Saturday, March 28, 2009

Table = Down

Dogs really are honest souls and I have to appreciate Killy's honesty today with the table. His table behavior is to jump on and lay down, I cue "table" and he lays down. To be truthful, I never really paid attention to whether I was signaling down with a hand signal or verbally saying down. Anyway, I assumed that the cue table meant "jump on the table and lay down". I learned table = down.

We decided today to practice a tunnel and some jumps to the table. It would be fun and fast for the dogs and we could practice our tables. There were three straight jumps to the table. My plan was to cue early (as I am usually late, but trying to get better) for the table. I am driving hard, yell "table" between jump 2 & 3, keep driving....wait! Where's my dog? He's lying down between jump 2&3...the same time when I yelled table!

Needless to say, I changed my table word to "hup" and he's fine. I use "hup" when I want him to jump up on things, so it's not a word he has to learn.

My thought is based on last post and this one, I really need to define my cues better. What I think they mean and what Killy understands them as is not always the same. That and timing of commands will be my goals this year. Clean up the timing and clean up the cues.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Killy's A-Frame

I have had issues on and off since last fall with Killy missing his down contact on his A-frame. He has a 4 on the floor and up until fall it was solid. I tried to figure out what was causing the problem-was he too excited at trials? Was I not driving forward enough and his head was coming up causing him to leap over the yellow? Was he reinforced to much for the bottom behavior causing him to leap over the yellow?

Well, I think I found the cause today. Last fall our A-Frame developed a small hole when one of the nails holding the slats in place came out. My solution until my husband fixed it, was to take a piece of duct tape and put it across the A-frame where the slat was. We used the frame all fall and winter (we had a nice winter). Today I was working some a-frame tunnel discriminations so I was primarily using the down side with the duct tape on and I noticed something...each time his front feet hit the tape-he leapt! I ran him the other duct tape and he ran down entire side beautifully, just like he was taught. Ran the other way again w/duct tape....leap. Hmmmm....I think he has picked up the tape as a cue. Not sure why he is doing it in a trial though, but I think I figured out why he is doing it at home.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Welcome to my Blog! This blog will be to track my career and training of my Border Collie Killy. Hopefully, we will see our improvement week over week as we train this year. I feel like this year will be a good one to work on small things like tighter turns, deeceleration cues and weave entries. We have all the speed and distance we need, although I found out that I have never taught Killy "Out", he has always just done it. So, we will add the word "Out" to our list as well.