So, I mentioned that Loki and I have started RC training. it’s very exciting. Almost too exciting, because I find myself wanting to obsessively run him on the plank every day, and up till now it had been very easy to take it easy and not train very much, but now that I have my own training field and the plank set up, I can’t help myself. This is bad and I don’t like it.
I raised the plank yesterday and had a not-great session. It wasn’t so much that he was leaping, but somehow, doing a wrap to start caused him to have to either bail halfway on the plank, or go around the plank. He did this again today, I ended up starting him from a sit-stay facing directly onto the plank, but his hits weren’t great no matter where I moved the bar so I think I need to build my dodgy old original dogwalk that I used with Lu cos maybe his strides just don’t work when he has to jump onto the plank.
But I don’t know what to do about starting him… Maybe having a full-length very low walk to run will help as he won’t have to HOP on, he can just run up and along, but I’m not sure. I think his problem was that he was wrapping so fast and beautifully (because he is, I’m really pleased with his wraps) that he almost wrapped TOO much and couldn’t straighten out. I tried wrapping him from closer so he had less speed (less speed in Loki-land is laughable because nothing is done with less speed)
I’ve built little fences alongside the plank but I found that if I really made it so he couldn’t go around, he’d slip and bail on the plank instead, which has to be worse for him, so I don’t want to FORCE him to do it when he physically can’t. He’s not silly, he knows he gets rewarded for doing the plank, so I don’t think he’s avoiding it because it’s faster or easier, I think it’s more that he’s not coming in on the right angle, even if I move the jump.
And I hate it because I see him starting to worry about running on the plank either because he wasn’t getting rewarded (for bailing) or he wasn’t sure… and I don’t want to do that to him. So I guess maybe I’ll try with a full-length walk both for better hits in the contact zone, and also maybe to help him so he doesn’t have to hop onto the raised plank.
I also started using a tunnel at the end instead of throwing a ball because this boy LOVES chasing balls, and I have a feeling that his chasing the ball is going to override any brain activity and thinking, and I know in Silvia’s DVD she says that for dogs who’s greatest reward is chasing that ball, you need to fade the toy even faster. So I think sending him into an obvious tunnel and THEN rewarding is a good idea for him. He’s not a huge tunnel suck so I think that’s ok for now, and down the line I can use a jump with the toy after it.
It’s still so strange for me to have a dog who will run himself until he’s heaving, just keep going and going at full speed and intensity, and who doesn’t stop wanting more.. I still need to learn with him when is enough – sometimes I get it, like if he knocks a few bars or something… today I missed it completely. And then I have this horrible, guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach, and this terrifying fear that I’m going to make him hate agility and end up like Lu.
Edit: Took him out and set up the old planky dogwalk on bricks… found a good starting spot, showed him what I wanted (run on this thing and don’t go off it), and BAM – beautiful RF hits every time. Good boy little mate.