Mum and I have had a couple of PAWsome days hanging out with Isabelle and Jouni from O/E Agility Training. We were super lucky that our friend Tsuey from Game On Dogs organised for them to come down to Sydney (home for them is normally Sweden so they had to leave their gorgeous dogs with friends to come see us) and even luckier that we had a working spot in one of the seminars that they were holding here.
So of course I was a Super PAWsome dog over the 3 days we worked with them (2 days at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre and then 2 days off and then another day up at our home training ground of St Ives Showground) albeit I was getting a bit tired by the end of the day. On the other hand these Europeans had Mum running…. and I mean seriously RUNNING! The kind of Mum’s legs burning at the end of a run… hehehe. But the great thing is… she learnt heaps. So I asked Mum what the big “A-Ha” things were that she learnt and thought we would write them here in our little blog so that she didn’t forget them and I can remind her of them in the future. So here you are…. this is what Mum learnt from Isabelle and Jouni….
Teaching Me Obstacle Focus & Independence Is REALLY Important:
- We really bought the concept of ‘show & go’ to life. To get into the next position of the course Mum really needs to indicate the obstacle, support it with her upper body (usually an arm and her eyes) but be moving with her legs to the next position. We have been doing plenty of this in our online course with Stacy at CuteDogs and felt like it really paid off. We will be practising this a lot more because when it works well it makes a huge difference to a lovely smooth run. Here is some video of us…..
Don’t Be Afraid To Do A Blind Early Mum:
- Quiet often when Mum did a 1st run of a course where there was a blind (incl a really tricky double blind on the very 1st course of the seminar) mum would wait until I was over the obstacle before executing a blind. It meant the blind was too late. I was landing and mum hadn’t given me the indication (well before take-off) as to where we were going from there. So instead she has learnt… Show. I commit. She executes blind before I even take off. Reconnect (often before I have taken off still). Some video including some very cool double blinds…
Get Down To My Level:
- Through bending knees and a little bit at the waist (not too much waist otherwise you crowd me)… But way more knees Mum gets down low and shows the hand signals at my height. Because mum is usually racing to just get into the right general area she kinda thinks that physically getting down into a position hasn’t always been a priority (I think she is just trying to breath). Isabelle in particular was very big on needing to be down at dog height with hand signals… and us dogs ain’t that tall Mum when you are flapping your arms around in the air. So being able to ‘show & go’ provides the time to get int position and BEND to signal at my height (not signalling at the birds Mum). Mum has also realised how important her fitness is (see more on that below)
Look At Meeeee:
- OK if you are Australian and watched some show called Kath & Kim you might get Mum’s bad joke here… if not here is a little video for you. So what has Mum’s bad joke got to do with agility? CONNECTION…. I love that Mum trusts me, she is sweet like that, but it does worry me. Quite often Mum is so worried about trying to remember the course and stay in front of me that she forgets to check in with me. The cool thing is, because I’m PAWsome, is that I am usually in the correct position…. The downside is that because we haven’t connected I’m often a bit worried playing catch-up and therefore don’t jump properly and drop bars. D’oh. So something that we also learnt when Zsofi was out here last year was the importance of Mum reconnecting with me, especially after blinds… which we were doing a lot of…. so that I focus on my job of taking the obstacle she is indicating and stop worrying. Mum… Look at Meeeee.
How could you not want to be looking at this face???
Time To Get Fit Mum:
- Oh yeah…. Was Mum sore 🙂 REALLY sore. So we are doing a 45 sec run and three quarters of the way through Mum feels the lactic take over her legs (hehehe). Credit too her she kept going but she just physically struggled to get into the correct position. Then it is a WHOLE other matter to watch her try to get out of bed the morning after the 2 day seminar. Hehe. Mum’s hip flexors are a bit shonky and tighten up which then pulls her lower back forward and just makes her sore. All great excuses mum and she knows she needs to work on core strength to fix it plus general cardio fitness. Mum has loved these couple of days but it has really highlighted that we are a team and mum does a great job of looking after me and keeping me fit…. And she needs to do the same. Oh and then after 2 days, just as she was starting to walk normally again, we went out and had another day with the O/E Team.
Check out the funky surrounds of the Equestrian Centre. This is where the Sydney 2000 Olympics horse stuff was held.
Did I Tell You We Are A PAWsome Team:
- Going into this seminar Mum was a tad nervous. It was only the 2nd time we have had a working spot at a seminar and despite it being a noivice / excellent group there were some very experienced handlers in our group (people who had handled multiple masters level dogs who mum really admired)… So mum was a bit worried she would look uncoordinated and be left behind. Well firstly Jouni & Isabelle are fantastic instructors so everyone got great personal instruction during their time on the course. But also mum can do this stuff. In the safety of training and a seminar we were rockin some pretty cool stuff and there is no reason we couldn’t do that in a trial. It was interesting when Mum was speaking to one of the more experienced handlers there who said they had never executed a blind between jumps in a trial. With a contact or tunnel that was ok now as they had built confidence but between jumps was really a big step outside their comfort zone. So after a few days of getting in there and rockin a whole bunch of moves that we may not have done before Mum is a bit excited about being able to step outside her comfort zone with her handling at trials. We may only just be stepping up from Novice to Excellent level at trials but we have had some PAWsome coaching recently and are excited about the trials coming up.
There is lots for us to continue to work on but really really excited and most importantly we had a great time together and here is some of our fav bits from a PAWsome 3 days.