training frames

Agility training takes on a new aspect when the handler can’t run and walks at turtle speed. I haven’t seen a foot doctor yet to diagnose my inability to properly use my right foot, but suspect I have torn something at least slightly important in the business of locomotion. I was hoping I would be better after some days of icing, nsaids, and not running. I see  the local agility podiatrist on Thursday, hopefully she will give me some shortcut to recovery! I haven’t stopped training but the focus on how I am training has certainly changed.

The e-frame training is pretty easy as over the last week Scoop has gotten much more enthusiastic at being able to send independently  to a jump or tunnel 30 feet away so I can have a different e-frame approach, while walking or standing still in a perfect position to see Scoop hit the contact. In fact Scoop’s independence at sending to obstacles was getting a little TOO easy, so I am also reinforcing lots of lineups at my side and perfect stays before I send. I don’t want him to anticipate that each time he returns with the toy he is going to get to tear away from me to a distant obstacle.

I don’t really want him to anticipate anything other than that he should be waiting nicely for my directions at my side. I decided I needed to add more obstacles to send him to, so now I have a table, a couple jumps and 2 tunnels. Scoop gets rewarded for frame performance with a toy, then he returns to me to tug. I ask for the toy and line him up straightly on whichever side will facilitate a straight send to an obstacle. I walk  a step forward while sending him, so I have a little bit of forward motion on each send. If he does not line up straight on my side and wait for a release I just start over, ask again for CLOSE (line up on my left) or SIDE (line up on my right) and either release him to tug, give him a cookie, or send him out to the obstacle and on to the e-frame. This of course works for any kind of independent obstacle performance I might want to work on with a moving approach to an obstacle from another obstacle. I have also been doing a bit of teeter and weave work this way as well using the stationed obstacles. Since I want an independent performance on all my contacts and weaves, this is valuable training. However I like to mix it all up and move around as well when I am training these obstacles. Right now I can walk slowly to a new position, but I can’t get there fast.

I filmed some of Scoop’s frames yesterday, and I almost look like I was trotting, though I thought I was barely walking. I didn’t film the stays and lineups, makes for too long of a video. I have the beep turned off for the moment, and I have a stride regulator in the middle. The bump is at the edge of the contact zone, and if Scoop hits it instead of the zone, it applies pressure and he gets a beep which I don’t want. So no sound right now.

I have been playing around with placing the toy 15 to 20 feet from the bottom of the frame, or tossing a toy as Scoop comes over the top of the frame.  Today I liked the toy tossing better than stationary placement. I felt like it made him dig in and drive over the top better. The bump is on the frame in all these reps, I am going to do some more tomorrow with the bump placed on the frame randomly and the beep on the E-frame on. I only recently added the bump to the middle. When Scoop did his flatwork it was without a bump. I felt like I needed a visual aid for both of us after I put the frame to 5.6, hence the little bump.

Today I am pretty happy with where the frame training is going.  Hope you are as happy with your pups A-frame training as I am with mine.

NJG

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17 responses

  1. Hi Nancy- I always love checking out your training with scoop – thanks for taking time to post to let us learn from you. I agree with Patti above- beeps would certainly make contact judging more concrete… assume that beeps will be like clicks – associated w positive reward… so won’t it eventually condition to be a marker in itself, whether reward is immediate or delayed?

    about the stride regulator move… I understand having it at the top of your contact zone, to help him choose the right behavior of putting feet down in the zone. If you move it up toward the peak, then you shape getting him to recognize the zone?

  2. Hi Nancy,

    Wondering why you would ramdonly position the stride regualtor on the A-Frame, wouldn’t defferent positions change the dog’s stride? unless that is what you are looking for 🙂 What was your experience when you did this with Scoop?

    Nelci

  3. Nancy,
    The e-frame sure looks great, where in your blog do you discuss the new baby steps of your process…that is if you posted it:-)

  4. I encourage handlers to try to teach a running frame when they first start training. It is difficult to go from 2o2o to a running contact because the dog could add strides which you may need to take out when you move to running. On the other hand I don’t think it difficult at all to move from running to a 2o2o AF if you already have taught that behavior for your other contacts.
    There IS a lot of repetition involved in teaching a running frame. You need to balance that with the body stress involved in doing 2o2o.

    I personally find it frightening how many frames I am doing with Scoop to teach this behavior. With my other dogs that did 2o2o I taught the skill, then only practiced the contacts a couple times a week at most for very few reps. I hope that Scoop is easily maintained on the running frame once he has the behavior ingrained. But who knows:)

    NJG

  5. Thanks Nancy, I trained 2o2o, as I don’t have the equipment available to me to train running with the repetitions needed. Do you think a running is better on the A-frame?

  6. I don’t think 2o2o is going away, at least I hope not!
    I am choosing to do 2o2o on my DW and teeter, getting too old to run the full DW hundreds of time in training:)

    Of course I love having the equipment to play with in training and hope that it helps support the methods I have chosen to use to train the frame.

    NJG

  7. It sounds like 2o2o is old school these days, only for people who don’t aspire to international/national competitions. Agility has taken leaps forward. Love the e-frame, and that would make judging it fair, too!

  8. The beep is a marker as much for Scoop as for myself. Scoop gets the toy always, whether placed or thrown. The few times he has ever missed hitting the yellow I just called him back to me and if he already had the toy, then I did not tug or engage in play/praise with him, I just repeated the frame.

    He is not proofed to hit yellow, he is just learning how to run through comfortably right now. I am hoping he will be so comfortable running the frame that he will choose that behavior whether he is marked for it or not. In flatwork I often clicked as he hit the yellow and was in a running stride with split rear feet. His rear is what I am watching. Sometimes he is more split than others, I assume because he is in the learning stage and still getting comfortable on the equipment at this height.

    NJG

  9. i’m new on board here – if the eframe is on – is the beep a reward? and if it is off, and the toy is out there, where, it sounds like, he will always beat you to it (sorry you have a foot problem), how does that work? thanks, terri

  10. Scoop’s AF looks GREAT! Thanks for sharing!
    I am thinking good thoughts for your poor foot… hope the podiatrist can help you out on Thursday.

    Continued best wishes for a speedy recovery,
    Tara

    • A E-frame is what I have named my new electronic a-frame. The entire contact zone is wired and built into the rubber surfacing material. When the dog touches anywhere in the yellow the firmware unit under the aframe emits a beep. My “E-walk” (DW) is also wired. I can control which ends beep, either or none, and it can also be hooked up to a timer display so I can check the speed of the dog from first contact hit, to first contact hit.

      These are prototype units, not yet ready for sale in the USA.

      Nancy

      • Too cool! Now I understand why hubby gets so excited with every new apple product launch, and it’s so much more useful than the “ifart” app. In the immortal words of Will Smith in “Independence Day” when he’s flying the alien space ship “I GOTTA GET ME ONE OF THESE!!!!!”
        I’d better start picking a bank to rob so I can be ready when they become available for purchase in the USA.

        Thanks,

        Lori

  11. Hey Barb,

    I will see you soon and we can work on YOU standing still:)
    You are too fidgety to do that for long I bet…

    NJG

  12. Nancy,
    I truly hope you get better SOON but your foot problem is much similar to my back problem. As I read your blog I learn ways I too can work with my fast BC. The expression, “Watch and LEARN” certainly applies here. Get better but thanks for some foo(t) for thought.

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