everything is green!

A month ago I was fervishly spreading grass seed on every brown and bare patch on our 28 acres.

For the past week we’ve been cutting grass at every opportunity, and I’m seeing little baby blades of grass peeking out of  former patches of dirt.

At each cottage students raked away the winter’s leaves and nuts, then spread grass seed. In years past I waited until later in the spring to run the mower across the ground, blowing away leaves. I think the raking actually did a much better job of preparing the soil to accept seed.

Our local agility enthusiasts have been so supportive of our efforts here. Now I’m attempting to forge a rally-o relationship with the local obedience club.

I’ve offered to teach a rally-o class in exchange for a top-level agility slot for one of our dogs. As an AKC club, they’re checking by-laws, believing they can’t have an instructor who teaches classes “in conflict” with theirs.

We may work out a system whereby I provide “seminars” or “workshops” rather than classwork. Silly semantics, probably. I know other AKC clubs have changed their by-laws to actually welcome outside instructors to their program.

What is best for an AKC obedience and agility club? I believe that today’s experienced instructor and exhibitor will almost always be offering training to others, whether it’s in their own backyard, in their garage, in a training building, or by renting out the club’s facility.

To say that these experienced people, who are not only experienced dog trainers but are experienced instructors, should not be permitted to teach for your club is a bit of “cutting off your nose to spite your face,” in my opinion.

There are dozens of talented dog trainers at any trial you attend. That dozen talented dog trainers translates into about 2 talented instructors — that is, someone  who can translate their dog training skills into a language others can understand and replicate.

A good instructor knows how the dog thinks, how the handler thinks, how the judge thinks, and can manipulate all that into a qualifying or winning performance. A good instructor also has an eye for the tiniest elements of your performance, and can describe change in a way that makes you want to alter what you’ve been doing forever.

Regardless of what happens with POTC, I’m hopeful our relationship with this local club is on the mend. I don’t believe they’re as afraid of our presence as they were two years ago.

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