I train a stopped 2-on/2-off contact what exercises I can use to help keep them consistent?
By consistent I mean they should be within the criteria is the below. I think that other types of contact behavior should be a different question because the different styles are SO different and each deserve their own focused question.
- A reliability rate of about 80%... I don't want more than this because I think it makes the rules to stiff and doesn't encourage a guessing/edgy dog. I don't want less than that because when we are in the exciting trial environment I want them to hold up.
- Smooth stride up the up side. I don't want them to hit the A-frame hard on the way up because I think that causes to much stress on their shoulders, front legs, and feet over time and certainly doesn't help the speed of the rest of the a-frame.
- Speed over the top
- Striding nicely on the down side. I don't want a stutter step because it eats up time and also seems hard on their shoulders over time
- Striding deep into the down-side yellow. I don't want a jump to the bottom because if they miss the bottom and the yellow altogether it is a fault. And jumping from that height can be hard on their front end over time.
- A stop at the bottom with both front feet pretty far into the dirt and both back feet on the obstacle. I want the front feet far into the dirt on average so that the range in the performance doesn't ever include the dog stopped with either front foot still on the obstacle. I think this helps make the desired position clear.
- An instant release on cue.
I know others also include some of the below... if you have more ideas on criteria to add please do:
- having a specific foot forward so that the weight shift on take off is most efficient but I'm not that technical yet. :-)
- having the dog sit at the bottom instead of standing. I think they do this so that they are loaded to "spring" off... or maybe it is just to help encourage the weight on the back end to reduce wear on the shoulders?
(Should this be a community wiki?)