Thursday, March 5, 2015

True Colors: The color of your training props may make a bigger difference to your dog then you think

Recently I downloaded the app ColorDeBlind for my iPhone and have been having quite a good time seeing the world through a rough simulation of how my dog sees things. I use the app most often to see if the color treats and toys I am using in my training are easily enough for my dogs to find on the footing Im training on. I have a training bag full of different color treats and toys for all the different footings I encounter while Im teaching and training. I find the app very helpful and I believe it has helped improve the training of forward focus in many student dogs as well because we can now use a variety of rewards from highly visible for the beginners to low visibility for the more advanced. We can also use low visibility toy rewards for dogs who go over stimulus threshold or are too visually distracted and vise versa. I have also found some other very interesting uses for the app, including how I select the colors of my exercise props (ie FitPaws gear, etc) as well as what colors I use on the striping on my weave poles and jump bars.

I shot the below photos while working with a student using stride regulators for a running contact performance. The students dog is a 12” jumper with multiple championships so this training was strictly for maintenance. The stride regulators I use in my training differ in size, shape and location/placement on the equipment according to each dogs natural length of stride as well as length of leg, back and overall structure. So the placement of each props is forever changing, however all most of my stride regulators are red in color and always have been. At my training facility my equipment is all purple with red contact zones so I can blend the props into the contact zones. I choose red as a zone color specifically because of the fact that it is a color the dogs don't see. On the that I took the below photos however, I was teaching at another facility where they have blue equipment with yellow contact zones. I thought I would share some of the photos I took of the props to show how we see them vs how the dog sees them. 

Human color view from side of aframe.
This prop is a wooden dowel secured to the aframe with eye hooks on each end of the dowel and paracord strung through them so the paracord can be tied under the plank to secure the prop. I use different diameter dowels depending on the training. I also use flexible drain pipe (same as the dog walk prop below) if I need a larger height prop. I use red paint on most of my props but Ive also used other colors depending on what Im training. I prefer the prop extend out past the width of the frame to aid the dog visually to its presence. Placement of all props are customized to the needs of each individual performance. There are absolutely no standard locations for using props on any obstacle.
Dogs color view from side of frame

Humans color view facing downside of frame
Dogs color view facing downside of frame
Humans color view from top of frame. This photo is taken at the eye level of the dog in training.

Dogs color view from top of aframe.
This photo is taken at the eye level of the dog in training. With the prop in this location the top of the contact color shows above the prop making the prop more visible. Changing the prop color and/or the contact zone color would increase or decrease the props visibility.

Human color view facing down plank of obstacle.
For these props I use flexible drain pipe, the kind you put on the ends of your downspouts off your gutters to divert rainwater away from your structure. I cut the flexible pipe down and can extend them beyond the edge of the dog walk slightly. I paint them red with a paint made for plastic and attach them with paracord tied under the plank.
Dogs color view of dog walk from side

Humans color view from top of down plank.
This photo is taken at the eye level of the dog in training.
Dog color view from top of down plank. This photo is taken at the eye level of the dog in training. Note: it is intentional that the props are set so the dog can not see the second prop nor can the dog dog see the yellow contact zone at this angle and at this location on the plank. This placement is a necessary part of my training protocol for what we were teaching that day.

For more great information on how dogs see (color and acuity):

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Total Team Work=Play Exercise Video

A new video upload of a game that I taught my dogs to help strengthen their front limbs, wrists, and toes. 
Click on this link to go to my YouTube page and view video:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

12 Minute K9 Workout ONLINE Class at Agility U

Above is a photo of my dog Wow! slipping on a dog walk. The dog walk was rubberized and there was no equipment failure or any kind, just a dog slipping for whatever reason. No injury was caused by this slip. Im not posting this photo here for any other reason except to say that if my dog wasn't as conditioned well as he was he would of fallen off this dog walk. Instead, he powered through this slip and kept himself on the plank.

Speedoggie has been one of the nation’s innovators in conditioning and body awareness training  programs for performance dogs. It started years and years ago with our combination of trick training and core and body work for dogs. Our program has now morphed and taken on a life of its own with our Total Team training, combining all of our trick training along with our conditioning and body awareness work combined with our performance training programs.

New for 2015 we have designed a breakthrough idea for helping our clients keep their dogs in top physical condition. Speedoggie’s new 12 Minute K9 Workout is a totally unique conditioning program that we are offering through Agility University’s online training school. The course is a once a week video that you can easily access. In that video you will get detailed information on all of the poses and exercises we will be doing in that week’s 12 minute workout. Next in the video is the actual 12 minute workout. Each workout is designed to be balanced for your dogs, so each muscle group is worked in a proper and healthy manner (ie extending muscles after contraction work, etc). The workouts are designed to be repeated multiple times during the week.

If you can open an email, you can join our class! Its just that easy. All technical support is totally free and delivered thru the AU staff personally. Its easy to get set up and its even easier to participate in the classes. There are multiple participation levels for those who just want to watch the videos and do the work but not submit any video of their own or ask any questions about the workout itself. So if you’re not video savvy and don’t feel you can post your own, you don’t have to! If you would just like to view the videos and participate in the discussions there a participation level for that too. Check out this link with all the information on it. This class is designed to work as an integral part of your total training program. It’s something you can do every day, or just a few times a week, the results you get are equal to the amount of time you dedicate to it.

We all know that keeping our dogs strong, fit and flexible increases their ability to compete and train at top capacity, decreases their chance of injury, and allows them to have long, healthy and successful careers in agility.  Winter is the perfect time to start your indoor exercise program.  Speedoggie’s new Four Paw Fusion 12 Minute K9 Workout Online at Agility University was created to give maximum results with a minimum of time and effort.  These are the exercises we do with our own dogs to keep them training and competing at their best.   Following the 12 minute program just three times a week will improve your dog’s conditioning in just a few weeks and keep your dog in the best shape possible.  Each week’s lesson includes detailed instruction as well as the workout and we feel that all our students would really benefit from the program.  Even if you don’t feel you have the time to be a full class participant, signing up as an auditor will give you the same access to class videos, and allow you to ask questions and receive assistance.  If you want to team to hit the Spring trials at your peak, this is the answer!

View this link FMI on the class and to Register: