Thursday, February 20, 2014

When You Have Nothing Else...

Still absorbing from the One Mind seminar...and it's amazing all the things I picked up (and probably more amazing all the things I missed!)
I don't get to be a student very often...and I rarely have anyone watching me train my dogs. Just the nature of where I live. Out in the boondocks.
So it really was such a wonderful thing to be a student...and I could sit here and tell you that I TOTALLY knew it all, and TOTALLY nailed it, but I didn't. I had my share of issues (luckily for me so did everyone, even the groups that had worked with them was somewhat pleasing to see everyone struggling to some degree--misery loves company right???)
The format was great, learn techniques, then apply them in very challenging courses :)
Which seems easy enough right? I can do challenging dogs are very good dogs, they run clean a lot and fast at that!!!
I like me some verbals...let me rephrase that. I LOVE me some verbals...
No verbals allowed except dogs name...
I think I almost peed myself...WHAAA??? NO VERBALS??? HOW WILL I COMMUNICATE??

Why? Because my body wasn't always in tune with the verbals...I was using the verbals to get the behavior (which my dogs are obviously damn good at) but my body needed to match up...and it wasn't.
This really threw me for a loop...I use a lot of verbals--we have gamblers and my dogs all are good gamble dogs...I love left, right, out, with me, and of course my DW verbals...kind of caused some mild anxiety on my part. I will totally admit that.  I am not saying I am running around courses like ST saying LEFT LEFT LEFT, RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT etc...but I do like and I have trained my verbals well. To the point that when Jaakko said LEFT LEFT LEFT to Lynn and I was doing a rear cross where she should have turned RIGHT...she turned left. Yes...I train them THAT well. Good girl. Except...HELLO LYNN?? Like WHEN HAVE YOU EVER been ran by a man? And a man with a Finnish accent? Seriously...we need to talk :)
Go Lynn---you love verbals too. We are a match made in heaven :)
Did I mention I loved verbals? Because if I didn't...I'd like to mention that I really love my verbal commands. As in, we are married and have children and a huge house in the burbs type love.
So my first love I can't use...I felt as if someone had chopped off my arm...I basically handled silently the entire time...because I know if I didn't this long line of verbals would erupt from my mouth...yes folks...I was silent. Mark it down. First time ever in the history of life.
Speaking of arms...yeah. Someone really does need to chop them both off...they get in the way of the actual BODY LANGUAGE I NEED TO SHOW. Plus the new terms, for stuff...some I knew already, some I didn't...I was alone in the world of silence...
So I had just my body...and that was just not a happy place for Loretta.
It was new...and foreign...and for me, tough. stuff happened.
Lynn read everything wonderfully--her skill set is really good. Yay me!
I finally, by the beginning of day two felt like there was a chance I could remove my head from my ass and figure out which hand to use and not keep thinking in terms of verbals and obstacles, but rather lines and what my chest needed to be doing.
Any idea how hard it is, if you have been running a very specific way for years and suddenly...someone asks you to use different arms?'s not easy. There were others struggling with the very same at first I thought I was SUPER DUPER SPECIAL...but there were others just like me :) We could form a support group, I like to use my off arm and look at the jumps (insert f bomb HERE).
So when you have nothing have only your body. Which is why this handling works...Janita's dog was deaf...she didn't have verbals. She had her body. That was IT.
By day two I was no longer looking at jumps (ok for the most part) was getting smoother, life was good, it was making sense and Lynn was REALLY responding to it. She likey :)
I might have screamed explicatives several times during the two days...but so were others, some so loud I could hear them in the other ring...It was MAGICAL :)
Finally clicking on the second day...
I was running, I was connecting, I was getting the hell out of there. It was working. I was using the correct chest was in the right direction...and it was just damn cool.
I even accepted a hug...cause I needed it! LOL Proof below!
I got home...after the initial shock to my system of the cold and snow...and the stages of grief I had to go through to get back to realizing this was my life again...I have been working things. Small pieces. Making sure my footwork is right, making sure my arms are not even in the equation right now...cause they have a mind of their own and they are staging a revolt against this new stuff.
And it is working :) I am already getting comfortable...
I worked on it with Gator---lovely, he got it and turned even tighter...
I worked on it with Klink--same thing.
I also worked on it with Even--she only knows to take a jump...she nailed it.
It makes sense...natural, they get it.
I'm getting it. Agility is super fun again...agility is challenging...I am learning...
Gosh this stuff is fun!!!

PS--I will not be abandoning my verbals...just as an added note. I just will be really paying attention to my verbals and if my body matches them. I am not using any right I can really focus on what I am telling my dogs.



Steffi said...

Oh, wow - that sounds like an amazing experience! Definitely makes me want to audit one of their seminars. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

Loretta Mueller said...

You are welcome Steffi! It really was a blast!

Susan Mann said...

So funny about the verbals- I'm only just now starting to add them back in after deciding not to use them with Arie until my handling was better! With Brodie, I did a ton of verbals, would stand in the middle of a circle of obstacles, close my eyes, and tell him which one to do, or send him to do an Aframe across the ring on a verbal while I sat outside the ring, etc. When I started training Arie, I decided not to use verbals (much) to help me clean up my handling, and I think I'm finally getting to the point where my body language is more consistent and can be relied upon. But verbals definitely help! And its amazing how readily Arie responds to them in the context of agility, when we rarely use them there. She knew right and left outside of agility, first time I used a directional on a course she completely nailed it!

Susan Mann said...

And thanks for your blog, sorry I missed that seminar!

Kathy said...

Interesting. In herding I have struggled with the opposite, using too much body language and needing to knock it off so that my dog will learn the verbals and whistles. Of course they are expected to work out and away from me with their backs to me.