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  #11  
Old 10-13-2009, 12:56 PM
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That's probably a good idea. I generally trial with the same group of people I've been in classes with for the last couple of years (including my instructor) and they haven't seen anything, but you never know. I think we are done trials until March or so at this point, but I think I'll try to borrow a camera this spring and see if I can find any other clues.
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2009, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandyb View Post
BB are you able to film your practice sessions and then film a trial and compare the two? You say you've proofed up the wazoo, trained and trained on contacts and she hits them during practice, fun runs etc. but it's a hit or miss in trials - correct??
My reason for filming would be to pick up on the small subtle differences in body language by you, from a low stress venue (training, fun runs) to a higher stress venue (trials) - even if you think you're not showing stress signals.
I can tell you from experience, that no matter how much I say I'm not stressed at a trial, Brandy knows best and picks up on the littlest thing that can throw a run. Our weaves in practice are 95%. Weaves at a trial are hit and miss. The reason, my set up in class for entry is smooth, easy and it doesn't matter to me if she hits them or not. My set up at a trial is stiff and I'm constantly thinking about them - too much. The difference in body language may be so subtle spectators may not notice, but the dog does. Brandy is VERY handler sensitive, I would assume Meg to be the same, just because of how you've described her in the past, so both dogs pick up on how and what the handler is feeling very easily.
That being said, if in your trial runs you tense up as she approaches the contact zone, if you take an extra step, if you let out a loud breath, if you maintain eye contact, or push and normally don't, if you over support, these can all affect how she will perform the contact. Try and compare the two on film, and look for the differences in running styles from low stress to higher stress environments - this could shine a light on why you are having the contact problems.
Hope that helps.
Thanks Julie!! You covered everything that I would have said and now I can save my fingers Excellent post btw.

BB, taping your training and trials runs will amaze you. You will have so many 'ah ha' moments lol. Dogs are masters are reading subtile cues and there very well could be something that you are doing or not doing. Finding it may take hours of watching every run taped or if you are lucky having someone who is very good at spotting those kinds of things point it out.

I am not a big fan of downing the dog, yes there are times when it is usefully but it needs to be done very carefully.

For your contact problem, I feel your pain as many of us will.

What is Meg's contact success rate in training at this time?

What is her success rate at trials?
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:38 PM
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I totally agree with videotaping your runs. I record all of mine, but most of the time I am also lucky enough that Auggie's breeder/our trainer is at trials with us. She is watching and she sees things that I do not see. Her help has really been invaluable. I've gotten to the point now where most of the time, I know exactly what I did, but there have been times where I go "What happened??" and she saw what happened, so we are able to address the issue and work on it.
The question really is WHY she's blowing the contacts... and then go from there. It's hard to fix a problem when you don't know what the problem is! You can try a few things and sometimes get lucky, but it will be a lot easier once you know exactly what is going on.
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2009, 05:14 PM
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One thing you said BB was 'ring smart' Now aside from regionals I don't get nervous or anything so I am pretty sure I don't feel that much different to Dekka (just a little excitement). BUT she is hit and miss on her weave entries at trials, but rocks them in training.

One thing that helps is knowing why she is skipping poles in competitions. Part of it is lack of training, but the other part is she is much faster and 'high' in a trial setting, so she doesn't compress comparitively to her speed. What I have done (with some success) is to get her over revved in training and then send her through a sequence with weaves to simulate a trial level of excitement.

The other thing I noticed helped was going to an instructor who doesn't give you a lot of time to figure out your course and tells you to 'go do it' (love Sue lol) It gave me that little bit of stress that would be comperable to me at a trial (I am not nervous, but perhaps a little excited)
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekka View Post
the other part is she is much faster and 'high' in a trial setting, so she doesn't compress comparitively to her speed.
Totally agree with this - this was Auggie's issue with contacts too. He is going SO FAST in a trial and he's so excited (nevermind that contact equipment is his fave!!) he would just jump off a contact obstacle halfway through it. Part of training him to touch a spot was helping to channel that excitement into OH MY GOSH SO EXCITED RUNNING TO HIT THE BOTTOM. Because whenever he would see that little frisbee come out, he knew if he touched it, he'd get a treat - so he would go as fast as he could to hit that frisbee. Which meant he would drive all the way to the bottom of an obstacle.
I wasn't totally sure approaching it like that would work, but it has worked for us where nothing else was working.

We do have to keep pulling it out and working with it over and over again because of course, it's not there in trials, and the more often he does the contact obstacles without the incentive to drive to the bottom (to touch the frisbee) the more and more he decides it's far more exciting and fun to blow his contacts.
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  #16  
Old 10-14-2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
What is Meg's contact success rate in training at this time?

What is her success rate at trials?
Training, I'm very confident in saying over 90%. We can have full classes where she doesn't miss once (and when I say doesn't miss, I mean full criteria met including holding for release).

Trials - a bit harder to say since I don't trial all that often. I'd guess between 40 and 50% for the full criteria. She has only been called missed contacts twice; the rest of the time, she's clearly in the yellow, but not performing the behavior we train.

I do suspect the speed is part of the issue. We were joking this weekend that she heard me say I wanted a "sheet-rock eating crazed kelpie" for my next dog, and that her ears were getting ready to start standing up. She has been insanely pumped at the last two trials we've done, and becomes a dog that I don't always know how to handle correctly! It thrills me, because we have worked SO hard to get her to really like agility and to build up her drive, but I haven't had a ton of luck getting that level of omph out of her in training to allow me to learn to work with it. However, even when she was slowing down by the end of the weekend, she was still not always performing correctly.

Although I don't think it's the issue, I am also going to re-start her on the joint supplement she was on before Tristan started eating up all my animal care money. I've seen no signs of any pain or stiffness in her, but it can't hurt.

My other thought is to spend the winter adding another piece to her contact behavior to see if that will re-focus her on what we are doing. I'm not sure if it will help or not, since she is so reliable at home. She currently does a 2on/2off, trained with a foot target instead of a nose-touch target. My thought is to add in a nose touch. Theory being that with her current command, she already has a history, however short, of not performing it in trials. But then it just comes back to my original issue of - what do I do if she doesn't perform the new behavior in a trial as well?
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  #17  
Old 10-14-2009, 06:22 PM
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oh I wanted to share my exp of trying 'down' with dekka in a trial.

So small 11 inch Dekka comes flying off the a frame I say down. She downs, I give her a moment, and then we continue. Next class.. she flies off the a frame, lands, downs and waits... Sigh
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