After our positive weekend I decided to begin Zeki's A-Frame training. We started yesterday for the first time. As with most things I've done so far (with the exception of tunnels and jumps) I have decided to use food as the reward until Zeki has a good understanding of her job.
It's relatively easy to move to the A-Frame when you've done work on planks and wobble boards etc. The dogs seem to understand the requirement to interact with the obstacle in front of them. I put out her treat pot and sat her in front of the A-Frame and that was it really. She was up and away. Typical Zeki straight in at the deep end with no fear.
I know I backed out of teaching a running dog walk but I have decided (for the time being!) to try and teach a running A-Frame. There is no doubt that Zeki learned something from running her plank. We did quite a few repetitions of the A-Frame yesterday and only once did she really put in a leap for which I withheld reward. That said she didn't miss the contact but the method I'm trying to teach doesn't allow for leaping or long striding (see below.)
Today I wasn't going to train the A-Frame because I prefer for my dogs to have some time for new tasks to sink in before re-visiting them. However, I really wanted to get some video of her early attempts and Andy was available to do this today so we ended up doing a few repetitions but not many as we'd already had a little jump and weave training session earlier this morning.
It's interesting to see the video because some of the attempts I thought were really good were not quite as I thought and the one where you hear me correct her was really no worse than the very first attempt which I rewarded. So, I will have to watch more closely. The last attempt on the video is one of the best where you can see her put in an extra stride. Obviously the A-Frame is quite low at the moment and I plan to keep it at that height for a couple of weeks before raising it a little bit. Interestingly I can be ahead of her and she still runs nicely whereas I found with the dog walk if I stood ahead she nearly always took a leap at least on the first attempt.
My plan is to train it the same way as I did with the dog walk, i.e. not accepting jumping or long striding regardless of whether the contact is physically achieved or missed. The method is based on Sylvia Trkman's ideas which I find the most easy to understand and the least cluttered in terms of using props (which I'm not very good at fading.) That said I am not against using a stride regulator at a later stage if I think it might help. We'll have to wait and see how the success/failure ratio looks once the A-Frame reaches full height!