Monday, September 5, 2011

Progress At Last

Cosi and I have been drilling the 2o2o method for contacts for the past month. As I said in another post, he's been seeing 2o2o in his dreams. Any item with a differentiation in height (a curb, a decoractive wall on our walk, steps, etc.) is an opportunity to work his contacts. I don't need the dog walk or A-frame set up to get the idea across: plant your front feet, lower your rear, and bob your head in a touch.

This weekend at the Berks trial I had an opportunity to reinforce that, yes, I am serious about this behavior, and you will do it even at a trial. There are two cues for Cosi. The first is my word "touch" as he approaches the down side of a contact. The second is a physical cue. I put my arms behind my back. He watches me, and I figured I needed a cue to tell him we're not moving. With no arms to guide him to the next obstacle, he is more likely to stay put.

Berks was a three-day trial, and I had in my mind that I was going to use these three standard runs as practice, as money in the bank, towards reinforcing our contacts work. Forget Q's. Forget going fast. I wanted focus, 2o2o contacts, and controled speed. Friday was a nightmare. The beginning of the standard course was tunnel then A-frame. Perfect. A good test of our contact work. He came out of the tunnel, and he was high as a kite. He tried not doing 2o2o, so I had him lie down before going on. My message was, "You *will* stop!" He was frantic and our teamwork just wasn't there.

Saturday was 50 percent better. He tried to bag the first contact, but I waited him out. Bam! He went into the 2o2o position, and I was thrilled. Then he finally did a 2o2o A-frame! I was over the moon.

Sunday's course started with tunnel then dog walk. Good. Another good test of being high from the tunnel then get control on the contact; he nailed it. He did 2o2o for all three contacts and a down on the table. Check out that A-frame! Have you ever seen anything more lovely?!? I messed up with giving him a directional cue of "left" too early on the last sequence on the course. So, like a good dog, he spun, going left. We could have Q'd on the standard course, but, oh, well, next time. I was never more proud of him and our teamwork. Here's the video from Sunday:


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