Thursday, March 19, 2009


It was a fun two days having Susan Perry here giving a seminar on handling and distance. It is fun for me to put on seminars because I can work my dogs and watch my friends and students without having to be the one doing the teaching! Even though I couldn't help myself a few times chiming in about some things. Susan and I are very similar in how we train and handle so it was a very nice fit for me and my students.

Monday's session was on advanced handling and incorporated a lot of distance into it because that is what the participants wanted to do. One of the things that keeps coming up over and over whether I'm the one teaching it or someone else is the use of reward.
We set up the Elite Chances course from Sunday during the Monday session and we were able to try a couple of different ways to handle it. I figured out where I needed to be in order to handle it with Feisty. On Sunday, Jedi and I were one team of three who successfully did it at the trial.

The Tuesday morning session was on foundation distance training. It was fun to see the younger dogs out there working well in a new and distracting environment. There were older dogs there trying to learn some new skills. The skills are very similar to those that I have been having beginner dogs do. Sending around gates is a fun and good way to teach dogs the "out" directional cue. I tend to prefer the use of targets more than Susan because the target can be placed accurately where the reward needs to be - often if a toy is tossed it will not reach the desired location and sometimes it will even hit the dog or hit the obstacle near the dog.

The Tuesday afternoon session focused on advanced distance handling. It was fun to try an assortment of sequences involving distance. Chris and Winn handled one sequence entirely from the far end of the arena - very cool! We were able to work a number of different types of distance sequences and we all worked on our timing and position.

We all enjoyed Susan's pleasant demeanor and helpful insights. It was fun to see everyone put it all together to do some tricky distance sequences. There were a number of good reminders such as remembering to put pressure on the obstacle path and not the obstacle, "the line is not your friend" and you need to have independent obstacle performance in order to handle at a distance. We all tend to get sucked in right next to the line and/or get stuck putting pressure on the wrong point in the line to the distance obstacles.

I learned a new phrase "diaper dog" to refer to the dog that covers the handler's butt and does the sequence correctly in spite of how the handler directed the dog.

I had fun running my young dogs in the seminar and I was very pleased to see how well their distance foundation training was allowing them to work well away from me.


1 comment:

  1. You can have Susan back anytime! It was fun, and low-key (which can be important for learning).
    - Becky