One of the things I am most proud of teaching Wicca is her contacts. She has a full understanding of what her job is and I have worked very hard for such great contacts. She will stick them if I run past, sendn or run with. Her stopped contacts have come in very handy for moments when I am too far behind, or gambles that require a change of direction. To have them when you need it makes it well worth the effort and time.
My issue these days is Wiccas health and safety. I worry a lot about the impact agility has on her body. You all saw the photo from a few weekends ago....she is very fast, and has no concern for her own well being.
My job as her owner and trainer is to keep her safe or to train her in a way that will not harm her. Having stopped two on/two off contacts on the A-Frame is not safe for Wicca.
The debate of running versus stopped contacts has been an ongoing one. I've read with interest the articles in Clean Run and have watched DVDs and You tube videos of all the different methods out there. I have always been a firm believer of stopped contacts. I feel that it is the method that is most clear to the dog what is expected of them. I also think it is the most consistent.
But- for my dogs long term health I am going to change to a running on the frame. I will be keeping my 2o2o on the dogwalk- the impact is far less than the frame and there is no possible way I will ever be able to beat her across the dogwalk.
So- my plan is to teach Wicca a seperate cue that means to run off. I think there needs to be a cue as without something she will default to her stopped contact. I am going to use "run" which will mean to keep going.
I am going to teach this on the ground with a hoop first, and then backchain the a-frame. It will be a couple months of retraining before I can put it to use.
In the mean time I am quick releasing. Which I hate as I think (know) it dilutes my bottom cue quite a lot and she starts pushing them all...but until she understands the new behaviour I need to do something...
Wish me luck- I have never taught running contacts before so this should be interesting. Unfortunately this will also make her faster which means that I will have to be faster....not sure how that's going to work but we'll see!