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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just don't really get it. I can see the point that the 2on/2off guarantees proper contact, but it seems so slow if the dog has to actually pause for a second. Since agility competitions are run by specific associations with set equipment dimensions- why not train the running contact? It's not like the equipment size would affect the dog's contact... What gives here?


EDIT- Or maybe the dog doesn't actually have to pause on a 2on/2off contact? If not- then how does it differ from a running contact?
 

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For me, to properly train the running contact just takes WAY more repetitions and training then I'm able to get in with my dogs.

Plus my dogs love to go go go and one stride or moment of uber excitement can easily lead to a missed contact and blowing an otherwise clean run.

Many of the top trainers with world champion dogs use a 2on/2off. But you wouldn't know it if you watched their run. Because when they get good, they start putting in a 2on/2off with a quick release. Meaning the millisec the dog is 'in the position' the handler releases so you can't even see the pause.

The other reason I like it is because there are alot of courses being set up now that have off course obstacles directly in front of a contact obstacle. So it the course is fast and you are behind, it's very difficult to keep our dogs away from the off course.

Susan Garrett is one of the top trainers and she has the time to train both for her dogs. Here's info on why she wants both The Fix in on for Feature | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

A Critical Key To Training the Running Contact? Susan Garrett’s Dog Training Blog
 

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when I was training, I trained for both running and 2on2off because both are good tools to have depending on what you need to run a specific course , hopefully, successfully:)

With my aussie, I used a more 2on2off because she was tempted to 'bail' alot on the aframe, she also wasn't a real speed demon, and could lose focus fast, so this worked for her..With my previous shepherd, I usually did running contacts, she had a much longer stride, and was much more solid on her contacts.

I think whatever way (or both) which works well for your dog FIRST< and you second, is the way to go:)
 

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I started with 2o/2o with my male and we moved to running contacts (against advice save for ONE person who saw what I saw). Why? My dog was wrenching his back. What I initially thought was blatant disobedience turned out to be my dog telling me he COULDN'T stop comfortably or safely, so we took a new approach to his contacts.
 

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that aframe is a good obstacle to get toe jam/shoulder jam on especially for the bigger longer striding dogs , it's why I try to stick with running contacts on that obstacle..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the replies. I learned I will need to look into stride length (especially in the A Frame) and see if pausing could cause shoulder/back issues for Pimg. I also didn't know that you they didn't have to pause for a 2one/2off release. So that's something to think about as well... Good info- thanks!
 

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Thanks for all the replies. I learned I will need to look into stride length (especially in the A Frame) and see if pausing could cause shoulder/back issues for Pimg. I also didn't know that you they didn't have to pause for a 2one/2off release. So that's something to think about as well... Good info- thanks!
This is another reason to find the best instructor/classes you can find. A good instructor will be able to work thru this. Finding a safe 2on/2off that your dog can be taught that won't injure it. And/or finding a reliable way to teach a running contact that will hold up at a trial.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
This is another reason to find the best instructor/classes you can find. A good instructor will be able to work thru this. Finding a safe 2on/2off that your dog can be taught that won't injure it. And/or finding a reliable way to teach a running contact that will hold up at a trial.
That's a whole other topic on it's own, but I get your point. I actually walked out (not permanently, probably) on my trainer in yesterday's agility session. She seemed shocked that I left. It's a 55 x55' room (3000 sq ft) with a full agility setup scrunched in- a 30' tunnel, 3' high dog walk, full size teeter, half sized a-frame, numerous jumps and pause tables, two full sets of weave poles, and two tire jumps. People filter in over the 3 hour course of the class starting with about 10 people, and ending at nearly 30 or so. We have never worked on foundation training, and yesterday I talked to the trainer for all of 30 secs while she watched Pimg jump a 6" high piece of pvc siding. The rest of the 45mins I spent there I was pretty much on my own. It's funny how when you become aware of something like professional dog training (especially when you had a mindset of its uselessness) you can really be pulled into something like that. "Wow- look at all this equipment!" or "Wow- look at all these participants; they must be awesome trainers!" And there is no question that my dog has learned a good deal of obedience using their positive punishment (pinch collar, leash jerks, etc...) methods. But now that I get into this stuff more and more, I realize this trainer is not the place for us. Really sucks since I just gave them $275 for a year membership in "advanced" (ha!) obedience and agility. Pffft... I just learned that there isn't even a single trainer here that even competes in agility! Don't get me wrong- I don't think you have to compete in order to know how to train something- but come on- we all know it helps! Maybe we'd be learning foundations if anyone here actually knew what they were doing.

