Chi = Energy; Harmony and balance, fluidity and grace, timing and movement.

Harmony is a matter of relationship and attunement between the man and his dog. A strong connection between these partners in agility is highly desirable and even necessary. The plan for training the dog for the game is rather like tuning the dog to a focus of desire and intent. So when man and dog step onto the field each appreciates the role and quality of the other. Thus harmony between them is a tension palpably resonating with real energy.

The team cannot achieve real harmony if the dog is unstrung, not attuned, or unfocused. By the same token the man will disrupt the harmony of the team by his own lack of focus, eruptions of ego, and wailing of the inner child.

Harmony is a specific objective of a training program. In this regard the dog’s trainer is the composer of the product over time, and the orchestral director in the now. We rely on the notion that the dog is a clever and engaged student who we will bribe and reward for the clever bits; or we ignore or obtusely punish for the bits that weren’t so clever. The dog’s trainer should decide early on if it is his lofty desire to gently conduct the dog through a symphony; or in pedantic fashion always instruct note-by-note and manage or control the dog thoroughly.



I didn’t until this very moment even consider that I didn’t know how to spell the name of Hazel Thompson’s old dog Rickrack. I probably have it wrong. But my drawing here is as faithful as I can be to the old champ.

Editor’s Note: When I first started my web log on wordpress.com I didn’t know a “Page” (permanent sidebar entry) from a “Post” (chronological log entry). And so I accidentally created the file “Harmony” as a page, when it should have been a post. So, I’m doing some long belated house-keeping, moving the page to post; and deleting the page.

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

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