The Fox and the Hedgehog

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. ~ Archilochus (7th-century bc)

Are you a fox or a hedgehog? There’s an argument for being a hedgehog you know. You know that thing very well and it shapes your complete existence. I’ve heard that Winston Churchill was a hedgehog. He was utterly convinced that the German Nazis were a dire threat to the world. His clarity of vision helped to defeat the German menace.

The fox, on the other hand, views the world from more than a single perspective; strives to develop all of his abilities; and survives the complexity of the world by adaptation. The fox knows that one hedgehog’s truth is another hedgehog’s lie.

If I knew then what I know now!

There was this theme for dog agility bloggers “If I knew then what I know now!” That work was due yesterday; because I’m a procrastinator and generally late for life, I did not participate. But the exercise generated some amazing reading:

http://dog-agility-blog-events.posterous.com/

I was especially entranced by the posting of an obscure agility blogger (Nancy Gyes)… because she reminded me of a thing “train every behavior long before you ever need to use it.”

I didn’t completely ignore the call for the bloggers theme. My brain pretty much took me to a different place that became more of a sci-fi saga like Time Cop than the remorseful retrospectives of dog trainers thumbing through their woulda-coulda-shouldas. I’ll share that story with you another day once it has coalesced in my brain.

The Hedgehog Learns from the Fox

Yesterday I put up a post on Threadles (http://wp.me/pmSZZ-Zt). Armed with by Droid video smart-phone I went into the lower field to demonstrate the handling. And the exercise became fail fail fail.

You must understand that I am a hedgehog who puts great store on handling skills. Now I find myself in some cases overmatched being an old man with a young, exuberant, relatively fast dog with magnificent distance skills and obstacle focus. Sometimes it can be hard to “handle” your way out of an exercise that demands that you be in two places at once.

Taking Nancy’s statement-of-the-obvious to heart I decided to go out and train Kory for a simple skill… to do the jump and come back to me for the next instruction (ignoring the enticement of perfectly eligible and inviting obstacles). I’ll consider this a directional skill. The word I put to it is “Come-Back!”

Here’s the result: http://youtu.be/29Z0N2oHwEo. Of course I only introduced the command/performance training today (and it took Kory about 2 minutes to learn it). I’m fully aware that the skill isn’t  owned/earned without making it a solid part of my daily exercises for several months.

The Homer Simpson Moment (d’oh!)

Because it was raining outside (did you hear the rain on our metal roof)… I took the exercise inside to the Nancy Gyes “G” alphabet drill (which we finally put up last night as our Minute league play game ~ see http://wp.me/pmSZZ-Z8.)

D’oh! It occurred to me that Nancy may have anticipated the use of the letter “G” as a threadle exercise… so I popped the CD into my computer and, sure enough, there are a couple. Here is “G” exercise number 12:

Blog820

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The Country Dream web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. 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.

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