Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Running A-Frame

Okay, this is what I'm going to do, PROMISE!!!  
No turning back, no chickening out, no making excuses!!  


Now for planning the strategy!! 

When teaching any behavior, you need to know what you want.  It's not enough to say, "I want a running A-Frame.", although I'm sure some people do, and are able to get it.  For myself, I need to know exactly 'what I want'. 

So, my first question is, what do I 'personally' think of when I think about a running A-Frame.  First is confidence, a dog that runs up and over without hesitation.  Independence, the ability to complete the AF no matter where the handler is.  Along with that, however, a dog that can turn tightly off the AF to accommodate turns as needed on course.  A dog that skims over the top.  I don't want 'air', air looks cool, but wastes time IMO.  Leg separation, striding naturally up and over.  Let the number of hits on the way down "go" and focus on comfort for the dog.  Able to maintain the above criteria in the 'face' of an extremely rewarding tunnel at the end, or any other piece of equipment!!  Able to hit a 90 degree weave pole entry from the AF.  I'm probably missing something...but, those are my thoughts for now. 

I took Silvia Trkman's running contact class last year, in preparation for Nettle, so time to dust that off and go back to the introduction material.  Now, Seeker will only be working on a running AF, so I won't be using a plank, just the AF itself.  

It's also important to keep track of successes and failures, so I have a notebook.  Video is great too, so I have my flip taped on the bottom (now top of course) of a 5 gallon bucket. This will help me watch my criteria, and give me ideas of areas to focus on in future training sessions.  

So, this morning Bill helped me lay the AF flat in the building, just waiting for the games to begin!  I got Seeker's favorite toy, his 'Squeaky Ball', and out we went.  Okay, it was pretty simple this morning, the AF was flat and I tossed the ball out about 10' past the exit.  Released with a 'go' and clicked when he hit in the yellow.  Not terribly complicated.  Worked about 8 reps and stopped.  This afternoon I might put a tunnel on the approach side, just to give him something else to do.  The plan on this point is to move up one chain link at a time as long as I feel the criteria is being meet.  I'll also need to be sure to work front crosses, rear crosses and turns sooner, rather than later. 

My one concern (if you want to call it that), is I have a trial the first weekend in June.  I wanted to pull, but Bill didn't want me to.  So, I told him, "I'm not even looking at my AF, you've got to accept I will say 'go' and what happens happens."  You can't start this, and then not follow through at trials.  That's just not fair to the dog.  

I know it will take time for him to trust that he can run through.  It will take time for me to trust he will run through....and, it will take time for him to figure out the stride he's most comfortable with.  In the end, I know we can be successful at this.  There are so many teams out there with lovely running AFs, so, there's not reason we can be one of them too.  



  1. You go, brave soul!!! :o) You can do it!

  2. Go Seeker!!! Go Seeker!!! Go Seeker!!! You CAN do it!!!