A Year is Forever

Do you remember what it was like when you were 15? A year is a measurement of time that stretches into forever infinity and time crawls with slow deliberate measure. The idea of patience is contrary to the very pace of life. I guess it’s no real wonder that most kids are such terrible dog trainers; because they have no patience and no concept of “the long view”.

We need to be deliberate and measured in training a dog. I’ve said for a long time that I know exactly how long it takes to teach a dog a thing. It takes as long as it takes. Along the way I’m an advocate of keeping statistics on success. When I was teaching my boy Kory “left” and “right”, for example, I was thrilled and pleased when his success rate hit 80%. This was fully four months into his training on these absolute directionals. And yet in another two months, he was up around the 95 percentile range.

Private Distance Camp

It’s a bit hard to tell in this drawing… but there are two sets of weave poles… with only two poles each. I have some of these laying around when subscribing to the two-by-two weave pole training method. It’s also an obstacle that doesn’t take much floor-space (if you want to count tail-wagging-the-dog benefits).

I’m working with Wayne (from Wisconsin) all this week. Our time together is dedicated to distance topics. We’ve pretty much decided that his dog is faster than he is so working at a distance is working smart. But it requires some training of both the dog and handler to accomplish.

We’ve been having a bit of a problem ride with a basic send to the pipe tunnel. Yesterday I was kidding Wayne about assuming a posture and energy of movement rather like Boris Karloff’s rendition of the Mummy when making a send.  His young dog Zeke immediately turned off the tunnel and into stark handler focus.

An interesting thing happened while we were working through a Front Cross on the landing side of jump #4… Wayne gave pressure to jump #5 and Zeke zipped over the jump and on to the pipe tunnel at #6. It amounted to his most impressive send to the tunnel in a couple days of work.

We had to stop and study the moment and try to figure out what cue was provided by the handler that facilitated the send to the tunnel; and indeed what it was in the handler’s intention to send to the tunnel that failed.

I have to sidetrack for just a moment. This is a picture sent to me by Beth Bowling, running her young dog Skye. In a seminar in Cincinnati recently I was talking about how the handler should avoid bending over on the dismount of a contact obstacle because the dog doesn’t see so much the pointing as the sudden thrust of the handler’s shoulders forward; the dog takes the thrust of the shoulders as a cue to race, or accelerate. So, the correct posture should be for the handler to hold his shoulder’s back on the dog’s dismount of the dogwalk.

Anyhow, Beth sent me the pic because it was kind of a funny affirmation of my teaching point.

Now… back to Wayne. What we decided in breaking down the difference between the intentional send (picture Boris Karloff playing the Mummy here)… versus the incidental send with the handler scooping up out of a Front Cross and accelerating forward; is the that set of the handler’s shoulders is quite different. We tested the notion… and for about the next hour Wayne was sending Zeke on to the pipe tunnel at ripping speed from impressive distance.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Who is this actor? And for what role is he most famous?

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the August Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/ . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special00” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

2 Responses to “A Year is Forever”

  1. Jeff Whitsitt Says:

    Bela Lugosi, Dracula

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