So yeah- I can relate to your statement on needing to find a good trainer. There is a pretty awesome looking facility on the opposite side of Indy as me where they have both an indoor (10000 sq ft) area and outdoor area. All six of their trainers actually compete in either agility or obedience, and class sizes are limited. I'm going to check into them in the new year... Here is a link to the new facility I am going to check out:
Pawsitive Partners Dog Training Center

Anyway- sorry for going off topic, but it is my thread... haha! Yes- I am in total agreeance. A good trainer seems to be imperative!
 

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I like the 2o2o because it gives us some advantages: If I need to catch up, my dog will pause until released. If the course is challenging, again it gives us both a second to "gather" ourselves before moving on to the next correct obstacle. The process of teaching this style has helped with my dog's rear end awareness. You don't HAVE to actually pause, you can have the dog stop for as long or as little as you want (if my dog has already made the contact, and I'm in a good position for handling the next obstacles, I give my release word there and keep him moving).

I do get the hesitation b/c of jamming the dog. Fortunately, that has not been much of a concern for us since we train on a A-frame that is very "open" and a dog walk that is only half height so our angles are a lot different for training. I've only trialed one weekend and my dog only trained formally for 6 weeks so he is not ready for AKC, but my assumption is that we would train enough on the "safe" equipment where when moving to the full size stuff and the tighter angels, the dog has already mastered the contacts and I can release him without him having to actually jam himself to a stop. My dog actually does a running contact very naturally but I persist with the 2o2o in training and then if he does a running contact in trial or running a mock course, so be it. We are not training to be competitive, just to enrich his training in general and have fun.
 

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So yeah- I can relate to your statement on needing to find a good trainer. There is a pretty awesome looking facility on the opposite side of Indy as me where they have both an indoor (10000 sq ft) area and outdoor area. All six of their trainers actually compete in either agility or obedience, and class sizes are limited. I'm going to check into them in the new year... Here is a link to the new facility I am going to check out:
Pawsitive Partners Dog Training Center

Anyway- sorry for going off topic, but it is my thread... haha! Yes- I am in total agreeance. A good trainer seems to be imperative!
That place looks ideal! You have to have smaller classes in agility so you get some one on one. Plus you learn when the other dog/handlers are doing their thing and listening/watching what they are doing right or need to work on. Only a small part of agility is about the dog learning to perform all the individual obstacles properly. The part that's the hardest and we continue with classes FOREVER on is the HANDLING! Which is all about us getting the dogs thru the spaces BETWEEN the obstacles in the correct, fastest, clearest, smoothest way possible for a beautiful clean run.

I know for my big dogs, just training in a smaller place like you were, is NOT condusive to proper training for a big dog. Cramming all the equipment into half the space doesn't do anything but teach your dog to run slow and YOU to run a slow dog!

I have to drive over an hour for my current training facility and that's just the way it has to be. Best instructors and best equipment at best year round facility is the one I'm at, so there I will stay. Try to work in shopping in the same direction, or meet other classmates so we can meet even earlier for dinner....

Even if you never intend to trial, instructors who do go to shows tend to keep their dogs healthier and learn the best/newest methods for their dogs.... and that gets passed on to your dogs. They will know about other clinics or seminars or methods that can only help make everything more fun and better for your agility team.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You as the handler better be very fast if all your dog has is a running contact.
This single sentence explanation actually makes a lot of sense to me. One thing I never considered is that it's the responsibility of the handler to guide the dog to the next obstacle. I clearly can't run as fast as my dog, so... there seems to be a case for a pause every now and again.
 

