Global Warming Contributes to Disaster in Indianapolis

On June 29th, 2012 a derecho swept across the Midwest and intensified precisely as it drew over my property near Marietta, Ohio. This weather system with a name I’ve never heard of before made a mess of my property, knocking down trees and bringing down power lines. Amazingly, None of the structures on the property were damaged.

Now, I shared last week a “daily” exercise I intended to work on through the week with Kory because, as I noted, he wasn’t showing a clear understanding of the full height A‑frame for big dogs; (about 5’11-3/4″ in case you were wondering).

Rather than training my dog through the week I was busing myself around the property, mostly with a chain-saw working very hard to clear out internal roads.

So off we went on the weekend to a USDAA trial in Indianapolis. And here’s how it went… I don’t believe he hit a down contact for the whole weekend. You know, we qualified in Pairs… but that’s a time plus faults game and we qualified in spite of Kory’s missed down contact on the dogwalk.

I actually left in some disgust, actually skipping an Advanced Standard class at the end of the day on Sunday. That’s something I never do. I didn’t really see much sense in stepping on the floor to embarrass myself with an untrained dog one more time.

This is no commentary on the courses designed by USDAA Masters judge Becky Dean. Her courses were lovely and appropriate; and her judging was professional and spot on.

Kowabunga ~ A Mind Bender

I returned home knowing that something was broken. Here’s a boy who has been doing a 2o2o since he was two months old (albeit on a contact trainer then). And suddenly he has no concept. For the next couple days I took him out to the training building prepared to remind Kory of his job on every contact. And… on every contact… he jumped into a perfect 2o2o. I’m talking multiple reps, on nice flowing sequences, the teeter, the A‑frame, the dogwalk… a perfect 2o2o every time.

This evening I took the 36′ dogwalk and put it on the lower field. From the top of the hill I sent him 50 yards running down the hill onto the field to the performance of the dogwalk… and he stopped at the bottom in a perfect 2o2o.

Getting Real

There’s an interesting part of a story in James Micheners Hawaii. The pineapple crop on the islands was failing. So the plantation owners roused the horticulturist who had designed the system from his drunken stupor and put him on the problem when he was sober and steady. After a bit he identified some insufficiency in fertilizer. Having solved the problem he returned to his drunken binge until some future time when he might be called on again.

You must know that I’m a lazy dog trainer. I’m not real mental about pounding and drilling my dogs. Now I know that something’s wrong with the basic crop… so I need to sober up and fix it.

The hardest part of this is for me to understand what I’m seeing. I’m not one to anthropomorphize my dogs. You won’t catch me saying silly crap like “He was just blowing me off.” Slightly congruent to this idea… there might be an argument that Kory is “ring wise” and knows he can get away with it in competition. And so I might have to become one of those fellas who swoop their dogs out of the ring when we fail to get a good 2o2o. Okay, that’s not going to happen either. If you want an explanation, I’ll have to write a whole blog just on that notion. But right now I’m faced with fixing my problem and I don’t have time for a lot of foolishness.

To be very honest I’ve felt the encroachment of this problem and did not honestly acknowledge it. It is a problem of stimulation.

Kory, when he enters the ring, is over the top. Rather than solving it there (in the ring), I’m going to solve it here. Marsha, the consummate dog trainer, has a devilish scheme to make things so exciting that Kory will be enticed to fail, whereupon I can apply my completely neutral but very clear correction.

I’ll keep you posted.

Blog854

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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4 Responses to “Global Warming Contributes to Disaster in Indianapolis”

  1. Erica Says:

    I feel your pain. I’m anxious to see how your plan unfolds. How did his table performance fare?

  2. Betty Says:

    I would be interested in reading your thoughts on ‘swooping’ the dog out of the ring for a failed performance. Of course…I am interested in anything you write about 🙂 and I will also be anxious to see how your plan unfolds.

  3. Jenn Says:

    Looking forward to this series.

    And yes: “Okay, that’s not going to happen either. If you want an explanation, I’ll have to write a whole blog just on that notion. ”

    That would be lovely, if you find the time to document your thoughts.

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us.

  4. Marsha Nix Says:

    Please let me know how it goes. Dylan and I have the same problem. Bruce built me a contact trainer a few months ago and we have been practicing (running contacts, not 2o2o). He does well at home, but missing the yellow at trials. For the last few weeks I tried tossing the treat out away from the contact and saying ‘go get it!’ Two weeks ago we were at the Springfield CPE trial and on Saturday he missed every contact. However on Sunday he did all of his contacts!! Go figure –

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