Go Dog Go hosted Terry Simons for a seminar again this past weekend, he comes by every year and last year i just audited. This year though i had a working spot in the first Course Analysis session on the Friday morning. It was great, Terry is an awesome teacher and really makes sense with what he told me. I knew a bit of what he said from last year when i audited, but it's different when you're out there working and he's talking directly to you after seeing you and your dog run. I had a ton of fun the whole weekend and learned lots that I'm excited to work on in practise.
Izzie's pretty solid when it comes to taking obstacles and reading cues, she knows what to do as long as i give her the signals properly. Our problem isn't even physical speed because she really can motor, it's about me handling her to promote that speed and keep her up. What helps that is devising a path that keeps me moving and therefore makes her want to move; when i stop or slow down, she does too. Also as inefficient as bipedal motion is compared to quadrupedal motion, I'm a 5'7" long legged person compared to a 13" tall dog; I can cover much more ground than she can so why am i running the inside line? My dog is not likely to beat me or make it a challenge for me to get ahead of her to throw in a front cross.
I also need to focus on what is going to be the most efficient use of my dog's energy. Tight wraps around jump standards are going to cause her to have to slow down and collect and then get back up to speed quickly which takes more energy than different paths i could take. It's about handling for our strengths and weaknesses.
Major Take Home Point: Pick the route that keeps me moving so my dog keeps moving too, maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. Run the outside, do it well, I will beat them and they will hate me.
I also have gained a bit of a needed boost of confidence this weekend. What made me feel good was Terry said he likes Izzie, that means a lot to me. My choice to do agility with her has been under fire before and as strong as i try to be it does shake me a bit and create a lot of issues knowing how i naturally think (i'm rather self conscious). There's no describing how awesome it feels to be told by someone that's had a ton of success in the sport that they like your dog.
I did not choose my dog for agility, I chose agility for my dog. Yes my next dog will be chosen with agility in mind, but my dog is my dog first and my goal is to do the very best i can with what i've got and find what makes them tick and use that to have fun and succeed. My extreme competitive streak aside, i just want to have fun with my dog. I love my Izzie for being Izzie.
Oh and we had a super fun time hanging out with our agility friends, I love my group. I know i've said it before but it needs to be repeated because they're just that great! Check out the fun times had at S#*T My Handler Says. Even Izzie had a good time sharing a pen with her pal Gyp and looking for kitties.