Running Contacts with Daisy Peel

"Running contacts = rabbit hole!!"  That quote by Shenna about sums up my knowledge quest on running dog walks.  I audited the Daisy Peel seminar on the subject in the morning and then worked Vito in the afternoon session.  So many more questions now!

Going into the seminar I knew Daisy's method had evolved since she started with Silvia's, but I still wasn't prepared for some of the huge core differences.  I find it fascinating that both methods are capable of taking the dog to the same place.  

I think Daisy's focus on location over speed in the training process would have been a huge benefit for Lance.  It would have been interesting to see if letting Lance go slow when he was unsure at certain points in our training would have resulted in that ideal image of a RDW that I was looking for.  I am almost debating trying the corgi again on the dogwalk, but then I think someone should slap me for putting the poor corgi through another retrain.  

As for idea what to think.  He was super excited to demonstrate his running dogwalk but didn't demonstrate the best criteria according to my standards and worse according to Daisy's in the 2 attempts he did in the beginning.  Vito did hit the yellow both times, and the 2nd attempt was in even on the smaller USDAA zone, but he wasn't driving as much as usual so his hind legs weren't split.  My thoughts/excuses: 1) It was a VERY crowded space to put a dogwalk that barely squeezed the two tunnels in and Vito hasn't had much experience with all that wall pressure, especially when I had to decelerate or run into the tunnel myself.  2)Vito hasn't seen a non rubberized dogwalk in ages.  3) I was nervous, and there were a ton of people watching and while he seemed completely fixated on his tennis ball he might have also been feeling pressure from the crowd as he tends to do.

After the 2 dogwalks, Daisy had us break while they lowered the dogwalk for everyone else.  I'm not sure if she forgot to bring us back out at that point or what, but we then had to wait 2hrs for our  next turn.  On the lowered dogwalk he did fine so she had us work on turns which is what I was really curious to discuss.  I haven't worked on turns in almost 12 months, ever since we moved and access to the dogwalk became difficult.  Daisy is very anti toy in training running contacts so had us use a manners minder once the jump moved to an angle difficult for him.

Vito is not a very food motivated dog but he does love the robot.  Unfortunately I knew that Vito would never RUN to it.  I cringed during our turn training as Vito trotted down the plank to the MM although I could see where going slow would teach the dogs clearly that going to the end of the board was important.  But I almost wanted to die when during the next session she had Vito do the full dogwalk to the manners minder for turns.  Vito has NEVER trotted across a dogwalk since we started on a RDW as a puppy.  Going the opposite direction from the MM he slowly came to the tunnel and going towards it he went faster but still didn't break out into a run.

See for yourselves, 1st is Vito working on increasing angles targeting a jump with ball as reward, at 47sec it switches to increasing MM angles, and at 1:48 it switches to full height dogwalks:

Catalina  – ( April 11, 2012 at 12:35 PM )  

Ahhh aren't seminars fun LOL!! That was a really small space. When we were there on Monday I was really curious to see how they planned on setting it up for the RC session.

I think the MM is fine - if your dog likes it. But adapting to what the dog likes would be nice too!

Loretta Mueller  – ( April 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM )  

Yeah, I am sure Vito didn't like the sudden change in theory (I know Lynn would be getting her calculator out to figure the statistical changes! LOL) might help him figure things out? One never knows! :)

That is a LOT of pressure from the walls...I'll agree with you on that!

andrea  – ( April 11, 2012 at 6:13 PM )  

that is a tough distance to fit a dw in! I thought he looked pretty relaxed and happy overall

Shenna Lemche AKA Project Leader  – ( April 12, 2012 at 4:04 PM )  

I do REALLY like her method. Secretly with Shiver though, I made her get her reward from Marvin the Manners Minder (who she didn't like to work for) THEN gave her the ball. She started out trotting but picked up speed after a few sessions. I couldn't use the ball as the primary reward because her brains went out the window, but having it there after was a nice balance of thinking and driving. :) I think Vito looks good- MUCH better than Shiver did at that point. (But agree, the walls there close in when you put the DW up. It makes it really hard, but if you can get it there I suppose there will never be an issue with driving into a corner or a fence?)

Kathy  – ( April 13, 2012 at 8:56 PM )  

weird configeration of the dog walk with the wall right there, and I had noticed on Daisys site she haas a whole class on manners minder, getting dogs really driving to it, i know my dogs would not, but then I have not really trained it to be something exciting as it should be for that I would think....It is very cool to hear your thoughts and see your video, thanks for sharing and posting!

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( April 13, 2012 at 9:20 PM )  

I think everyone ordered a manners minder after the seminar! A lot of the dogs were introduced to it there for the first time and quickly became obsessed with it! I have one that I used when trying to train the corgi's a running dogwalk so Vito's has had experience with one before but I haven't spent time trying to create extra drive to it. I just found it a bit disappointing that she was so anti using a toy set out just because she didn't want calling off the toy. I know Vito knows the difference between a "no reward" where he gets the ball but I'm unemotional and when I'm super excited for a good hit.

I think I've decided that I'm going to work on turns in that systematic fashion, without turns and jumps, but with the ball. I'm glad to hear that dogs can pick up speed pretty quickly once they get it.

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( April 14, 2012 at 10:39 AM )  

I've never used a manners minder and haven't even seen anyone use it yet. It was cool to see how it's used.

I'm not really up to date on the running contact training methods (since I haven't trained them - that's for my next dog!) but what are the main differences between DP and ST?

I liked seeing the video. I haven't seen someone train running contacts (other than some videos from blog friends in the Sylvia online course) so it was good to see. There are people locally who seem to go to running contacts when their dog just can't/won't maintain 2o2o. Except they don't TRAIN it with a proper procedure, they just allow the dog to run down and hope for the best. Obviously that's not what I want, so I appreciate being able to see some of what's in store for me when I do train my next dog.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( April 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM )  

Amy- a lot of people SAY they have RC when really they have a managed contact. True running contacts take a ton of training, not just yelling touch and letting the dog not stop :) Really if you aren't able to train a reliable stopped contact you shouldn't even try to train a running!

DP and ST use very very similar methods, which isn't surprising since DP used ST to train RCs on her dog. But she has since made some tweaks so it is a completely different philosophy even though the actual steps are extremely similar.

ST is all about full speed from step #1 since if a dog is running in the same manner as they would chase after a rabbit then it is actually physically impossible to jump. Running full out is ST's number 1 criteria so she often recommends that people with toy motivated dogs chuck a ball far out even before the dog is released from the down plank to get that dog in chase mode. She doesn't focus on the location of the dog's feet until further in the method, once the dog understands run full out in the correct gait.

DP focuses on the dog's gait being correct, but doesn't care if the dog is doing it slow. She puts a lot of emphasis on the dog learning the location criteria (targeting end of the board in proper stride) over speed. She believes that with understanding speed will come later. She also does a ton of "proofing" early in the method so the dog's think more and thus she is anti toys because you have less control over the reward.

The difference in philosophy is very similar as channel weaves versus 2x2. One focuses on speed first, progressing slower so the dog doesn't lose speed. One is ok with the dog thinking more and thus slowing down. Both are capable of getting you the same results with a good trainer.

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( April 14, 2012 at 10:31 PM )  

Ohhh I see - thanks for the explanation! The videos I've seen of the ST course were all the dogs/puppies running full speed and chasing a ball at the end. The comparison to channel/2x2s made perfect sense though.

I agree with you, people just can't call it a RC if it's really just a scream and a prayer!

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