The Augean Stables

What I’ve been thinking about for several days is the cleaning of the Augean stables by Hercules. It was the fifth of his twelve labors. Legend has it that King Augeas was a wealthy but miserly man. He owned 30,000 oxen. And his stables had not been cleaned for 30 years. What a mess it must have been.

Hercules cleaned the stables in a day. He diverted a nearby river and flushed it through the stables. I can’t help but think that it must have been a considerable eco-disaster at the time… as several million tons of oxen poop washed down the river and presumably out into the Mediterranean Sea.

I’ve spent the past three days cleaning up the tractor barn. It’s been a couple three years since I last gave it a good clean-up; and so it really was a piece of work. This week we have a work-study camp here. This is a fun format that we do every couple of years. There will be several people showing up tomorrow. And then, for the next several days we’ll spend half a day training and playing at agility, and half a day working on various projects on the property.

Marsha has been busy mowing and weed whacking and doing some decorative planting. Tomorrow before folks arrive I’ll tidy up my garden and get a last selection of plants in the ground. This is kind of like spiffing up the house before the cleaning lady arrives. We’ll have plenty of interesting things for our campers to work at.

I’ll try to share with you some of the training that we do. I’d really like to share the work with you as well, but I don’t think I can actually do that.

I’ve been getting a bit of work on my garden. I’ve got a number of plants in (a bit early). And I have a bunch of seeds started, waiting to be transplanted. Through the week of gardening and the weekend cleaning up the tractor shed… I’ve spent evenings working on TDAA course reviews, ‘til the wee small hours. I had a bit of a problem with course reviews I did while in Pocatello (yes, even when I’m on the road I have to keep working)… apparently the hotel WiFi crapped out on me… and several reviews that I thought I had sent back to the designing judges were actually moved to my drafts folder. Because of time sensitivity it caused a bit of a schedule emergency by the time I realized what had happened. Ah, technology.

Calendar Stuff

I spent last weekend at Ohio Air Dogs up in Cleveland. It was a very novice group of handlers and dogs. It was a very promising bunch of dogs; and the handlers were keen to learn a thing or two. With novice players I will set a modest pace so as not to overwhelm. I’ll look forward to seeing all of them come along in the next few years. There is a growth and evolution in the agility that is nearly predictable.

This weekend I got at home. But like I said, I’ve been undertaking the fifth labor.

Next weekend I’m in Columbus for a two-day workshop with ARF. I’m really looking forward to this one. They’ve specifically asked for a discrimination clinic. I’ve already got some fun sequencing challenges kicking around in my head for them.

On the following weekend (indeed, beginning on Thursday) I’ll be leading a TDAA judges’ clinic at Happy Dog Ranch, in Ashland City, TN. It’s a small group of prospective judges, new and recertifying. This will be the first of several workouts on games we’ll be playing at the Petit Prix this year.

I don’t have my calendar directly in front of me… I think the next weekend I’ll be showing my own dogs at a USDAA trial in Indianapolis.

Oh Pocatello

In leaving Pocatello I got a handwritten list of email addresses so I could send everyone (who hadn’t received before) the Jokers Notebook Issue #0. I put it in my jacket pocket and zipped it up. There was no way I was going to lose that list!

http://wp.me/pmSZZ-10M

Here’s a picture of me wearing the jacket. Unfortunately on the flight from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City I left the jacket in the overhead storage of the plane. By the time I’d walked all the way across the terminal my next flight was already boarding. Only then I realized I’d left my coat. I tried to make arrangements for them to put it in luggage… but it apparently didn’t work out. Two weeks later, still no jacket.

A Standard Course

This was the course I devised for Wednesday night class and league. I ran it clean with Kory, but I think Beth with her old girl Koda had the best run of the night. It was fun to see her solve every technical bit. With Kory I was fighting to reign him in from the subtle options throughout the course, especially in that swing from the weave poles to the A-frame.

I gambled a bit on some distance work. Off the table I sent Kory out over jump #12 and layered to the opposite side of the dogwalk while he came around. I wanted a pre-position on the landing side of jump #16 to be in position for the wrap at jump #17. You may or may not recall that this wrap is high on my training agenda right now. It wasn’t as neat as I’d have liked it. It’s a work in progress.

I’ll share some of our training sets, below:

The white numbered set above was especially fun. It needed to be a more extensive training set. It’s worth noting that handlers who felt compelled to step in and manage the transitions between the two tunnels had the most difficulty with it. With a bit of trust in the dog the handler could manage the transitions from about the 40′ line.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The web store is up and running.  www.dogagility.org/newstore. I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.

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