Vivid Contrast

The days pile on top of each other now. On Thursday we conducted the last 3‑hour mini clinic for our students for awhile; on Friday I was in Columbus leading an instructor’s round-table at ARF; on Saturday I led two leveled handling clinics at ARF. Sunday I was home working on my prodigious to do.


This was a bit like old home week at ARF. I was many years in the Columbus area, so I know most of these folks. The building, in an industrial park, was formally grand central for the defunct Wild Weavers.

ARF is a dog-training community that approaches the game from a philosophical point of view; the “F” stands for “Fun”… and that is the philosophy. You gotta like it.

Three hours is not much time to develop agility training and handling topics. I could do an intense boot-camp experience over four full days and barely scratch the surface.

I put the group on a “Playful Pinwheels”

The chief objective of this training is to teach the handler not to be a dead-head in his movement. It also gives me opportunity to discuss strategically understanding the lines and corners of the dog’s path and fundamental timing events. Turns out to be a lot to fit in a three hour program; but, it fits very nicely. And I get a few light-bulb moments.

The Letter B

In vivid contrast to the run and flow teaching at ARF, our Thursday night 3‑hour at home featured the letter “B” from Nancy Gyes’ alphabet drills most of which, so far are grinding technical drills. And lest you believe that was a criticism… technical is exactly what I want and need right now; as do many of my students.


I printed up sheets with about a dozen of the exercises from the workbook. The sheets turned out to be useful as it gave my students a visual they could hold in their hands (kinda like the course map at a trial). And, I got good help moving equipment, numbering sequences… and allowing everyone to pick their own poison.


It turns out I built the “B” in the wrong direction. My building is 62′ wide… so things didn’t fit so nicely. In this exercise we used a short set of six weave poles.


My personal favorite was this bit. A bit of analysis of the dog’s path show’s it to be a simple serpentine. That means I can attack at full speed and not worry over the moments of sharp contrast.

When Old Men Dream

WHEN old men dream

They write the rules

For how to conduct their lives

All men live by rules

So it’s advantageous to write them yourself


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running. Be sure to check out my distance training series: The Jokers Notebook; an (inexpensive) elaboration and improvement on the work I did in Go the Distance.

2 Responses to “Vivid Contrast”

  1. Erica Says:

    ARF was a blast, and I might even have learned a thing or two (love the “gather-and-go”!). Looking forward to the next opportunity, wherever that might be.

  2. Courtenay Says:

    I tried the last one in the yard today. I do NOT have the skill set for this. Gah. My poor dog was certain I’d lost my mind. It’s tricky! Watching the video now, I see all KINDS of things I could have done to handle it differently!
    I only have 4 jumps, so mostly omited jump 1. I think if I’d had all 5, i might have tried a lead out, which might have worked far better! if you’re interested.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: