Training in the Ring

I’m all settled in to the Red Roof. This isn’t my favorite. But, it has all the essentials and is a comfortable enough routine for me. Kory is getting to be a bit of a veteran hotel guest as well. He knows how to tell me when he needs to go out to get busy (sometimes at 2:00 in the morning); he knows when he gets his meals; and he knows when it’s time to go to play.

I’m away this weekend for a USDAA trial with BRAG in Cols, OH. I’m on a team draw, and all the usual classes. He’s all in Advanced in the USDAA, don’t you know, except for the tournament classes. I’ll be six or seven times in a ring each day. It’s a wicked grind compared to the lah de dah pace of the AKC.

And I’ll be training in the ring.

Of course there are explicit rules against training in the ring, in all venues. Oh pish. The definition of “training in the ring” as written in any set of agility rules is a simple acknowledgement of the most ham handed clumsy kind interference with the dog as you can imagine. That certainly isn’t what I intend.

What I really want to do is take a deliberate course, work all my contacts for an extra second or two, and give my boy basic and enthusiastic validation for his work. This is training, and there’s no question of it.

Training in the ring has a different vantage point as well. It’s a thing I call “Samurai training” which is really basic parry and thrust with a wooden sword. The team, dog and person, each are learning every nuance of the other, whether deliberate or subtle.

I’m not really going to judge our weekend in the field by the arbitrary and artificial measurements of Q and title. It is only training. And it is, after all, only a wooden sword.

At Home Warm Up

I wanted a little reminder before we went away for the weekend of contact performances and Kory’s “named obstacle discrimination” training. In this sequence, for example, I pretty much hung out at jump #1 while giving Kory verbal directionals. The reward of choice was a Frisbee, which I delivered for a good stick on the A-frame.

This set of the floor allowed several interesting training sequences. I had to get a good look at the weave poles as well. I was also interested in this sequence in getting him to turn away (to the left) neatly at jump #5. Again, my “handling” position was somewhere between jump #1 and the A-frame.

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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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