When it was first announced I dithered, to do or not to do. I just wasn't sure. First I was like, No, thanks. Then maybe. Then I registered but had a few misgivings initially. Lots of thoughts ran through my head "It's all about "international" handling. I don't know that my dogs will work with that kind of handling/that hard of a course, what do I need all of that for?! I don't think it is right for my dogs"
|Shake off those preconceived notions and lets get to work!|
Let me just say that never have I ever been so glad and grateful that I did something before! I had a working spot in the morning session and then on Saturday I audited the afternoon advanced session. Having the foundation building blocks and then seeing them put into practice in the afternoon session was a absolute light bulb moment. I think it helped that the afternoon advanced session was a little less advanced than the morning advanced session. But it was absolutely perfect for me.
The explanations from both Jessica and Justine made a whole lot of things in agility make sense, bits and pieces I've picked up from here and there and heard/tried to follow without knowing the whys. It's like a puzzle missing half the pieces and all of a sudden now I can see the final picture. OH, that's what you meant about turn my shoulders!! This handling WILL work with my dogs. It will actually HELP my dogs. I can teach the skills with nearly no equipment in my living room!
I'm so excited for the possibilities and I ended up bouncing out of there after Sunday super excited for the things I need to train instead of plodding out of the seminar with a list of things I need to work on. So awesome!
I worked Spencer (mostly) with Baxter there for backup in the Foundations/Beginner seminar. I've done work with the dogs on some of the skills they teach. We know backsides, we do multiwraps, we're working on tighter turns etc. Other things like how they train threadles and handle threadles are new.
Spencer worked for me. A little hesitant and stressed (the demo dog, Jessica's BC was eyeing him up pretty good from about 10 ft away from where we worked our little drills) but he worked through it. He was awesome! Baxter was awesome as well. I pulled him out for blind cross drills on Sunday and he did amazing. People commented that I must do a lot with him - HAHA - I don't blind cross anything but a tunnel with Baxter! Or rather, I didn't. Makes me rethink some things now, he does actually read them really nicely in the drills. Probably past time to actually put the foundation training in and see how well they might work somewhere else.
Some of the things we were shown, like how to use a blind cross correctly was just amazing. There were 2 jumps set in a 180 about 2 feet apart, we had to pull our dogs through that gap in the middle and every single dog, even the most novice dog who'd never seen agility equipment in his life understood the handling and came through the gap, not even looking at that second jump.
Both Justine and Jessica were SUPER nice and handled/tailored advice to people/dog teams individually and equally. Toy or food, doesn't matter. BC or a slower less motivated dog, doesn't matter. Everyone got advice to help them and no one got brushed off.
I also loved how a lot of the stuff we were shown in the foundations class has a "Susan Garret/Say Yes Dog Training" feel to it. I've done a bunch of her stuff as well and really like it. Since the group of them worked together and trained together to come up with this handling system, there are parallels to other things I've worked on, which makes me feel a whole lot more comfortable with the whole thing.
It's also super awesome that these talented ladies live about a 3 hour drive from here and not across the country. Now to practice and teach these skills so that when they come back we can play on the hard stuff!