Thursday, June 17, 2010

Compare and Contrast

This actually took place (and was written) quite a few weeks ago, but somehow never made it to the blog. My bad.


This weekend "I" finally got the "long" board out of the garage in order to work on Contacts. That is, I finally asked my son to get the much-shorter-than-I-remembered "long" board out of the garage.

I'd swear the board used to be be at least 10' long, but it either shrank(?) or a section off the end was re-purposed. In any case, the board is now a mere 6' long, 12" wide, and bears and uncanny resemblance to the 4' long, 8" wide "short" board that I use for Broad Jump.

Undeterred (and lacking any other option) I proceeded to give Contacts a go.

Here's the description: "Dog walks a flat board with a click on or immediately after the down contact. This is an optional behaviour."

For grins and giggles, let's assign each dog a letter (ie: Dog A and Dog B) and see if folks playing along at home can figure out from the descriptions which dog is which.

Dog A:

I put Dog A in a sit-stay, placed the board on the ground, released the dog with a click, and sat down next to the board in anticipation of shaping Dog A to walk the plank.

Dog A raced over to the board, jumped over it one way, and then back.

"Hmmm...", said I.

Dog A pawed at the board (C/T), laid down on the end (C/T), and jumped back and forth a few more times.

"Hmmm...", said I.

Dog A approached one end (click) and I tossed the cookie toward the other end in hopes of getting him to run across the board. Dog A raced around the board to get the treat, ran back, nosed, pawed, and laid down on the board again.

"Hmmm...", said I.

Dog A got up, and laid down cross-wise, hopped back and forth over the board yet a few more times and then ran around it (again) for good measure.

At this point I turned off the camera, and deleted the video.

Dog B:

I put Dog B in a sit-stay, placed the board on the ground, released the dog with a click, and sat down next to the board in anticipation of shaping Dog B to walk the plank.

Dog B trotted over and sniffed at the board (C/T). He put a paw on the end (C/T), then two (click) and I tossed the cookie down the board. He trotted half on and half-off the board to get it. He turned and I tossed the treat the other way and he went around the board.

I waited for him to come back to the board, which he did and then laid down on the end. I stood up and walked beside the board to the other end. He dutifully trotted along the board beside me. (C/T) when he reached the end and a few cookies, which he ate while standing on the board. We repeated a few times back and forth across the board.

He was good with his front paws, not so good with his back, so I stuffed a book under each end plus one in the middle. He jumped on the board, which slid off the books (covers to slippery). Oops. I put rags on the books and tried again. This time he did much better.

A few more tries and I started adding my cue: "Walk It".

Back to Dog A:

(Plank on books with rags between covers and plank). Dog A tries to paw the rag, grab the rag, and then push the plank out of the way to get the rag. Dog A also hops over the board a few more times.

I stopped there.

Back to Dog B:

I move the plank next to a wall, no books, and position chairs beside either end to try to eliminate corner cutting and "keep" Dog B on the board. There is still a 4' unguarded section in the middle.

I stand a few feet back of one end, toss a cookie far away, and as Dog B is trotting back toward me I give my "Walk It" cue. Dog B dutifully enters the right end, trots across the board, and collects the cookie I throw behind me.

Getting him to go the other direction was a bit trickier. I said "Walk it" and he would start down the board then circle back, hopping off between the chairs. I started clicking as soon as he was on the board and tossing the cookie over his head and off the other end of the board. After 4-5 of these he was trotting down the board without issue.

I stopped there.

And that's were we are on Level 3 contacts. For two half-related Goldens, they sure are different!

Any guesses which dog was Beau and which was Zachary?

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