We have written about before in the blog that we don’t know what we don’t know. There were also things that we were exposed to in our earlier days of training that we didn’t really understand the why? behind them and the importance of them. This is especially the case in agility. One such thing we have learnt more about is contacts.
So for anyone not really into agility but enjoying a read you might be asking what a contact is. When you see an agility course it is the big bits of solid equipment. The Dog Walk, the A-Frame and the See-Saw. The Table too but that works slightly differently. Besides actually going over the equipment… Which in itself can be a challenge as some can be quite high and the See-Saw is noisy… Us dogs also need to touch within the different coloured area at the end (and except for the A-Frame need to touch the coloured area at the start too).
Here is a picture of me coming down the A-frame thanks to the guys at Pawfect Touch Canine Massage.
Sounds simple enough…. Except if I’m running at full speed and launch myself off. Oppps sorry about that mum. Not touching gets us a course fault.
The other benefit beside not getting a course fault is it is also a spot where i can wait and mum can get into position or get ahead before she releases me. This isn’t meant to be for a long time and doesn’t need to be on every course but can help.
So throughout the early days mum had heard and had roughly trained a bit of this but we will be honest… We didn’t give it too much thought or effort. Now a year on with trialling we can see how problematic it can be. Mum also having spent way too much time of late watching agility runs, especially some of the Europeans, have realised how useful a good contact can be on course.
There are a lot of things we are working on; bum strength, obstacle focus (did you see some distance work in the JDO run the other day? Mum was so proud of that bit… the start was a bit messy), start line stays, weave entries and the list goes on… No wonder I am so tired after agility and it isn’t just the running and jumping.
So this is one we will add to the list but probably isn’t going to be the priority at the moment. Mum’s 1st job is a trip to the hardware store to get a plank of wood and make what is called a ‘Tippy Board’. This video here from Zsofi shows how she is using it in training her new pup (the stuff at the start with the Tippy Board and then at 7.15″).
We also read a good piece on Cross Bone Agility about 5 stopped contact training mistakes. We have linked it here as we think it is a good reference.
Mum often tells herself the saying someone once told her… ‘You get the dog you need not the dog you want’. That is the beauty of mum and I…. We are learning together. I love mum but I am pretty unforgiving. If she messes up her cues or timing I will go off course or drop a bar. If she hasn’t learnt something… Well it means I haven’t learnt it either so we figure it out together.
We know there is another world out there called Running Contacts. Yeah we are curious but for now we see the benefit in the Stopped Contacts so off to the hardware shop for mum… Oh and time to make some treats mum… The important stuff for training!