Chaos Crew

Chaos Crew

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Retraining :: Running Aframe for Rip

Rip has been competing for a little over 4 years now. When we first started training, I wanted to teach him running contacts, and that is what we trained exclusively. I spent the vast majority of our contact training time concentrating on the dogwalk. When I took his training to competition, I was getting major launches, mostly on the dogwalk, but sometimes on the AFrame too. After quite a bit of frustration early on, maybe close to a year??, I came to the conclusion that I had to teach Rip a stopped contact.

While he did pretty well in practice with his stopped contacts, I get a different dog in competition - one that is amped way higher than the dog I ever see in practice. This leads to more missed contacts - he just doesnt give me a 2o2o in competition, and given that he is such a soft dog, I will not correct him in the ring as that likely would shut him down too much. I started to see this when I would loudly tell him to TOUCH on his aframes and I ended up with a dog who would creep slowly down from the apex.
I've experimented with not telling him anything, doing a lot of blinds or not crossing at all in front of the frame, and other things to get him more comfortable with it. I was getting a lot of misses, where he would stride over the yellow leaving just an inch or two above the contact, unless I overmanaged the contact and got a slow one.

This past November we had a seminar at our place with Loretta Mueller. One of the things I told her that I wanted to work on with Rip was his AFrame. She really thought that he needed a true running aframe, and I agreed. I began by watching the Rachel Sander's DVD about using the 'box' method for training a running aframe. I watched the DVD twice and made some notes and started training the groundwork part, teaching value for the box and then the jumps to the box.

I recently put the box on the AFrame itself and did some videoing to see how it was coming along. I started with a fullheight frame and was not at all happy with the results, as Rip was adding extra steps/strides on the down portion.

I then lowered the frame and have added a noodle at the top of the frame as a stride regulator, to encourage the correct footwork. This is critical in the success of the running AFrame - two strides up, two strides down, always in the yellow. Rip responded really well to the lowered frame, so that is where we are for now.

Rachel mentions that you can still compete while re-training this, but you cannot ask for any stops. I am using the 'hit-it' command in competition and no longer saying Touch.

Here is a short video of what I was getting on the frame this week:

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