Thursday, December 10, 2009

Notes from Advanced Handling

This is my take on the seminar, I'm sure others came away with different ideas, or at least a different emphasis.

Like I said yesterday, the courses were very tight and twisty, but manageable. Everyone had plenty of working time. There were a lot of auditors (this was true for all sessions).

-Don't stop for mistakes, especially when the dog is running fast

-Do stop to fix mistakes on weaves poles and contacts, this is an obstacle performance/training issue.

-Silvia heavily proofs contacts and weaves from the very beginning, in the first sessions of weave training (using channels, with either food or a toy placed at end) , she works on standing still, running ahead, moving laterally. Same with contacts.

-Work to develop something that really motivates the dog, it doesn't matter what (toys, food, even using an obstacle like a tunnel), but the dog needs to be crazy for it.

- You can't have a focus problem if the dog is motivated by something, more likely the dog just doesn't know where he's going/what's expected, or the dog isn't motivated enough by what you are using.

- don't watch your dog. really run, look the direction you are going, even a turn of your head to look back can send the dog to an off course.

- Silvia teaches very tight turns, with a cone and a verbal cue, then a jump standard or wing, she uses trees while out walking too. The direction is supported by motion (some just teach one verbal for a tight turn for either direction, silvia uses two different cues; cik, cap). Her cue means her dogs should run straight ahead to find a jump and wrap tightly around it, obviously there needs to be some collection to do this, but she leaves how much up to the dog, this is independent of her motion.....she could be racing up to the jump, using a verbal cik, cik, cik and the dog is trained to collect as much as needed to wrap the jump. This one skill was probably the most conflicted with how I currently handle/ train my dogs (using Linda's system). I don't think it's as necessary for a typical course run in the US, but it do see how it could be very useful. My friend also pointed out that it may be easier for a person new to agility to teach. Linda's method of teaching jumping and collection can be hard to really understand at times, and I think it's helpful to be able to picture the final result when teaching for it to really make sense. One could teach Silvia's method without really understanding the final picture.

- Like Linda's method, Silvia said several times, "run in the right direction", sounds obvious, but really put this in practice, even on very tight courses.

I'll write more later on tricks, puppies and contacts

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