You know how some things really change how you view dogs? You're just going along with your life and things are great...and then something really hits you upside the head like a brick and you are like OMG?? WTF just happened?
Yeah...that's kind of what the MEB seminar was for me. First off let me say that working with her was super mega awesome. And that she has the patience of Jobe. The weather, up until 24 hours BEFORE THE SEMINAR was gorgeous!!! 60's and sunny! YAY!
Then the rain started taunting us. So....we kind of had a mixed weekend of being outside, then inside. MEB handled that with no issues! Thank you girl!
It was a weekend of Masters/International handling...I made a point to switch between Lynn and Gator depending on their weaknesses. I'm always working on Lynn's commitment and sending...and Gator's issue (well rather MINE) is his stride. That massive thing that I have to try to collect all the time :) So, two dogs, opposite issues we work on.
MEB brought some amazing things on how to work with Gator and his stride...he's here to make me an even more proactive handler...and also to push me out of my comfort zone in regards to what I have to do to get that collection and turning. Different moves, setting lines more with shaping...etc. Gator was turning SUPER tight.
MEB said something that made a lot of sense---she had an instructor tell her about her EZ dog "you have to learn to understand her" and that is so true. Gator is a lot like EZ, big strided and can be tough to handle, but I am learning to understand him. This weekend was a HUGE leap in that direction :)
Always something isn't it?
First it was the aframe--check :)
Now it's the turns--we are working on them :)
Gator is so biddable, so athletic and such a good boy. I could see the changes instantly...and that is what it is all about.
I love that MEB is so freely sharing of information. Yes I know, we paid her to come out, but some people you can tell they just are going to share about 95% of it...she shares all she has. I like a presenter that also addresses other things that she sees in the dogs, not just the handling...and MEB does that. I like to do that as well when I am teaching. If there is an issue (say dog is stressing, etc I feel it is my duty to address it!! I just have to!)
We also had a great group of folks there...supportive, cheered each other on. That makes a great seminar. It really does. Environment that is suited for learning is important...Good Good stuff.
With Lynn I found a major hole in her training that I need to build upon, her sends to the backsides of jumps REALLY needs work. Commitment with motion isn't there, and it needs to be.
Learned some new moves....and had a fun week of teaching, sharing those moves with people.
I was sitting there watching MEB teaching and I said to myself...I realize now, that I don't care if I ever am on a World Team...or anything like that. I want to be THE BEST TEACHER I can be. I want to be able to explain this dance we do with our dogs, help that communication, help that connection. THAT is what is most important to me.
Teaching...it's what I love...and any way I can become a better teacher, I am there.
I have also learned this week...what I want in a teacher...I want someone that isn't just interested in my for that hour I pay them for. I want someone that is invested in my success. I am fully invested in my students...I WANT to know how they do at trials, I want to know if they are struggling. I am their teacher but I also really, really care about how they are doing with their dogs. It's not about just teaching a dog and handler the game. It's about all the other stuff in the equation.
If a person is a GREAT instructor, but won't hardly even claim me in any other part of life (aka at a trial if they ignore me---or brush me off) or in public...or whatever...I'm not interested.
I want that teacher that goes above and beyond...in agility, in my guitar lessons, in horse back riding lessons, whatever you pick. I need that relationship...
I'm not saying I need someone to be my best friend, but when I have a question, I want it answered. I get that people are busy...but being ignored isn't the way to go, at least not for me.
I try very hard to be a good teacher, I try very hard to make sure I have a connection with my students that is past just their hour of lessons...it's really important to me. Sometimes life gets busy, but I feel that is part of my job. And I want that in a teacher as well.
Not really sure where I was going with this...anyway :)
So the next few weeks are a bit settled...which is nice. I have two weekends in a row I am home!! :)
Then I spend two days with Jenny Damm in Chicago. An interesting situation with that. I will drive the pups down Monday...then attend the seminar Tuesday and Wed, then FLY back Wed Night...while Andy flies IN Wed night...and he attends on Thursday....and then he will drive the pups back. It works...kinda screwy, but it works :) Fingers crossed all goes OK with the flights!!!
Very excited about the seminar, I really enjoyed MEB pushing me out of my comfort zone, and I expect that from this seminar as well :) I like that, I enjoy the "how in the HELL am I going to do that??" that rush of excitement! So FUN!!!
Then a seminar in Iowa...then MAYBE Nationals (sadly we are about 80/20 that I WON'T be going---but I am trying the optimistic approach right now!)...if not nationals then a great opportunity for a wonderful job.
Now, off to hike with the husband and pups. And maybe take a few photos along the way :)