March 16th, 2008

twotugging

MEB at Cedarfield

Just finished a two day handling seminar at my place with Mary Ellen Barry. Mary Ellen has been coming here to the Triangle Area of NC for four years now and each time I feel tuned up and ready to run with my dogs. 

This year we had the seminar at my place which was really fun for me. I enjoyed playing hostess for this group of agility enthusiasts, some whom were locals and the others who were from GA, SC and NJ. I don't think there's another agility activity I enjoy more than a good handling seminar. It was a fairly small group, I think about 10 handlers, so it felt more like a group of friends getting together. We had plenty of time to really delve into the course analysis that MEB does so well.

This year was all about motion cues: Handler motion, dog motion, forward motion, lateral motion, acceleration, deceleration and anything that came inbetween. My two biggest take aways from this weekend: 1) when your dog is in the tunnel, GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE and 2) for extreme collection you need the turn cue and the deceleration cue.

But there was so much more.  I learned *where* to decelerate and the actual mechanics of deceleration. I learned how to do a rear cross threadle which is the coolest thing ever and, btw, works great. I learned that you can be running backward and it's still forward motion to your dog.  I learned that when Devon gets the right cues he can run with the big dogs. And I learned that it's a total rush to run fast with a fast dog.

I was so inspired by the weekend that I decided to go to the SE Regionals after all and run Jaime on a Perf. team. I saw how well he can run this weekend when I know what to do and when to do it. I still doubt I'll go to Nationals but it seems a waste not to use the bye we got in Feb. Of course, now this means I have to get a Steeple Q but I feel more confident now that I can do it if I need to.

Anyway, a couple of pics from the weekend. No video, unfortunately because it just wasn't a video crowd.