some training on the starting spots. Seeing the video really does help me learn from these sessions, and I hope to make some improvements in my spot selection in the future.

Spot 1 appears to be a good/easy spot for him to hit with his natural striding, whereas spots 2 and 3 are in between. I need to work spot 1 some more, and then pick a “new” spot 2 that is further back from spot 3 so that it matches up with his natural striding. In the long run, I want him to hit well from the intermediate, harder spots too, but right now they appear to be too challenging because I see him hitting or not mostly by chance rather than making a stride adjustment like he did on spot 1.

This was my effort to work on spot 1 after three warm up trials on a closer spot. I had a few issues, but did finally get it together there at the end. Poor Jagger… he’s a good kid.

One big improvement I’ve made to this round of GTCG is finally breaking down and teaching Jagger to get himself on the dogwalk and make a u-turn to set up for this game. So, unlike last time I am not lifting him which means he is not jumping into my arms of his own accord when I’m not ready yet and doing things like this to my arms with his dewclaws (which, in his defense were overdue for a trim that day):

cut on my arm from Jagger's dew claws

Progress is measured in small steps, sometimes. No blood is always a good step.


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