2 Minute problem solving packet

One of the dog-training lists I read is called BaggageAgility (@yahoogroups). It is, as the name implies, for trainers of dogs with baggage, rescues or otherwise.

They’re discussing training start-line stays and, of course, discussion has moved to “what do I do if my dog breaks the start line stay at a trial.”

I’ve posted my training protocol for training start line stays, along with the statements “On the other hand, I don’t train the stay at agility trials. If I haven’t completed my training I don’t request or expect compliance. I don’t enter a dog in a trial until she’s able to stay at the start line or pause table 100% of the time in practice, with huge distractions.”

I’m interested to see what gets the most attention from my post — the training, or the statements regarding not showing when the dog is only partially trained.

Here at Country Dream we’re not only preparing for spring, preparing for the upcoming camp season, and preparing for trial season, but we’re also preparing our own dogs and our students’ dogs for the TDAA Petit Prix in Wisconsin this coming October.

Last year we had a rather dismal showing, with my knee getting injured on the first day (taking me out of commission for the full event), with Blue’s concern over the electronic timing system, and Bud’s preoccupation with a magazine interview when he might have needed to focus on the final round of the Petit Prix.

In the grand scheme of things, the 2008 Petit Prix was a glitch, a hiccup, the result of one bad run. It’s all water under the bridge at this point, and it’s time for our young dogs to step confidently up to the line and show what they’ve learned.

At least 2 of our students plan to travel with us to Wisconsin. Their excitement over the teacup nationals is the result of our encouragement over the last 2 years to try some flavors of agility other than AKC. I’m really pleased that even a few locals are willing to try teacup agility.

If this isn’t the black hole of dog agility, it’s pretty close to it. Until we arrived at Country Dream, the local AKC obedience and agility club was the only game in town. When I knew we were going to return to my hometown, I contacted the folks from my old AKC club and requested information on membership and classes.

At every turn we were rebuffed — even when I asked if they did rally training, was told they had no rally instructor, and I offered that I’d been teaching rally for 2-3 years. No comment. It has been a constant source of amazement for me that the club continues to exist with that attitude of exclusion.

The dog-training community is, afterall, an incredibly small community. There are millions of dog lovers, but not a lot of dog trainers. We should, if nothing else, stick together and promote dog training out in the world.

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