Thursday, September 01, 2016

And So It Begins - Running Contacts Part Deux

Well you knew this was coming.  When I taught Strummer running contacts lo the many years ago the only resources I had were an article on Silvia Trkman's website and some video of Daisy Peel teaching her dog.  That was about it.  And nobody in my area was training them at the time so I had no one to compare notes with and share shoulders for crying on.  But now?  Lots of resources including a DVD from Silvia which is what I'm currently using.  And some other locals who have been through it, in fact some even appeared on the DVD training at the place where I train.  So hopefully between all I learned from Strummer and all the new resources as well as local people I can pester things should go more smoothly this time around.  Ha.  Famous last words I'm sure. 

The first thing to do is get some video footage of the dog running.  So I took Ruby to the dog park this morning and while she had a grand time running around it was very hard to get footage of her because she was so far away or running towards me or trotting instead of running, etc.  I got a nice photo but video not so much.

So this afternoon I busted out the old treat gizmo and my GoPro and did some restrained recalls to the treat gizmo then called her back to me for more treats.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Seems like it should be tedious but somehow I like it.

The video analysis is tedious though and I don't like it.  Especially since I wasn't sure what to do with the footage at first.  Finally settled on picking a few reps, zooming in and putting it in super slow motion.

Unfortunately we've had a very dry summer and I gave up trying to keep the grass alive so her little tan legs blend in with my tan grass.  But I can get a reasonable idea.  She has decent rear leg separation but her reach (distance between last hind foot to hit and first forefoot of the next stride) is practically zero.  Ideally it would match her rear leg separation.  Or so Silvia says.  But Ruby has that long back compared to her leg length so it makes sense that her reach would be short to non-existent.  On the plus side she doesn't seem 'airy' and she run low to the ground, again functions of her structure.  I think she'll be a good candidate for running contacts and that it will be more fun for the both of us.  Someone please remind me I wrote this when I'm banging my head against the wall and wondering WTF I was thinking.

Next step would be to start her on a flat piece of astroturf that I have but first I want to work on her running and chasing a bit more.  She's finally excited about her lotus ball and will chase it but I want her even more excited about it and maybe chasing some other toys before we get into full on running contact training. 

So overwhelming to train a new dog, so much new stuff to learn and old lessons to remember.


  1. I initially tried to train Griffin RC (7+ years ago?) from that article too! Times sure have changed. I've been too scared to start my two young dogs yet. I'm looking forward to following your progress.

  2. I say don't be scared, just go for it. But I'm maybe not the best person to listen to.

    I'm going to start back up with her training when I get back from Hawaii. Been preoccupied with triathlon for the past couple few months. Will be nice to take a break and get back to dog training.