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wildo the place you posted looks MUCH better than the one you described going to.

I suppose anyone can teach agility, but if your going to compete, you need to go to someone who's 'been there done that'. And 30 people in a "class"? one instructor? Sounds more like a free for all:(

When I taught, I limited my classes to six people/dogs and made sure each one got individual help/attention to problems etc, as well as good course time.

As I said before, I teach BOTH, I want that 2on2off for when mostly I need it, vs the dog. If you've got a dog who takes direction well , you really don't "have" to be able to run as fast as the dog but obviously it does help:)
 

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I clearly can't run as fast as my dog, so... there seems to be a case for a pause every now and again.
Yes and no. When I ask my dogs to slow up or stop, it's not to play catch up just to give me a break, but to better position myself so I send my dog correctly. My dog is NOT a dog I will ever be able to keep up with. He is a dog I direct laterally or from behind.

If I want to layer a sequence, I need to be in a position lateral to my dog to guide him, because I cannot do it from behind him. I'll use contacts for that, but my dog has neither a true 2o/2o or a running contact. He's asked to stop on the flat.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Xeph- that was my take on it. I didn't mean to have them pause so I could get a break while catching up. I understood that it implied the dog pausing so I could get into a lateral position to guide them. ;)
 

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Well then, there ya go xD

I know a couple of competitors who do virtually no moving at all, because they can't (whether it is a weight issue, bad knees, bad balance, etc). They stand as much to the center of the course as they can and work it that way.

And their dogs do well.

If only I had that kind of talent :p
 

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Discussion Starter #17
it is a weight issue, bad knees, bad balance, etc
...well that's me on all counts, haha! I guess there is hope! :groovy:
 

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I train 2on/2off and like the fact that it is a very clear criteria for me and for my dog to understand, mark and reward. As a newbie to agility, I like that it really breaks down the behavior into manageable steps and is more-forgiving to me being "green" in agility. And with 2on/2off I can do a lot of practice with just a board on the end behavior without needing the full-sized equipment. Tara would fly off the top if she was allowed!
 

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I know a couple of competitors who do virtually no moving at all, They stand as much to the center of the course as they can and work it that way.
I have seen these people, some of them are perfectly able bodied, and they just stand there and direct their dogs from across the ring. I swear they can tell their dog to take the second jump on the right after the blue jump and the dog goes and does it. These are usually border collie people though.
 

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Really training a running contact (not just allowing a dog to run contacts and hoping for the best) takes a lot more daily work than training a stopped contact. To really train a running contact you have to be committed to working on it on a daily basis for months. It can't be trained only in a class setting and isn't as easy to work on at home for people with no equipment as 2o2o. This explains step by step how one internationally known agility trainer teaches her dogs a reliable running contact. FAQ contacts

If you simply allow the dogs to run contacts, you are leaving their contact behavior up to chance. Some dogs are allowed to run contacts and always hit them. Some always hit them until they don't. Then contacts become a constant struggle because the dog learned that it's faster (and maybe more fun) to jump off the contacts than it is to run all the way down. Retraining contacts for dogs who have developed problems is not all that easy, especially if they have been allowed to get into the habit of practicing flying off. Big, long strided and/or very fast dogs are the most likely to develop fly off issues if not taught a stopped contact.

My first agility dog had a running contact (that's pretty much what everyone did at that time) and it was never an issue for him. He was a big, leggy dog but not all that fast. My second agility dog was a big, leggy dog with some speed and occasional issues with hitting contacts. My GSD was my third. My GSD could have been a much more successful agility dog if I had taught her a stopped contact. She had natural running contacts until she was between 2 and 3. In that time she never missed a contact but after that she rarely would hit all of them, especially at trials when she was very keyed up. My fourth agility dog I taught a stopped contact to, all four on the contact. He doesn't have fly off issues but he did begin sliding down the aframe, rung by rung waiting for me to release him which I don't like. My fifth has 2o2o and it's working out very well.

If 2o2o is too awkward for your dog, you can do all four on or one foot on. It doesn't have to be a choice of "2o2o or running.
 
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