I apologize for going silent the last few weeks and months. Business got in the way of blogging. My purpose for this blog is to join the agility blogging community and speak to the topic of “aging” …..
First – I’m so excited at the maturity I’m seeing in my youngster (Phoenix NAJ) who turns two years old this December. Running him has progressed from nerve-wracking and frustrating to magical in one weekend spent training with friends and Bud Houston. Phoenix’s 2-minute dog training was always steady, but any activity in a group setting met with high stimulation and distraction. I persevered. He grew up!
Second – puppy Katniss (at 10-11-months) has been registered as an All American with AKC and is being prepared for a February-March 2014 debut. I know there’s disagreement amongst agility people as to when we should start competing with our puppies, but I prefer to get them in the ring as soon as possible, let them have a fantastic time, find the holes in my training, and give them some ring experience. In the meantime, I used my new favorite weavepole training equipment, and Katniss learned how to hit entries and weave 6 poles in three 10-minute sessions. She doesn’t understand weaves yet, but she will very soon. I’m working at sending-for-independent-performance as well as running-at-side-with-great-excitement. I want her to be familiar with both situations.
Third – rescue Haymitch (at age 2-3 years) has been getting very little work. He needs another TDAA Intermediate Standard leg to be in Superior Standard and Games 3 for the TDAA Petit Prix and he’ll get it someday. He joined weekly classes last evening and daily training sessions for Haymitch will begin this week. I hope he’ll do well in October. I reserve all his training for Teacup (TDAA) agility, and don’t put him on big a-frames and teeters very often.
Fourth – I’m writing a BOOK on the 2-minute dog trainer protocols. Bud’s going to be my editor. Angie Houston has agreed to be my illustrator. I want this to be a book people read and enjoy re-reading, sharing with their friends, and giving as gifts. I find dog training to be hugely amusing and humorous, and I want to share my strange sense of fun with others.
Okay – now for my take on “aging” in the world of dog agility …
I don’t want to automatically sound like an old fart but those darned whipper-snapper kids don’t respect us old farts!
Sure, they can out run us. Sure, they have the time and money for classes, workshops, seminars. Sure, they can wake up at 5am on a Saturday and still be energetic for their last event at 5pm.
But can they drink 2 margaritas and still provide experienced, detailed analysis of a student’s novice jumpers run? Can they? I think NOT!”
I’m just kidding, of course. Codgers kid a lot.
I believe that clever agility enthusiasts should seek knowledge from coaches of all ages. From young coaches with tons of energy, who are developing new protocols for agility dog training, to crusty old coaches who have developed all the training protocols in existence up to this point.
If agility training is a journey I’d suggest youngsters make a point of walking in the footprints of handlers with a few years’ instructing under their belts (or suspenders, knee braces, support stockings). We’ve seen the reactions of hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs to specific handling moves.
After all is said and done it is the reaction of the dog that determines whether the handling skill is a success or failure. Certain types of dogs will often share a common reaction. And a crusty old coach will usually be aware of that.
Here’s to the crusty old coaches in the dog training world!
I’ve trained my dogs once today and will have another “contacts” session with supper, as well as a group beginner class for Katniss, so now I can totter off to my favorite recliner and margarita.