Contact Grids for Better Footwork & Safe Approaches

Contact Grids for Better Footwork & Safe Approaches

Instructor: Susan Salo
Course Type: On-Demand Lesson

This item is not eligible for storewide discounts


While there are many techniques for training both stopped and running contacts, the focus is always on getting the dog to put his feet in a particular area—the yellow—with no instructions to the dog about “how” we want him to use his body to accomplish that task.

For the A-frame, this leaves the dog with two options: 1) He can pull himself up the wall using his front end, or 2) He can push himself up the wall using his rear end. But we really don't want the dog too much on either his front or his rear—we want the dog to approach the A-frame in stride with proper balance. Without breaking stride, and while maintaining weight placement over his hips, we want him to offer a lead leg and canter or gallop up and over the obstacle and then down. This is the ideal performance regardless of whether the dog is performing a running contact or a stopped contact. 

But how do we communicate this to our dogs?

By incorporating footwork grids into our A-frame training, we can tell the dog to meet the A-frame on a slight arc, which causes him to offer a lead leg and take a shorter stride on the bend. Instead of his two front legs hitting the A-frame at the same time, the dog’s front feet will be split so that he simply continues moving up “the hill” at speed while maintaining his weight over the hips. Meeting the A-frame in stride with proper balance allows for a much softer (and safer) hit on the up ramp. With practice, the dog patterns this comfortable, and physically less stressful, performance. The dogs do not need to change their footwork to ascend or descend the obstacle. If your dog has stopped contacts, and his weight is balanced as he goes up and over the obstacle, he doesn't have to slow down and shift his weight to his rear to stop. He can maintain speed into his position.

We can also use contact grids with the dogwalk and the seesaw. Susan Salo teaches us that combining grids and contacts not only teaches our dog a safer and more consistent performance, but also teaches us that it has the added of benefit of presenting jumping and performing contacts as a continuum to the dog so that he learns to move smoothly—with flow and purpose—from jumps to contacts and back to jumps.

Learn about Susan Salo's contact grids and how you can use them to improve your dog's A-frame, dogwalk, and seesaw performance, as well as incorporate them into your contact training for a new dog that is just learning.

What is included with your purchase?

  • A 65-minute on-demand video which includes a lecture as well as Susan working on A-frame and dogwalk grids with different dogs.
  • A PDF file that includes the grid setups as well as an explanation of the grids, how to set them up, and how to progress with your training. The training plan is set up in the same format as each grid included in Susan's popular Jumping Grid Workbook.
  • Access on mobile devices and your computer.
  • Ability do download the files to your mobile device so you can use them offline while you're out training.
  • Keep what you buy—No expiring content; you can go back any time to watch the video and read the material.


To do the weave pole gridwork, your dog should be able to perform the ladder grid #1 and the bend work foundation grid smoothly and consistently. 

  • See Straight-Line Equal-Distance Grid on the Foundation Jumping DVD or Ladder Grid #1 in the Jumping Grid Workbook.
  • See Bend Work on the Foundation Jumping DVD or Bend Work Foundation Grid in the Jumping Grid Workbook.

These grids are also covered on Susan's Foundation Jumping DVD.


  • 6 nonwinged jumps for the grid
  • A-frame, dogwalk, seesaw, and 2 additional jumps

How do I access my Learning Center purchase?

After you complete your purchase using your credit card or PayPal, you will receive 2 email confirmations: the first is a receipt acknowledging that your order has been received and the second email contains the link for your Clean Run Learning Center program. Just click on the link in the email to complete enrollment. If you already have a Learning Center account, then you will go directly to your educational program. If you do not, then you will enter your email address and a password to use for this Learning Center program and any future ones your purchase. Please be aware that this is a separate account you are establishing on and it is not the same as your Clean Run website account (although you can use the same email and password for both accounts). 

If you have a Clean Run website account, then you can also access your program at anytime by signing in at and selecting Classes/Webinars from the My Account menu. 

Refund Policy

Please be aware that there are no refunds for on-demand/self-study courses, on-demand lessons, or webinars.

We suggest that you read the information provided carefully before making your purchase. If you have any questions about whether the content is right for you, please email us.

"I just wanted to say a big thank you for the light bulb moments I received doing this course. My dog gets on the A-frame in a horrible way, hitting it too low and too hard (straight into it). Please pass on a big thank you to Susan."  —Suzie 

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