Does anyone ever keep them? I’ve thought of a couple: one, keep my “yard” neat and clean (looking at the videos I took of Gel weaving made me realize it looks like trailer trash lives there); two, train my dogs every day, even if it’s only five minutes a day; and three, keep my mouth shut so I stay out of trouble. They all seem to be reasonable changes. Maybe I can keep them, well, maybe not about keeping my mouth shut.

Monty went home today so it’s just Fern and Gel now which is a good thing. It’s hard taking care of a dog that has been living under different rules. I run a pretty tight ship with my dogs.

There was an interesting discussion recently on the Clean Run mailing list about running contacts. A poster stated that she believed that teaching running contacts was as simple as starting with a puppy whose strides are smaller so you have a 100% success rate, click for a certain foot position and gradually work this into full-sized equipment. It sure seems like she’s correct, in theory. This poster has trained one dog: a Sheltie. I think training running contacts for a small dog would be a lot easier than a large dog. Monica Percival replied to the post stating that the difficulty or ease of training running contacts really depends on the dog and its particular stride length. She also said that to her, a running contact is the dog moving over the contact obstacle at the same running stride he uses to move across the ground, which I agree with.

The kicker with running contacts, or any contact or performance on other equipment is that it may look good at home or in training class, but once the dog has been to a few shows and gets pumped by the experience, the behavior deteriorates. I discovered that with Gel’s weave poles at the last show.

I stated a while ago that I felt that I didn’t need to train contacts because I felt they were solid. Well, guess what? Gel has done a few teeter fly-offs while in training and his contact performance can be slow, so I guess I should be training contacts at least once a week. There have been times in class where his contact performance is fast, but when that is the case, he doesn’t stop at the end. I think to myself, maybe I could do a running contact with him, I’d really to because I don’t like him stopping at the end of the dog walk and especially the A-frame. His directional commands are pretty solid. Maybe …

Given her structure, I think I’ll train a 2-on; 2-off (“2O2O”) contact with Fern, teaching her to stay low in the 2O2O position.

I expect a lot of people have no clue the amount of training that goes into a competitive agility dog.