I really shouldn't stay in bed for days...gives me WAY TO MUCH TIME to think :) And due to completely losing it mentally from being stuck inside all week...I made a small trek outside...laid in the grass, took my camera and took random, weird photos that I shall share with you...why...well...why not?
Based on my videos posted this past week...I have gotten several emails asking me why I chose to teach Lynn the "4 on the floor" stop on her DW instead of the 2 on 2 off that she has on her teeter. And if so, why did I do that over her 2 on 2 off teeter? My answer is, she decided that was what she wanted to do. I am sure I am going to get some people saying that is a bad idea. And I am OK with that. She does the same thing consistently, and it is natural to her. So, I will take my chances with what she chooses to do. Logic is taking me that direction.
Maybe that makes me seem lazy? Not sure. I don't think of it as lazy, I think of it as working with the dog. Must be all that herding training huh? :)
I think as long as you are teaching it, and proofing it, and insisting the dog perform it consistently...what's the big deal? In agility, we as trainers, try to make things as black and white as possible...tell the dog when this happens, do this. But we then put them in all sorts of situations: running in rain, running on rubberized equipment, with frantic handlers, running on grass, running on mats, different see saw tipping points, weave pole spacing etc etc... We throw all these grey areas at them and expect them to just adjust immediately.
And perform PERFECTLY. It's amazing how well they do...I am sure if you put humans in the same situations, we would not fair NEARLY as well :) Think about the tenths of a second these dogs have, going full speed to come out of a tunnel and in 18 feet find a WP entry...just stop and THINK about it...for a minute.........I'll wait.
It's really, REALLY amazing isn't it? Dogs are the masters of reading the "grey areas"...picking up patterns...just amazing really. Someone asked me how my dogs know they are going to work sheep versus just hanging out in the yard. I don't TEACH them this...they figure out...dogs in groups don't work sheep, dogs with me by themselves, as we are walking towards the barn, will be working sheep. Dog with me and I have a toy in my hand equals agility. I go out the same door, but those little things make the difference in the dogs idea of what they are doing.
So that's how I think...all they do out there, all the differences, the grey areas they put up with, adjust, figure out, while going like bats out of hell...ALL THAT. A compromise here and there isn't going to kill us as a team. If Lynn wants to do a down, 4 on the floor as her stop on the DW, I say, you go sista!!! If it makes her happy...if it makes her enjoy agility...I'm all for it :)
Sheep herding has so many grey areas the dogs have to think, adjust, work through things, without you helping...I have never been a more complete team with my dogs than when working stock. You depend on the dogs ability to make decisions, sure they have hundreds of years of instinct bred into them for this task...but it still puts me in awe the abilities these dogs have. And I know that influences my training...I think for the better. I listen to my dogs (so sometimes my dogs have to eventually YELL IT--SLOWLY--USING SMALL WORDS--sorry Lynn), and try to figure out why. Ask why? Not what they are doing...why?
Now I am not saying I don't get irritated with a dog once in awhile...of course I do. But, the more I trial, the more I train, the more I watch videos of a run I THOUGHT the dog made a mistake on...the more I see that video, the training, the trialing show me...there's a good reason why it happened. Just at a recent trial. Klink messed up her weaves...I was a bit irritated with her over it, then I saw the video. She slipped on the Astroturf. Simple. That's it. I trip all the time...I run into things. Sorry Klink. My bad. Luckily a tennis ball is all she needs to love me again. Gotta love dogs!
Lynn did something on her DW, slipped/stepped wrong/who knows...and fell. BAD. She didn't MEAN to do that (I can guarantee that with utmost confidence in fact)...but it happened. A variable that she was not expecting happened...one of those damn grey areas...
So there, that's my answer...Short and sweet right? LOL Lynn will do what Lynn wants and is comfortable doing. If it back fires, I'm here to deal with the consequences. Me and only me. She's happy with the performance I am asking of her, and I am happy with what she is giving me.
For us, as a team, it's a Win Win.
WINNING!!!!! (ok...no Charlie Sheen comments..sorry)
****ADDED: Apparently I am from the UK, as I spell the color as "Grey"....where according to the dictionary, people in the US spell it "Gray"...craziness...I am Irish...so maybe it fits :)****