Contact Zone Crash-Course
Contact zones are the yellow areas on dogwalks, aframes, and teeters. In most cases your dog has to at least touch them on the down slope, and in the case of the teeter and dogwalk, on the up slope also. In the beginning of your contact obstacle career, your dog is going slower and might not have any problem making the contacts, but watch out! Unless your dog is small, it most likely will become a problem later. Don’t let missed contact zones become a habit. If your dog seems to have difficulty making the contact zones, you can use “zoners” to mark the sides better. Many trainers also encourage you to teach your dog to “target”, which is to have your dog stop just at the bottom of the contact zone (with his feet still on the plank), wait for your treat (or click, if clicker training), then release your dog to the next obstacle. Most people with fast and large dogs would benefit from teaching their dog this command. It is important to be consistent with target training, however. Another method is to teach your dog to slow down with the “easy” command.