Thursday, February 14, 2008

More DOCNA



Sunday went a little better in that I had a plan for dealing with the contact leaping. DOCNA allows and encourages training in the ring and you can repeat an obstacle up to 3 times during your run. There was that same stupid dogwalk/jump/finish line setup at the end of the second round of Standard so I asked the judge if I could bring my dog back to repeat the obstacle even if he'd already crossed the finish jump. The judge not only said yes but told me he'd meant to tell me that yesterday but I'd left the ring too quickly. What nice judge, but more on that later. Sure enough Cody leapt right over the contact at the end of his run but rather than let him leave the ring to get his goodies I made him come back and repeat the dogwalk. Again he leapt of the dogwalk so I made it easier the second time by sending him over the opposite way so he was running away from the finish line. That time he stopped no problem so I ran him out of the ring for his rewards and a big party. The only trouble with all this is that I imagine it will take a lot of reps. to get him to solidly stop on the way out. But when it came time for his 'North American Challenge' run (DOCNA's version of USDAA's Grand Prix) where the path over the dogwalk was away from the finish line he stopped beautifully again so it helped to some extent. I'd had him in a NADAC trial last spring to practice this exact thing but he couldn't stop himself at all on the slatless equipment so I had nothing to reward and gave up that lark. I took him out to the agility field last night, put a bowl of goodies at the end of the dogwalk, sent him over the dogwalk and ran past the end of the ramp to beat him to the goodies and he stopped perfectly and waited to be released. Did it several more times, perfect each time. Cue sound of head banging against wall.

Both dogs had nice jumpers runs with Q's (first places too but we were the only ones in each class). Cody was maybe fourth of the 16"-20" heights if you combined the levels and I'd done a terrible job of handling, he could have been even faster if I hadn't been so late with my cues. He saved me butt though and did a nice job. Jumpers is his favorite.

Both dogs also qualified for Nationals on the North American Challenge course. They need a new name for that, what a mouthful. You're allowed up to 12 faults and Cody had 10, Lola 5 so they weren't the nicest of runs but the course was really fun. I'll post it so those unfamiliar with DOCNA can see what it's like. You can qualify for all the events at Nationals with that one run and it's very tempting to go but it's in AZ in Oct. which I imagine will be super hot and it's also the weekend of a localish (2 hours away) USDAA trial so it's hard to justify driving 12 1/2 hours when there's another trial so much closer. Still it would probably be fun.

In general the DOCNA courses were really fun. Some nice handling challenges as well as places where the dogs could stretch out and run. It was like old school NADAC before the rules got loopy, the courses got dumbed down and the equipment started to disappear. I didn't sign up for all the games because I felt 3-4 runs per day was plenty for my crew but next trial I want to try the Time Gamble, that one looked fun. The atmoshpere at the trial was relaxed and fun and I had a great time despite my crappy handling and training issues. The dogs seemed more relaxed on Sunday which was more fun as well.

Judge Darryl Warren was great, what a nice guy. He even helped out the handlers with novice dogs that were having trouble on the teeter and encouraged everyone to take advantage of training in the ring. I think he's a USDAA judge too and the club members seemed really happy with him so maybe we'll get him again for another trial.

DOCNA sure has a lot of amenities over USDAA. My old dogs actually get to run at a lower jump height in a real live veterans class, what a concept. No vets class is a huge peeve of mine with USDAA at the moment, can you tell? And the jump height cutoffs are way more reasonable to begin with. No fault limits either and in fact you're encouraged to stay in the ring and train if you have an issue. Wow, I get to have some time in the ring in exchange for my entry fees, again, what a concept. There was no table or chute which was nice for Lola. The courses were fun but challenging, not boring straightforward loops around the arena like NADAC now has. Overall a great venue and a fun trial, hopefully we'll see some more pop up.

2 comments:

  1. Bummer that the goodies after the dogwalk didn't work. Did you try, like, chicken and tease him with it first? (You'd have to have it in a container that he couldn't open if he got there first.) You could try teashing him with it and running and throwing it as he's descending to the contact. I'm just trying to think of other ways of getting him so excited that he'll abandon his training at home.

    It's really hard sometimes. I almost never can get Tika to grab my feet at home or in class, but she's sure good at it in the ring at the end of the course.

    -ellen

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  2. I don't think that dogs generalize very well (just like horses)so they learn to run the dw one way in practice and another way at trials. The only way I can get my dogs to generalize to the ring is to

    1.use gamblers or snooker or a show and go and run from the ring immediately after the dog has performed whatever behavior I'm trying to achieve (in this case a stop on the dw) in order to jackpot said doggie with a momentous treat of a type he's never had before.

    and

    2. after I've done the jackpot thing many times in several different places, if the dog doesn't stop on the dw, I neutrally leave the ring immediately and allow said doggie a few minutes in his crate so that he can notice the difference in consequence between the jackpot moments and the neutral, non-jackpot moments.

    And, of course, if I EVER let my dog continue to run after not performing the stop, I have to go back to step 1. and 2. again until he's offering the stop reliably in all situations.

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