Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Running Contact Training Gizmos

I found this cool gizmo for training running contacts. Yeah, I know Clean Run sells something like it but it doesn't shoot tennis balls! I wonder how quickly Lola would learn if I had one of those??!! The problem with this thing is that for one it's $1000, maybe more if that price doesn't include shipping from Europe. It's hard to tell from the website what the shipping policies are. The other problem is that the dog could hit the contact and still be jumping which wouldn't work for me since my criteria includes no jumping. Also you don't get to learn how to be a better trainer with impeccable timing and crazy mad clicker skilz. But if you aren't concerned about jumping, your timing is bad and you don't care you just want your dog to hit its contacts dammit and you have boatloads of money to burn this is a cool little gizmo.

I asked the expert DIY guy in my office how difficult it would be to build a remote ball launcher and he sounded optimistic about it but let's just see if I can get a simple table built first before we start messing around with electronics.


  1. it was a little complicated to set up it looked like! I dunno, it's almost like the manners minder...

  2. The difference between this gizmo and the manners minder is that the dog triggers the reward rather than the handler. My idea is for something like the manners minder, where the handler could remotely trigger the tennis ball so you could use toys rather than treats to reward. On the other hand I could just throw the darn tennis ball myself and stop trying to overcomplicate my life with gizmos and impossible DIY projects.

  3. The other thing about the gizmo is that the ball is lobbed rather high and causes the dog to raise his or her head instead of focusing downward. (There, I just gave you another reason not to buy it.)

  4. Ah, a design flaw to consider when I make my own. :-)

  5. What amazes me is how many videos and random web pages there are that talk about running contacts when you actually do a search. It's scary. But it's been clear for a few years now that running contacts would be the wave of the future. Sigh. And when I finally have a dog with very fast 2o2o!


  6. Nothing wrong wtih 2o/2o if your dog is doing it safely and you don't have injury issues. Unless you're gunning for the world team I just can't imagine that the fraction of a second you're saving is all that significant. Plus there are many issues with the handling. I've got my head in the sand on that one for now.

    I chose running contacts out of safety concerns. Strummer was NOT doing 2o/2o safely and I felt that running would be safer for him and more fun & motivating. I could care less that it's arguably faster and I'm sure I'm going to have some calls on it but I'm willing to take that risk because I'm more concerned about safety.

    I think that you really need to be able to run and have a good handling scheme worked out or you can lose more time in the handling than you gain in the obstacle performance.