I'm going back to basics to try to retrieve some semblance of behavior that I want on the dogwalk after the last 2 dismal trials. I looked back over my training vs successful trials and it looks like things started to break down while working on turns in earnest. The practices themselves were o.k. but the trials that followed not so much. Could be related but maybe not. I think the more likely scenario is that he had a bad day at a trial and the next trial was in the same location and he kept up with the incorrect behavior. In any case the plan was to do some back chaining with the treat gizmo then a few full dogwalks. Unfortunately I forgot the gizmo and the end result was a dismal 6/14 hits (43%). On the upside the hits were towards the end of the session so he was finally starting to get the behavior back. The downside is that watching the slow motion of some of the big leaps is scary. He's flying onto the down ramp with an alarming rate of speed and power and he can't (or won't) control himself on the way down then uses the down ramp as a launch pad. I need to figure out how to get him to not extend so much. The last rep. on the video shows this even though it was a hit.
Yesterday I sneaked in another practice before a snowstorm hit and I remembered the treat gizmo. Success rate was 4/5 (80%), much better and the one miss was maybe a hit, one of those very iffy ones (1st rep on the video) though and I rewarded it at the time but didn't like the look of it after watching it in slow motion so I won't count it. Those are the worst because I almost always reward them. But at least he was putting in the stride on the downside and not leaping.
It's funny what a difference the treat gizmo makes. So it could be the elimination of the treat gizmo when I was training the turns that contributed to the breakdown of the behavior as well. I did work to fade the thing but fading props has never been my strong point. I know, we could argue about whether the treat gizmo is technically a prop but whatever term you want to use it's something that needs to be faded. Next training session I'll do a few reps with the gizmo then replace it with a jump with the gizmo on the far side of the jump, then a tunnel, etc. That's how I faded it last time but I think this time after I totally fade it I'll bring it out every once in a while (maybe once a month) for a couple of reps to try to keep things solid. It's such a pain to haul that thing around along with the video camera and tripod and I was thrilled when I was finally able to fade it and maybe faded it a little too quickly.
I've got all the wood sawn for my backyard dogwalk and now all I have to do is paint it and assemble the sawhorses. I also need to get some hinges. I've seen some kits specifically for the dogwalk online but the cheapest one I can find is $50. So far I've spent about $75 so that's a huge expense. Home Depot didn't have any hinges with removable pins and even if I can find hinges like that it might be hard to get a long bar bent on the end to use in place of the pins. I found these cool hinges but they would end up costing $57. Boulder only has one hardware store and I'll try them today.