The Invisible Dog

Has it come to pass that in our meticulous and rigid design for crafting and tuning the perfect agility dog that we’ve lost sight of that dog and the simple grace of the dance? Bear with me on this idea. We pay fussy attention to setting criteria, calibrating stride, and minimizing area under the curve in turning radius. And at the end of the day is the product of our effort a poetry that lifts the heart; or a collection of more pedestrian formulas, instruction lists, weights and measures? Has the dog become invisible?

I’m not trying to say that we should cease our ardent exploration of measurement and methodology. Hell, it might be the only thing we’re ever good at in this life. But if we are unable to imbue this obsession for facts and methods with some sense of the spirit and grace in our bond and dance with the agility dog then it is a deliberate cold and colorless obsession.

Art and science ultimately require collaboration.

Some while back I started to write this thought and gave my log entry the title “Rare Melodies and Complex Chords” on that day. The entry didn’t write itself however. The thought was an insubstantial phantasm and is still forming into a tangible concept in my mind. I’d said to a student once that “agility is a dance”, to which she retorted “well, it sure isn’t a waltz.” I thought about that for a long while. And it’s true that the dance is nothing so plodding and mechanical as the waltz because the music is composed of rare melodies and complex chords.

This weekend I’ll be in Chicago for a small seminar. Since I endeavor to teach from a philosophic point of view it is natural that I examine my teaching and not just the technical tuning that I do. Oh it’s true. Being a complete student of the game I do the crafting and tuning sort of thing that I seemed to be critiquing above. But I also need to remind myself from time to time not to lose my way.

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Simple sequencing gambits for a small universe.

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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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