- Need more circle work
- That is caused because you don't do proper Threadles
- And the rarely heard "good"
The title of this seminar was "Top Handlers Seminar." I felt the title should be changed for me to "Mediocre Handler Aspiring to be Seminar."
Driving to this seminar, to be perfectly honest, I was regretting my decision to work Fin. I was scared. No denying. As much as I practice, as many titles that I may have, I was still scared as to what would happen. I've been having a reoccurring theme in my runs:
- I expect her to take the line - she goes wide
- I expect her to go wide - she comes into me
- I expect her to come into me - she takes the line
- But, her contacts are great!
I shouldn't have worried. I learned a great deal at this seminar. All of it will help me be a better handler. The good news is that Fin did all the stuff at the seminar that she does to me at trials (or rather, I handled like I do at trials and we were able to duplicate our errors). Two of the highlights for me were:
- Fin and I really haven't done a good job in my foundation circle work which is causing Fin not to understand and go wide.
- I have not properly recognized threadles on courses and the misuse of this cue is causing her to come into me on sharp shoulder turns rather than taking the jump in front of her (thus not taking a proper pinwheel).
When walking a course, first thing is to find all the theoretical front crosses. Once the FC's have been identified, then decide how you want to handle it. In the first exercise, it was pretty clear to everyone where the FC was located. The handlers challenge was to execute the FC at the proper place at the proper time.
When I did the first exercise, I heard, "Late." I wanted a mulligan, a redo, a forget you saw that, I'll try it again. I had every excuse in the book. I was nervous. Fin was nervous. Fin was too excited. I had anxiety. Fin had anxiety. Derrett said, "hmmm. Did you reward your dog for her start line stay. She did that very well." I dropped my head in shame and walked to my chair.
The FC exercise was pretty straight forward. Find the theoretical FC and perform it perfectly. The FC should be performed close to the 4th jump standard (the standard closest to #5) and the 3 foot pattern should move you towards jump 5. Mistakes:
- Late FC (cause wide turns)
- FC not in the proper place (caused S curve on dog path and slowed everything down)
- Early FC (in some cases, pulled the dog off of 3, in others caused strange dog path).
The serp truly was the easier move for me as there was less for me to do.
Exercise 4 and 5 used the same course but tested two very different handling maneuvers. We all agreed that the theoretical FC was between 4 and 5. First run we put a FC there, second a RC. FC must be performed at 5 when the dog is committed to 4. Not an easy feat, but we all tried real hard and there were even a few that got there early.
The RC was a struggle because you had to go into the pocket to get the dogs path down the line in order to execute your cross behind the dog. It was much easier for dogs that drove to 5. Dogs that were unsure and slower, handlers struggled. The cross behind the dog should be at commitment to 5.