Friday, October 26, 2007

Teeter or Dogwalk

Very interesting experience at a CPE agility trial last weekend.

They had a dogwalk and there were metal stands under each side piece. About 80% of the dogs were bailing off the dogwalk after going up 1/2 way up the up contact. Before doing that, many of them were crouching down. I did not figure it out at the time and thought maybe the board was bowed or there was something weird on the surface but sure, enough, the dogs must have thought it was a teeter. Wyatt, of course, bailed off. He will bail if something is not right. They took off the stands for the next game and almost all the dogs had no problem. It looked exactly like a teeter from the dog's point of view on top of it. It is so interesting that the dogs clearly saw it as a teeter while we humans took a long time to even figure that out.

Wyatt had trouble with the dogwalk and other contacts on this run and I was a little frustrating. I have been trying no reward if he really jumps off contacts and did not reward him after this run. I am really rethinking that as it was totally not his fault in this case. We also found in class this week that if I forgot to give him his "tip it" cue, he jumps off the teeter especially if I don't pause. I thought in the trial that the cause of a fly off was my motion but now I wonder if I forgot to say tip it. I usually say teeter, tip it, spot, and then OK as a release word. It's a lot to remember. I wonder what else I am doing differently in trials that causes contact problems. (Though he does them pretty independantly at home and in class without much cueing.)

I am going to give a small reward even on a "bad" run and jackpot him on a good run.

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