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Discussion Starter #1
DH came to class with us tonight and took some video of Tara doing agility. We are in our third session of classes, and this one focuses primarily on contacts and weaves. Tonight was class 4 of 6, and we have three weeks of break before our next class! I'll be focusing on 2x2 weaves in the interim, as we've struggled a bit with them.


Thanks for looking!
 

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NICE building & equipment ! :)

Looks great, have fun, enjoy, & you are now HOOKED ! LOL :wild:
 

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she's doing GREAT,,nice contacts! and nice facility~!
 

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That was fun to see... Thanks for sharing. It's clear u 2 are having fun together
 

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Thanks!! We are both having an absolute BLAST. I was hooked from the beginning and it's so fun to start seeing our foundation work really coming together. This was the first I've been able to video our training and it was really helpful to be able go back and take another look.

I love our training facility- it also has two fenced outdoor rings for summer use. I know I'm really lucky to have it so close to home!

nice contacts!
Thanks so much! :D Tara really gets contacts. You can tell on the dog walk when she overshot. That was the first time she had done it with that much speed, probably because DH was standing at the end- she tried to go visit him afterward! And basically she corrected herself to get back on the end. She's clearly brilliant because my training skills leave plenty to be desired!
 

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Loved the videos! Keep them coming!

Loved when you used the toy to play and get her back to position rather than taking her by the collar. These are the best times to use our fist full of treats to keep them interacting and WANTING to be with us, or the toy is also great. Part of agility is getting them to WANT to do it (not have to) and most dogs don't enjoy us grabbing their collar as much as following a fistful of treats! Being with us IS worth a reward, as much as doing the weaves or getting their contacts....

How great is agility class with all the offleash crazy but (for the most part) our dogs listen and stay with us!!!! Classes like this are a huge help for later when I see you at Nationals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Love how you calmly waited when she came off the dogwalk, and she fixed herself! That shows you are doing well and she's really understanding (but still learning). Great job on the 2on/2off on aframe, dogwalk and the teeter!

How much are you paying the cameraman? He did a great job! (Just noticed I 'loved' alot about the video :) )
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, MRL! DH was the cameraman, I'll pass along the compliment! I'm going to have to figure out a way to convince him to come on a regular basis so I can get some more videos! I'm thinking bribery might have to be involved...

I noticed how much I was taking her collar last night once I watched the videos, too. Something I definitely need to be more conscious of and work on not doing. :) That's probably the reason she's NOT loving the weaves yet like she does the other obstacles. :hammer:

Nationals, eh? I can only dream!
 

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I forgot to ask, How did you go about training the 2o 2o method & how long did it take her to understand fully ? :)

 

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Apologies in advance because this is going to be long! You made me really think about all the little things that we did to put the behavior together.

I forgot to ask, How did you go about training the 2o 2o method & how long did it take her to understand fully ? :)

I think Tara's understanding of 2on/2off really stems from our foundation work. Formally, I used the target method to teach the whole behavior. From the beginning here is what we did...

In our very first “pet” obedience class (before I even knew we were going to do agility!), I shaped a hand target and transferred that to a plastic lid. I proofed the target on the plastic lid by holding it in my hand in various positions, attaching it to vertical surfaces (walls, cabinets), putting it on a chair. I'd say she understood this behavior pretty well by the end of that first class, but I didn't use the lid much at all for several months and stuck to hand targeting only. When we got to our first six week foundation agility class (in May of this year), we started practicing targeting with the plastic lid again. We started with just a regular targeting action, and worked up to targeting on the floor VERY slowly. The first week, we just held the target in our hand below the dogs' heads, the next week slightly lower, and slightly lower than that till we had the back of our hand resting on the ground with the target lid in our palm. After several weeks, we were able to fade the hand, but leave the target lid. It was important at this point to make sure the dogs did not lie down or offer a foot target.

Prior to our first agility class, I had also been working perch work with Tara. I shaped the perch with her front feet on at first and then decided to do with her back feet on to increase her rear end awareness. We did more of this than was probably necessary and as a result Tara LOVES to perch. If she sees anything even remotely resembling a perch (I had used a huge science textbook), she will start offering behaviors putting her front feet or back feet on it. She even perched on a can of tuna once. :silly: I never put this on a cue as it was just something we were playing around with, but I think it was really important to her understanding of the 2on/2off position.

