Friday, May 13, 2011

Near perfect A-frames

Worked on some exercises today with the A-frame and Strummy was near perfect, 7/8 hits, only missed the first one which I didn't catch or mark in any way.  Puzzling after 3/3 misses on Sunday which cost us Q's in Standard and Snooker.  But on the other hand he was 3/3 hits on Saturday.  The A-frame in the video is the same height that was used in the trial.

Such beautiful perfect consistent A-frames, not sure why he's suddenly so inconsistent in trials after a year of trialing with an over 90% success rate.  Such a funny boy.

It was 61 degrees and so hot and sunny, we only got through Exercises 1 & 2 because the dogs' tongues were hanging down to their knees.  And my poor piriformis, I don't want to whine about it but oh so sore.  The past 2 days were cold, damp and rainy so I had put the pain down to that but there wasn't much improvement today.  Was struggling to bend over and pick up a jump bar.

Had a nice bike ride this morning though before I hit a short 20-30 yard mud patch and ended up spending half an hour getting the bike in a state so the wheels could move again.  Then the rest of the trails were dry.

View from Boulder Valley

I'm stuck inside at a class all weekend so had to get my blue sky fix.


  1. I did try running contacts with my dog. What I found was she was way more excited at a trial and had so much more adreniline going over the a-frame, so she was more likly to miss the contact. Im not sure if you feel that maybe an issue for you.

  2. Certainly that's always a possibility. But he's calmed down quite a bit over last year and had such a higher A-frame success rate last year. Somethin' is up but I'm not sure what.

  3. These hits look lovely!

    I don't know much about A-Frames as we had to learn running contacts well enough first and we've only tried to run A-frame a few times so far, but I've been told that if the dog hits too high it's because I'm babysitting him too much and I should just run ahead. This is especially important on trials because he is likely to be slower on an unfamilliar A-frame, making the hit higher than at home.

  4. Hmmm, something to watch for. I'm pretty sure I don't babysit, typically I do the opposite and run ahead without watching what he's doing but maybe I'm doing it at times and don't realize. We started out with a bigger problem of him going faster on the A-frames at trials because he was so overexcited. He'd launch over the apex and maybe hit the A-frame once really low or maybe even hit the ground and miss the A-frame altogether. Very scary. Thankfully he seldom does that anymore.

    Usually if he misses it's because he gets too much air over the apex and then can only get one hit on the downside, like here . I think it's a similar issue to the dogwalk, he extends his stride too much to try to reach the ground quicker. It's how he goes through most of his life in general.

  5. On this video you are not far ahead, so I have to wonder if he would extend that single stride enough to hit the contact if you were 6 feet ahead of him... though that would mean that you would have to decelerate for the chute...

    Silvia's Bi has really big strides and does one stride on the A-frame. I guess for some dogs that's just the way to go. What happens if you get Strummer really excited before doing A-frame in training? Will he try to do it in one stride?

    As for the dog walk, Silvia gave me a new training idea. This is for dogs that know to hit the end of the ramp, but have problem actually doing it because of the speed that running dog walk in a course brings (sounds to me like Strum is a candidate!).

    Setup is jump - dog walk - jump. Send the dog to wrap a jump, over the dog walk, wrap the other jump, over the dog walk... until he hits the contact, which you of course wildly reward. When he doesn't hit the contact, don't say anything, just continue running.

    She says that for dogs who already know what to do this doesn't mess up the contacts but gives them a chance to figure out how to do it at speed. But because greater speed means less strides it can take them a while to discover a way that works for them.

  6. Oh I can get him excited and he'll sail over that A-frame in one stride no problem but it's scary and very unsafe and hard on his body. I worked to get him to put in the extra stride and most of the time he does it no problem. Except lately for some reason. He was about 93% accurate in trials last year but has fallen to maybe 60-70% this year though I'd have to check my records, maybe it's worse. I think that lately I haven't been working the A-frame much so he's getting sloppy.

    Thanks so much for the idea for the dogwalk! I've been racking my brain for something to try next to try to get him to shorten that stride. I think wrapping the jump is a good idea. I'm supposing the idea is that after a few reps he'll figure out that he needs to collect for the wrap once he hits the ground so he'll shorten his stride in anticipation of the collection for the jump. At least I hope that's how it'll work. I'm busy all weekend but I'll give it a try first thing Monday morning. Feels so good to have a plan again, I was feeling pretty frustrated and have been avoiding the dogwalk.

  7. That setup is not meant to teach collection (it could be done with two tunnels as well - I think dogs don't collect much for those), but to retain full-out running while selecting for hitting the contact. The idea is that dog by this point knows what the objective is, but has a hard time producing the correct striding for him when going at top speed. When watching Silvia's dogs they don't collect when performing this exercise. Bi will even do the down ramp in just one stride (and hit the contact). Silvia is not happy about it, but she has come to accept that this is Bi's way.

    I haven't been able to try this properly myself because by the time I decide whether to reward or tell him to wrap the jump, Ruby is already past the jump. So if he misses, I just recall him back over the jump and on the dog walk.
    Even in this limited form, it seems to work for us. Ruby used to leap when coming on the dog walk with considerable speed, but last time he adjusted strides before the down ramp so that he could get his usual two strides in.