Monday, March 06, 2006

Weekend Results

Well, I am a little discouraged. After seeing some good progress in trial contacts, we had a very mixed weekend. We did get a standard Q yesterday but still need one more to finish CPE level 3. We got our usual first place in championship jumpers. We really would be much farther along if not for this issue. It is hard because he does his 2 on, 2 off so well at home and in class.

I believe I am doing all the right things though still not 100% consistent myself. We went to the Friday night run throughs and had problems getting about 50% contacts. I am noticed that one side seems to be better at trials (dog on left I think).

I had been trying to give more verbal and physical support by turning around and repeating his name and the sport command multiple times but I am going to abandon this approach and cue his just as I do at home and in class. That means keeping my shoulders square to the contact, called out "spot" ahead of time, running to the bottom of the contact, pausing, and saying OK to release. Someone noticed that my release was not consistent with what I do in class. I guess I have focused too much on getting to the bottom. Of course, many times in trials, we don't make it to the 2 on, 2 off position.

The dogwalk was not as good as the last few trials though. One time I left him on when the whistle blew so he jumped off the side. My bad.

I am wondering about walking off for blown contacts and/or not trialing in contact events unless I can go back and fix and continuing to get to as many matches as possible. In some other areas, a gradual approach has worked. For example, we now have a super, solid start line stay without ever having to use punishment. [Note that walking off is technically punishment in the operant conditioning lingo. ] Also, since I am not yet being 100% consistent, it might not be fair to ask him to be 100% consisent yet.

One good thing was that we had really good teeters and some good A-Frame contacts. Previously, I did not see any 2on 2off on the A-frame.

I guess it is normal to feel discouraged at times. Sometimes I want to start again with a new dog and do it right this time.


Anonymous said...

Don't get discouraged about inconsistencies. I read recently that dogs do not transfer information/skills from one setting to another all that easily. Wyatt's contacts at practice are a different skill than his contacts at a trial. This revelation has helped me somewhat with Nigel's oddities at agility. Also he has the attention span of a gnat! Have fun & give Wyatt lots of encouragement. Every inch of progress is as worthy of celebration as a mile!

Good Luck,

Nancy (Nigel's Pillow)

John Heffernan said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, Nancy!