When You Travel With Someone…

When you travel with someone you might need to be overhasty and leave before you are actually ready. But when you go alone, you can sleep in and make a leisurely start. That’s a nearly direct quote, I think, from Thoreau or someone like that.

I’m just back from a TDAA judges’ clinic in Washingtonville, OH. And I frankly find myself exhausted mostly because I didn’t get enough sleep. The really scary thing about the TDAA format clinic is that we have two days of study followed by two days of trial. And, we design the courses we use for the trial during the first two days. This is a lot more difficult than you would think. I was up well into the night organizing and printing courses.

I also had myself on more than one writing project that has nothing to do with my web log. If the work is not tedious, it is certainly meticulous. I intend to publish a couple eBooks this year under the brand “Agility Idea Book”. And, as you might expect, they don’t write themselves.

By the bye, Janet and Scott Kemerer were wonderful hosts of the event. Their facility at Four Seasons K9 Athlete center (http://www.k9athletecenter.com/) is a terrific agility trial site. And, they have Big Ass fans (I think I did a blog on this back on Agilityvision):


My Favorite Course of the Weekend

To tell you the truth, aside from leading a judges clinic, I was also working with two new Judge Advocates (more on this later)… and, running my own dogs. I did not have a spectacular weekend with either dog but good enough. Blue got three games legs and a new GII title; and two standard legs. Hazard also went three games (GIII) and two standards.

With Hazard, I pretty much decided that in the confines of the teacup course I was crowding her too much. And so I resolved in the last standard course that I intended to run with her to make it as much of a distance push as I could. I really don’t care if I qualify mind you; but qualification is a measurement, however blunt the instrument.


Here in the opening I did a couple things. First I sent her out to get the tire, a thing than we practice in routine “around the clock” training. I pretty much knew that I wanted to attend the drop of the teeter with her, so my path narrowed along the opening route which helped apply pressure to keep her on line. Just as the teeter began to drop I told her “Go tunnel!” and took a last pressure step. This might have allowed me to shift to the other side of the A-frame, changing sides along the way. But I had no intention of doing anything like that.


To get set up I gave Hazard a lot of trust to pick up the jump and favor the A-frame; though I held up my arm to get her looking at the top as we do in practice. For my plan, I needed to be ahead just to the extent that we could converge at jump #7.

I wanted all along to work for the layered Tandem at jump #7. Note that I arrived at the jump about the same time she did (which a handler will do, if they want it to actually work) and reserved a step of real estate to sell the turn. Then I faded back to the take-off side and gave subtle pressure to maintain the line out to the chute.


I got to play the whole layering thing over again, with some subtle differences. I actually took the magnet side on the approach to the tunnel/A-frame discrimination with a little counter-rotation for insurance. Note that the dog’s path actually favors the pipe tunnel anyhow.

Now I race for the #7 jump and once again show the layered Tandem. This time, however, when I fade back to the landing side I show some real brakes and frankly a bit of counter rotation as though I might be pulling her back towards the #7/14 jump. When her nose comes back around enough for a fairly square approach to the weave poles I release the RFP and let her get going again.


So at the #17 jump I showed one last little layered Tandem; though I was a bit careful to draw the corner up a couple strides on the landing as insurance that she wouldn’t turn too hard-aback and give the #18 jump a miss. I chickened out a bit on my layering as I stepped in between the weave poles and the collapsed chute whereupon I also had to step inside the #15/8 jump. To tell you the truth I’ve been transitioning Haz to running contacts and she actually missed one on me this weekend (the dogwalk); but not this one. I gave her a “bottom” command in that I really mean this voice. Um, she didn’t assume a position, but at least she ran down through the contact. It reminds me that I’d better go back and fortify “bottom” for a little while in my training.

A couple people who were paying attention told me how much fun it was watching me do the course that way with my dog. At least one person told me I was showing off. You know, I’ve got to look at it like this. Her YPS was faster in this course than any other we ran on the weekend. Hazard is a dog that does not like micro-management or having me hover over her at all. And knowing this, I just need to trust her. Practice the way you compete; compete the way you practice.

Are You Ready for Some Football?

I can’t tell you how excited I am by the Arizona Cardinals have won the NFC championship and are headed for the Super Bowl. I am an Arizona boy though clearly displaced in the world. Arizona has never had a pro football team in position to become a national champion. If you track back on the Cardinals I believe they won the NFL championship in 1947 or 1948. That was before I was born.

After the movie “Invincible” with Mark Walburg I found myself a surreptitious Eagles supporter and had great empathy for the Philly fans. I rooted for them all year. And then, to hear them boo their team and whine and cry like great babies after they lost the NFC championship game… let’s just say I lost my empathy and my respect for those fans. They don’t even know what long suffering means. They don’t deserve a championship team. Maybe they’ll learn how to act if they have to wait another 60 years.

Speaking of Yiddish!

Nancy Gyes picked up on my blog post… What if Nancy Gyes Was Jewish. And made comment to it. WordPress keeps some interesting statistics including what search terms were used for people to find my blog. “Nancy Gyes” appears just about as often as “Distance Handling” though sometimes they appear in the same search expression.


Another search engine term that has been hitting my blog stats is “Concentrates the mind” which, as it happens, to be a part of the Sam Johnson quote I put in my blog several weeks back… “The prospect of hanging concentrates the mind”. If you think about it, this is a 19th century variation on extreme penalties being a deterrent to criminal acts. And I do believe the quotation is getting attention in our present culture in the anticipation of criminal prosecution of our former executive branch for crimes committed while in office.


“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at www.dogagility.org/store.


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