Lil running on a flat board as part of Silvia Trkman’s Foundations Class

Lil currently has a solid 2o2o on the dog walk. She started running over a board when she was 12 months old for a running A-Frame.

My concern about training a running dog walk is that I cannot see if her legs are together or separated in “real time”. I have been standing directly behind or in front of Lil and I also can’t seem to see which hits are closer to the end either… it all seems to be happening too fast for my eyes and brain to grasp.

My question to Silvia: Its seems so clear in slo-mo, but how can I train myself to see the important details in “real time” so that I can jackpot Lil’s “better” performances?

ps– The board is 8′ long x 14″ wide.

LoLaBu on March 15, 2012 at 11:37

To me, the easiest to see is when I’m a bit behind and a bit to the side. For now, you would be focusing on a form of running ie. is she extending well forward instead of going up in the air. Once I get all running and start focusing on the hits, I just stare at the contact area and wait for the paws to fall (or not fall :) ) into it. You can then show where you saw feet to a camera and then check if you were right, to check your decisions. It does get easier&easier, but it’s definitely harder with short little legs as with longer legs!

But if she has nice DW, you can keep 2o2o there and just focus on running AF. OR, you can play some with a plank and decide later if you can see it well enough and how she is doing and if you want to proceed or not.

Devorah Sperber on March 15, 2012 at 12:59

Thanks Silvia, I like the idea of playing around with the plank to see if I can learn to SEE whats happening and then confirming it by playing back the video.

ps– I have seen professional photographs (shot continuously like stop frame animation) of Australian Terriers doing lure coursing and they all tend to flip their rears up a bit when running at full speed…. I assume it must be a structural thing. I hadn’t realized that Lil did that until watching the video in slo-mo. The last time I ran her over a board was a long time ago and she was not running as fast or taking as long strides back then.

ps–I can’t believe how much faster Lil is doing EVERYTHING after just a few weeks of starting this class. I’m thrilled.. and so is Lil.. whose official AKC name happens to be “Just for a Thrill” :) How perfect is that?

TIP FROM ANOTHER STUDENT: …when you think you got a leap, wave to the camera! that way you’ll know what you were thinking in full speed once you get to the slo mo

ST FEEDBACK:  Different breeds run differently, so I always recommend taping a dog when running full out on flat, studying it frame by frame and comparing to running over the board. And yes, some board running certainly can’t hurt her current performance on DW, so it’s no problem to play with it some – AND, it’s great for their overall speed too!

DEV: One more thing….What, if anything, should I be doing when Lil leaps ONTO the board? She does a similar thing sometimes on the A-Frame, which can’t be good for her body in the long term.

ST: I think you might be able to get rid of that if you started with a carpet, then go to a plank with a carpet on it etc. – to make it as “normal” and uneventful to run over something as possible. Ideally, they don’t even change their stride when getting on a plank – that’s why I promote carpet and very thin planks so much. Thick (or with some dogs even thin) planks often affect their stride some.

8 thoughts on “Lil running on a flat board as part of Silvia Trkman’s Foundations Class

  1. I have learned a little about Dawn Weaver’s Running Contacts Method and I think if I decide to switch Lil for 2o2o to a running dog walk, that Dawn’ s method might be a good choice for my particular dog. It made me feel relieved when Silvia, who has a great eye, acknowledged “it’s definitely harder with short little legs as with longer legs!” I thought I was just incompetent!

  2. Hard is not the word I would use Dev, try impossible. Just a quick little blur running across that plank. Dawn Weaver’s Running Contacts sounds exciting and something I think I will do also now that my camera works again. I will leave it a month or two as I feel I have more than enough on my plate at present with Silvia’s class.

    • Thanks Patricia! Until now, I was wondering why I couldn’t see what was going on. It made me feel so good to hear that Sylvia also finds it harder to see little legs!

      Lil “passed” Dawn Weaver’s Foundations 1 class. It went super fast because the behaviors are so specific plus Lil happens to know all the separate behaviors to start so it was just a matter of stringing them together (we do a lot of shaping games). Lil has such enthusiasm for Dawn’s games, which indicates to me that Lil is crystal clear about the task at hand and can’t wait to show me what she knows.

      I am so utterly impressed with Dawn’s method. It is truly revolutionary (seriously)! I think you will be impressed too! I can clearly see that Dawn’s method will create a consistent running contact performance. It makes perfect sense re: the behavioral sciences!

      ps–I am just doing Dawn’s RC for the A-Frame now but plan to do the RC DW classes over the summer, when we take another break from trialing.

  3. love the speed. what difference does it make if the two feet are together or not.???? and did you start by throwing a ball or toy off the end of the board.??

    • Silvia focuses on the back feet landing one after the other/ separated, which indicates the dog is running. You can see in slo-mo that Lil’s feet are usually separated..even though there is a slight AT bouncy-butt 😮 with Lil’s fully extended strides.
      In contrast, when a dog leaps, both feet take off at the same time/ together.

      For the longest time, I thought Silvia was using the term “separated” to indicate the amount of space (left to right) between the back legs…when seen from the rear.

    • Oh. And yes. I either throw a toy or use a Manners minder positioned 20′ past the board. Sometimes I put a cone 20′ beyond the board on the other end so Lil can wrap around the cone and run back over the board without stopping.

    • Thanks Dianne! I feel that Lil is special too! and definitely happy! Don’t you think happiness is an AT trait? I think ATs naturally exude happiness!!!

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