Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vexing Contacts

We had a pretty good weekend at the CATS CPE trial but we are still having some vexing contact issues at trials. The good news is that we had great weaves and no off courses. I seem to have finally figured out how to steer Wyatt so he does not go off course. It seems to be a matter of anticipating the off courses, planning for them, and giving cues in time so he knows where to go. There were tons of weaves (including 3 in Wildcard yesterday) and also a set of 12 yesterday in standard. I had to restart weaves only once and he did not pop out once. However, the dogwalk contacts were vexing us. We had a great standard run Saturday be missed the dogwalk contact. I had thought after last weekend (we had a perfect day Sunday with 5 Q's and no missed contacts) that looking at him and maintaining eye contact would cause him to stop but, while this seemed to help, it was not the magic bullet that I thought it would be. He seems to be wound tightly at trials so that any little thing will cause a premature contact release. Also, he got way ahead of me on the dogwalk at times so I was not there to give eye contact. At home and at class, he does a totally independent 2 on 2 off no matter what I do or where I am and I do not even have to look at him. Sunday, I used jackpot to do 2 dogwalks and got both of them but he still missing the contact in standard. We had a great jackpot run and he was one of very few dogs to even get to a dogwalk some 15 feet from the tape but he stalled up there above the yellow zone and I had to move in to get him moving again. The good news is when everything is working for us, he is fantastic. We got 2 level C Q's Saturday and 2 firsts in Snooker and Colors and 3 level Qs Sunday in Snooker, Wildcard, and Jumpers with 2 firsts and a 3rd in Snookers. See the link below for a video of our jumpers run.

I am thinking of trying some more creative ways to put some stress on him at class such as having the instructor act crazy and standing near the contact, putting crated dogs near the contact, or scattering toys around the contact. We are 5 Q's from our CPE C-ATCH and will probably focus on NADAC next where I can redo contacts but if anyone has any advice I would appreciate it.

-- John Heffernan
-- http://goodwhippet.blogspot.com/

Whippet Wyatt of Dodge City, CD, RE, SC, NA, NAJ, OAC, EJC, OCC, TN-O, TG-N, WV-N, CL4-R, CL5-HSF, CGC “Wyatt”
Whippet AWC Triathlon Winner C-ATCH Ch Seaspell’s Concord Point, CAV, CD, SC, OA, OAJ, RN, CR, OTR, NJC, NAC, TG-N, CGC “Patriot”


chinabound98 said...

Just curious... what method did you use to teach the 2/2 on contacts?

John Heffernan said...

The standard method, not sure if it has a name...