Back to our first agility class and we were doing “board” work also, teaching the dogs to stand with their back feet on the end of a 4-6 foot long board and click/treat for staying in position while moving around it. Basically, teaching it as any control/stay position. There was TONS of reinforcement in this position. So much actually that I had to start reinforcing the release from the position also.

Our next class started and we started to put the two pieces together – target + rear feet perch. When she would offer her rear feet on the board, I would place the target on the floor in front of her and let her offer the target also and mark/treat. The treat was always placed on the target or from my hand right at the target to reinforce that head down position. Once she started getting this, I made it harder by walking from the end of the board with her to the target (from both sides). We practiced this at home on a board and in class while waiting our turn for other obstacles. It took awhile (a few weeks?) to really understand that both the nose touch to the target AND the back feet perching on the board had to be present for her to get it right. That's probably mostly my fault for clicking by accident a lot when I didn't notice that she had one foot off the board. By the end of this class, we started backchaining the A-frame and dogwalk, starting with the 2on/2off position. This was also when I was happy enough with the behavior to name it “target”, up till this point it was purely shaping and Tara was offering the behavior only. We also started fading the target by cutting the lid down about ½ inch every week or so.

We had about a 3 week break in between our second agility class and our current one, and I managed to fade the target to about a dime-sized piece of plastic. The first night of our current class, we discovered she didn't need it anymore when she was bobbing her head like a chicken at the ground despite the fact that our teeny target had gotten pushed out of the way, and we haven't needed the target since. We did our first full length run of the A-frame and the dogwalk at the 2nd class (I think) and she has been brilliant at it.

Right now, the only time she fails on her contacts are when we add a new element. For example, in the video she blows past the contact on the dogwalk the first time because she had a lot more speed than she's ever done it before. She learns from her mistakes very well though and rarely makes the same one twice in a row.

So, I guess we've been “formally” training the 2on/2off for about 4 months. I think she understood the position fully by the end of 2 months, but I do not think it's fully proofed yet under all circumstances. I still need to proof a send to the target, recall to the position and moving laterally away from her while she's driving to the target.
 

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Wow, thanks for the info ! I need to learn to allow lots time & patience. ;)
I never really been taught shaping, backchaining, how to perch, etc. :crazy:

Guess I need to research & maybe change my ways. :rolleyes:

Did you use a clicker all the time ? If you hold out your hand, will she come bump your palm ? What word do you use ? Do you say, target to get the 2o 2o ?

Thanks much for sharing in such great details ! :)
 

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I never really been taught shaping, backchaining, how to perch, etc. :crazy:

Guess I need to research & maybe change my ways. :rolleyes:
I learned a lot from this board and from Karen Pryor's website. Shaping is a fun method, and it does give excellent results, but it does take more time than luring. I would highly recommend playing around with some shaping with a clicker - it's fascinating to just watch their brains trying to work out the problem. You do have to be pretty patient and resist the urge to “help” the dog.

I haven't done a lot of backchaining other than with 2on/2off, which was a pretty simple one. Basically, you teach the end behavior and add on each prior step (e.g. assuming the target position at the end of the board is taught first, then you add the very end of the down contact on the dogwalk, the last step is taking the whole dogwalk and ending with the target behavior).

Perching is something I picked up from the board and is really the first behavior I shaped with Tara. Both perching with front feet on an object and perching with back feet on an object are awesome for rear-end awareness! If you would like, I could video some perch work tomorrow or this weekend to show you what we do.

Did you use a clicker all the time ?
Nope. I used the clicker to teach the targeting skills and the perching skills, but when I started putting it together, I found it to be easier to use my voice to mark instead. The reason was that the clicker was just too precise for my poor timing skills – I kept clicking early before both feet were in the correct position so we had to work through that first. I don't click for this behavior any more, but I do still give the verbal marker most of the time.

If you hold out your hand, will she come bump your palm ? What word do you use ? Do you say, target to get the 2o 2o ?
Yes, if she's paying attention, she will come up and bump my hand (either right or left). I used to use the word “touch”, but I don't find that it's necessary because I will always be giving her a hand signal for this behavior. I do use the word “target” for 2on/2off, but I'm pretty sure she will do it without the cue also.

Thanks much for sharing in such great details ! :)
You're very welcome. It was helpful for me to actually think about it too! And it made me realize, I should really take more videos of our training so that I can remember all the little things that I do!
 
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