Q. I have a large dog that is prone to going sideways down a contact – much like your dog! How can I get him to come down straight?
A. I have been working hard on Quick’s sideways tendencies! What we’ve come up with is rewarding the 2on2off position itself, without necessarily using a target quite yet. I’m using stairs and a contact trainer so that he doesn’t associate his sideways behavior with the A-frame. Once he’s getting his position right, I’ll transfer it to the A-frame. He doesn’t have this problem much with dogwalks thankfully.
I am also encouraging him to slow up a bit at least at first so that he has time to realize what I’m rewarding and what he’s doing correctly. I’m also not as fast with a treat as I’d like to be, but my dog is patient, thankfully!
Eventually, once he’s going straight to the end of the contact without swinging his back legs down, I’ll introduce the target for his two on two off behavior.
Try a treat directly down the front of the a-frame ahead of your dog. If you stay straight, the dog will stay straight.