Last night the Dog and I worked about two 15-20 minute sessions on board running. First we tried it with the board all the way on the ground (2nd or 3rd time doing this). Her hit rate was pretty solid, but I can tell she didn’t fully get it. (Dog says But I got to get the BALL. That was the point, right?)
Then I tried elevating about 4 inches. She REALLY liked it then. I tried several variations to see what produced the best stride. Note that each time we start her pretty far back from the plank (5-15 feet), and played “ready….steady… WALK” as the release. I also mark it by saying “YES” since I can always do that (usually lose my clicker…) and letting her get the toy.
1) Me even with her at the start of the plank, toy in front, 10 feet out: I think she thought I was trying to trick her (It was reminiscent of proofing of yore.). She slowed into 2o2o and looked back at me for a release.
2) Me in Front, dropping toy: same, but worse. She was really anticipating having to do SOMETHING.
3) Me even with her at the start of the plank, rolling toy out in front from behind after sending her: Worked well, and kept her very low, but hard to time and caused her to have to look back if I was slow on the toy or threw it badly. Probably why most people leave it way out in front…
4) Tried the same as 3), except told her to “go” which means go straight ahead: LEAP!! She really would RUN, but also took a huge leap in the process.
5) Me even with her at the start of the plank, but when I released her onto the plank I ran with and rolled the toy out in front: Better. I liked her momentum, but not as consistent a hit rate as 3).
6) Tried 3) again, but this time put a jump out as a target: Some would say this is not the way to go, but it did actually keep her moving ahead and had a good hit rate. I was able to run with her too eventually.
I also tried-once- putting guides (sort of a hoop) around the end zone to run under. NOPE! I forgot that she does not like to go under things (Dog says I have a fear of getting stuck! That and being put on a diet!) and will instead opt for the OVER path. She leapt the guide from halfway down the plank. Yikes!
So my rules appear to be:
-Do not say GO. (Seems kind of counterintuitive for the project though, huh?)
-Push don’t pull. When I get in front that translates to her that it’s time to slow up for a turn.
I’m going to keep playing with 3), 5) and 6) or some combination thereof.
P.S. Since I do still have her entered in upcoming trials, as a test to see the damage incurred I ended up running her over the whole DW after we were done for the night. It. Was. AWESOME. I know I can’t expect her to be perfect on the whole obstacle in shows while we retrain it at home, but I feel better seeing that I haven’t totally ruined her and feel like the training might be helping!