There’s a fine balance required in contacts- and not just the balance required for a see-saw or dogwalk! The balance of moving and making the zone without losing time on the clock is a tough one, and needs delicate handling. However, better one second in a two on two off pause or target than a time penalty for going off completely!
What are contacts?
The contact zones are the yellow painted areas at the ends of Seesaws, Dogwalks, and A-frames. The dog must get at least one paw on the ‘off’ side contact before leaving the obstacle, or he is faulted for the obstacle. But for most dogs, it’s all about ‘WEEE run fast! I’ll just jump off this now…’ They need to learn that the game is the obstacle, and not jumping off the end.
Positive training paramount
Positivity is paramount in contacts. They’re scary enough without a negative correction added on top of it- I made a mistake negatively correcting Nova when she jumped off a dogwalk plank halfway up. She refused to get on the dogwalk again. Remember to make it the most awesome obstacle ever! Treats in plenty, and excited talking as you train him to thunder up one side- and pause at the bottom. For the rest of the week we’ll be talking about contact training methods, but remember, it’s how you train that determines performance.