Bodacious Fokwit

I am in Springfield, IL this weekend leading two clinics in a dirt floor barn. I’ve just finished the first two days which was, ostensibly, an introduction to distance handling/training for fairly Novice players. It has already been, on many levels, a most memorable visit.

It was a fun bunch of people just to be around. And, being Novice they were pretty much what they were supposed to be. “Novice” means that they are grappling with elementary concepts that more advanced players take for granted. I really love teaching basic skills.

The lesson plan was a split between basic distance training and, frankly, handling fundamentals. The problem with “distance” training in general is that it is really all about training the dog. We train the dog to understand the independent performance of obstacles. And we train the dog to confidently work at a distance. This is stuff that takes months and months and will not be accomplished in the context of a two day seminar. Frankly dog training can be tediously slow stuff which will frustrate the player if that’s the entirety of the lesson plan. That’s why I include a generous mix of handling topics because the handler can run, be free, and have a sense of basic accomplishment.

Discrimination Roller Coaster

Here’s a handling bit I put up between painful distance drills. It’s a little bit on the technical side. There are no fewer than five discrimination riddles in this short 12 obstacle sequence. How would you handle it? My teaching revolves around the observation that the handler is the architect of the dog’s path. The handler must understand the shape and direction of the dog’s path in order to successfully conduct him upon it.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of the RFP as an insurance movement when the handler has the magnet position forward of the dog on a discrimination riddle. Do you understand what I just said?

He was blowing me off!

In this region there is a strong NADAC influence. I don’t know whether it’s NADAC or insanity unique to the region; but too often what I hear in this area, if the dog makes an error on course, is that the dog is “blowing off” the handler. This is an anthropomorphism that ascribes a motive of willful misconduct to the dog.

If you say “He was blowing me off!” what you are really saying is that it couldn’t have been a handler error. You are saying that it could not have been an error or omission of the dog’s trainer. Isn’t it convenient that you can let yourself off the hook and blame it on the dog?

It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools.

Princess on the Pillows

When we’re on the road Hazard has a habit of nesting on my bed pillows. It’s kind of cute, eh? I realized tonight that it winds up being a bit of a test of how soft are the pillows. The softer the pillow, the deeper in Hazard will sink.

She and Kory were pretty tired tonight. I guess they stay awake all day in their crates as I work out on the floor with other dogs and their people.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running. You know… I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an embarrassingly inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.

11 Responses to “Bodacious Fokwit”

  1. Adrienne Says:

    It must be regional. I haven’t heard it at the NADAC trials up here.

  2. Christine Says:

    When I was just getting started in agility one of my teachers sent out an email that I have on the front of my agility notebook. It is a great reminder and very applicable to this post. She said…
    1. It is pretty much always the handlers fault if something goes wrong, so if you want to improve…do some self assessment and leave the dog out of it.
    2. Your partner is a dog…they did not drive to the show…give them a break if they make a mistake (see #1)
    There is no Q in Success!
    Wise words indeed.

  3. Kim Says:

    It’s definately not a NADAC thing. I have heard many people that participate in many different agility venues, and many people with different dog sports express that exact same statement. It’s a poor dog handler indeed that blames their dog for anything it does, or does not, do.

  4. Paula Price Says:

    Believe me, it is not a NADAC thing. 20+ years ago this is what people (who should have known better) kept telling me about my dog. At the time, USDAA was the only game in town. (AKC agility and NADAC hadn’t been invented yet). The people that are in our NADAC group are wonderful. I haven’t heard that irksome phrase at any of our trials. But it still is alive and well in our area among obedience & agility competitors. It sets up an adversarial relationship with your dog.

  5. Gina Pizzo Says:

    Definitely not a NADAC thing. Definitley a pet peeve of mine, especially when someone is referring to someone else’s dog.

  6. tantantanner Says:

    The place to use an RFP as insurance then is between Obstacle 4 and 5 to see that the dog takes the chute?

  7. Michelle Says:

    great pictures of Hazard!

  8. beth (steve) murray Says:

    1) I second Christine’s comment.
    2) Was Kory on the floor, or the other bed?? The Princess looks
    quite comfy!

  9. Nora Says:

    I don’t see a need for an RFP really. I would send from 1 to 2, pick up the dog on my right out of the #2 tunnel, and then run 3-4-5. My dogs are taught to take the closest obstacle in a discrimination if I call their name, so a timely DOGNAME would get them into the #5 tunnel. Rear cross 7 or front cross landing side of 6 and send to/support 8–then use the same method (DOGNAME) to get the A-frame and run straight out again.

  10. Discriminación de Obstaculos « Agility La Dama Says:

    […] Interesante ejercicio de discriminación que nos propone Bad Houston en su blog. […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: