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Old 03-10-2013, 11:40 PM
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Default Do you have a contact word?

Auggie's word is "touch," it means to drive down low and get into the 2o2o position. However I was thinking with Payton to not bother having a contact word. Last year at Louisville a friend of mine said he finished a run and his dog had blown a contact, and some lady told him "You didn't tell him to touch!" He said "I don't ever tell him to touch." Driving to the contact is part of the behaviour of performing the dog walk (or a-frame or whatever.) IMO this makes a lot of sense and what I was planning on with Payton, and at times wished I had done it with Auggie too.

I bought this book on training stopped contacts and in the book there's a lot of discussion about giving a contact word and expecting the dog to get into position. There's some good stuff in the book but also stuff I don't agree with; this is not exactly something I don't "agree with" so much as I wasn't really planning on teaching it this way. I'm trying to figure out if I can adapt the exercises without ever bothering to put a word on the 2o2o behaviour and if it will work that way... but I thought this would be an interesting discussion... do you have a word for your contact behaviour? Why yes or why no?
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:20 AM
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Some people train both behaviours (running and stopped) on the contacts, so then it would make sense to have cues for both. I agree with you that it really isn't necessary though, if you only ever train and expect a 2o2o, to not need a separate contact cue.

I have played around with running and stopped, and am in the middle of retraining a 2o2o, so I am using a new cue for her 2o2o. I'll probably keep saying it, even once the 2o2o becomes her default behaviour, just out of habit. Her new cue is "Back toe", which sounds kind of funny, lol.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:22 AM
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With Petie I used the word, target but because there had been mistakes made in early training he never did have a 2o2o so we did RC.

With Who, I never labelled it. Just trained her and expected her to hold to the criteria. She has much better contacts than Petie, but then the training was also better, so who knows.

Honestly, I think it doesn't matter. But what is critical is training your contacts to be beyond solid and proofed, get consistant and hold yourself and your dog to a very tight criteria with no compromizes
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:41 AM
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No word for my guys.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:55 AM
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Tess was trained with a 4-on-the-floor contact, and the cue for it is "splat". Interestingly, I suck at criteria, and she was changing it to a RC, which wasn't real consistent. When I started teaching Pirate his RC's, I tried to transition Tess to a better RC. And her 4OTF contact became pretty solid again. Go figure. (if you see video of her runs, you won't see her perform it, because I tend to release as soon as I see her start to dip). I do usually use the "splat" cue, I don't know if there's really a need, but I like to remind her.

Pirate has RC's (due to my suckage at enforcing criteria), so no contact word. He doesn't even have distinct cues for the obstacles, the cue for both the DW and the A-frame is "RUN!" because that's what I told him to do when I was training them.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:48 AM
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I did not have a contact word for Bailey. It was just part of the criteria!
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:32 AM
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Yes. However, I'm in the process of weaning Zuma's contact cues down to one word in a trial. During training I don't need the extra contact word but in a trial setting she needs that extra reminder (because she's as high as a freaking kite). I even throw a "wait" in there too during trials. So right now for a dog walk I have to say "Walk it, BOTTOM, wait". HATE it so much. In training I just have to say "walk it".
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:11 PM
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Haha with Auggie it was sometimes "walk it TOUCH TOUCH TOUCH YOU TOUCH IT" because he would get that look in his eye. "Gonna blow my contact =D =D Gonna blow it =D =D WATCH ME WHEEEEE"


I think the issue is that some of the exercises are like this:
Set up a jump next to the end of the dog walk plank. Send the dog over the jump then tell them to target, and the dog should swing around and put their back end on the end of the plank in 2o2o (or whatever.)

I'm trying to figure out how to do this exercise without actually telling Payton to touch. Just clicker train the 2o2o, then send him over a jump and wait for him to offer the 2o2o? I feel like this could be confusing for him but maybe not.

Another exercises is to run in a straight line and tell the dog to down in line with a mat, or a cone, or a tree. I understand conceptually how this is related to contacts (conceptually...) but you basically HAVE to issue a command here - tell the dog to down - so if I want to relate this to a contact it seems like I would HAVE to issue a target command as well?
There is a later exercise in the book where the dog runs across a flat plank and you tell them to stick the contact while you continue to run; this one I can see doing without having to use a contact word. Also this one I get as it relates to contacts more than just conceptually. I'm wondering if I should just scrap the "do a down while I'm running" activity at least as it relates to contacts (it's something we've been working on more for herding. =P)?


It's probably not really important but in my head I just wanted the criteria of doing each contact to be clear without having to have any extra words to use. It's not like I didn't use a contact word with Auggie so I COULD but... meh... I'm probably just overcomplicating things by trying to simplify them haha.
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:25 PM
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I'm glad I taught her the contact word. As much as it SHOULD be part of the criteria, there are times when she needs a reminder and I'm glad I have the ability to remind her.

Now, when I was teaching the dog walk I only said it for the beginning stuff, once she was running the full height dog walk and understood the contact process, I stopped using it and just used "walk it" and the "bottom" was implied. However, like I said, she's high as a kite and needs a reminder every now and then.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:24 PM
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Meg has a cue word (mat). I spent so much time changing my criteria for her, I had to do something to make what I wanted clear when I finally made up my mind. Her contacts have never been reliable in competition, I think because I was so unclear for a long time.

Gusto doesn't have a cue word that he relies on. I was very clear from day one what I wanted from him with contacts, and I knew I didn't want to rely on a verbal cue. When I was training on boards/planks/stairs/etc, I did teach a cued nose touch in the 2 on/2 off, with a verbal cue.

I don't (and never have) regularly cued on full equipment - the stopped contact should be (and is) part of my criteria. IF I think he's going to break, or self-release early, or anything, I can verbally cue the nose touch to strengthen the behavior - without the verbal cue, my criteria does not include a nose touch (although I often get it anyway).
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