It's funny...teaching people, traveling to seminars away from home---I get the same things. I can't
Not in the sense "I can't handle that way" or "I can't do that because it's wrong"...it's more of "I can't do this because my dog does this."
It makes me flashback to Klink...
When Klink was young, I used to handle her all sorts of interesting ways...she knocked bars. Klink had a lot more interest in the GO GO rather than keeping bars up. I handled to keep bars up. Bars came down...I was frustrated.
Then...a handler said---stop worrying, train your dog and start HANDLING your dog.
Instead of worrying about angles of jumps (she will knock THIS ONE)...I put those in courses at home, on purpose...I taught her to wrap jumps, I taught her to slice jumps, to take jumps from a sit, funky angles, crazy things...I raced her, I trained it...
And suddenly...the bars got less and less on course.
I became more consistent, Klink followed with understanding and my handling was now PROactive rather than REactive.
If our dogs have a weakness (aka bars, WP entries etc) we need to TRAIN them. We like to do the things we are good at...YAY! Click/treat for us!! And we tend to try to handle around the bad things. Why not just train it? Get that weakness as a strength!
I have a student that has a LOVELY Beardie---that she could NOT race over a set of jump lines. But she needed to be able to get ahead of him on things. I said "race him at home" many times...she avoided it because he had a tough time with it. But...here recently she realized that she needed that skill--it was VITAL to her handling. So she has been working on it. He got better and better and she now races that dog, bars stay up and SHE gets where she needs to be. Training...it's important :) And WHAT you train is just as important...
If you're dog pops weave poles---train it.
If your dog doesn't collect--train it.
If your dog is distracted by other dogs--train it.
Train it so much, proof it so much, your dog will NEVER encounter something novel to make this happen again...
Dogs want to do the right thing, but just like us, they have things they are not nearly as talented in. Klink is not the worlds greatest jumper. I trained it, and worked hard and she rarely knocks a bar now...unless I do something weird...
She's still working on getting me trained too ;-)
This weekend---USDAA in Chicago. I will be testing my dogs skills...because isn't that what it's about? Seeing where your training is and what the gaps are?