Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wyatt's Perfect Contact Weekend!

Wyatt had a great weekend. For the first time EVER, he stopped for every contact. Loyal followers will know that Wyatt has had contact problems for years. Lately, his A Frame and teeter have been good but the dog walk has still been a real issue. What I was seeing was that when I was behind him on the dog walk, he would fly off at the slightest change in my speed, arm movement, voice, whatever. See Video for an illustration of the this. I had been trying to really still my upper body as we approached the dog walk end. However, though it sometimes helped, it did not work most of the time. I got to thinking before this trial about what else I could try. Lots of our NADAC courses lately have been starting with a jump and then the dog walk. This is the hardest way for us to start as Wyatt can get lots of speed right off the start line. I thought I would try a lead out first. Sure enough, for our first course, there was a jump and a dog walk as the first two obstacles.

I tried to lead out but Wyatt started. Luckily, the judge was having an issue so I got to try again. I was able to lead out laterally but not ahead like usual. My second idea was to somehow get him to stop and wait for me if he got ahead of me on the dog walk. I called his name as I slowed down and sure enough he stopped and waiting for me. I then have to coax him down to the yellow zone. Not ideal and not what we have at home, which is a nice independent 2 on, 2 off but it works. I used the same technique and it worked all day and the next day 2. I was very happy that we seemed to have found a solution to our dog walk issue.

I am going to go back to using a target at home and in class to reinforce going down to the bottom on his own. I also picked up a good tip from Dave May for the jump, dogwalk start. That is to start at an angle to the first jump, sending him out. That gives me more time to get to the dogwalk.

Funny how it seems like I had to figure out what Wyatt needed rather than training him. I can work now from where we are and get him to drive to the end of the contact at trials.

Saturday, we ended up with 4 of 6 Qs including our last open Touch and Go leg. That earned Wyatt his NADAC open versatility award, which you get when you complete all your open titles (with the exception of the new Hoopers game.) Getting 4 of 6 is very rare for Wyatt. We had a very nice Hoopers run after quite a few frustrating NQs. I think I am getting the hang of hoopers, which is to treat the hoops like real obstacles. Hard to explain. Sunday, we got another regular (standard) Q, which again is unheard of for us to get 2 regular Qs in one weekend. We had some minor issues in our other runs which causes NQs on otherwise super runs.

1 comment:

Alice said...

Yahoo!!!!! Congratulations John. Glad you figured it out.
-- Alice