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Monday, January 21, 2008

Agility Outreach Seminar Weekend

Maggie and I spent the weekend at an agility seminar so today I am very tired and I am still trying to wrap my thoughts around everything that I learned and what I need to work on.  My "need to work on" list seems never-ending.  Everything from basic handling, to teaching contacts, to jump work and teeter games. Yikes!!!! Where do I start.  Maggie has come such a far way in agility in the past year, and I have been so happy with that, but this seminar made me realize that we still have a long way to go.  For Maggie, it seems that the most important thing I need to work on with her is "rear-end work".  She does have some structural issues (bowed back legs), that cause her jumping to be less effortless than it should be, so I need to work on building up strength in her rear.  I also need to decide what my criteria for her contact behaviour is.  I have never really done a "2 on 2 off" with her; she is usually very careful on the contacts and does not often miss a contact (although it has happened).  I will need to decide if I want to re-train a strict "2 on 2 off" or continue with the running contact, even though I have been doing that wrong too.  For myself - I have a lot of handling issues.  We did a handling exercise, and I pretty much did everything wrong that there was to do wrong.  I did learn that Maggie can read a serpentine cue, even though I did not mean to cue it (I was really just trying to layer a jump-just one of many of my errors- which is a big no no).  Yesterday, after the seminar was over, I was pretty discouraged thinking about all the negative feedback on my comment sheet.  Today I realize that I learned a lot and I am excited to get out and start practicing some of the things that I have to work on.  There is really only one thing that still bothers me a bit.  The seminar instructor said "Bernese are really good at pulling carts, but were not bred to be jumpers" . . . . Hmmmm.


  1. hey Kim, we all feel the same way!!

    as far as you comment about berners pulling carts, flat-coats were meant to hunt, terriers were meant to go underground to flush vermin, and border collies were meant to herd sheep.

    i'm not sure that there is a breed in history that was bred as soley as an agility dog, i haven't found one in breed standards yet anyway.

    i think ALL breeds have something unique to offer, and you love the breed you have, and if that has limitations or different challenges depending on the sport you are in, and you can succeed and be happy with what you have then so be it - I know I am! I thought it was great to see all of the breeds there this weekend, as as popular as Border Collies are for agility, Gyp was the only one there in the session!!! So that says something about the diversity of breeds that agility CAN and SHOULD have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Berners rule. And you do a great job with your dogs, so there.

  2. Thanks Sarah, I know I shouldn't let little comments like that bother me, but sometimes they do. Maggie loves agility and so do I, so that is all that should really matter, right?

  3. you and maggie are a great team and you have both come a long way since beginner classes- we all need improvement and we all have l-o-n-g lists of things we need to work on now.
    don't be discouraged- maggie has better contacts than some dogs there and she has a much better handler than others aswell. ;o)

  4. Thanks! We sure wouldn't have came so far, if it wasn't for great teachers. You and Sarah are awesome! Always encouraging us and pushing us to do our best. Thanks!!!!

  5. Sure large dogs are not encouraged to do too much jumping & all but that does not mean that ALL large breeds are not meant to do Agility. Sure they can, why not? I'm a large breed & I do Agility. N problem! I'm not a soooper fast runner like those Border Collies & I'm not as agile as other dogs too. I'm clumsy, let's admit it but I still can do it nicely. So, don't feel discouraged when other people give you this kind of comments. My trainer last time told my mommy who is my handler that I can never go far in Obedience. That really upset my mommy & she felt really discouraged about continuing training me. But then, she did not give up becoz she knew there are other ways to make me perform OB better. I was in Pre-Novice at that time & the reason why my trainer said that was becoz I wasn't enjoying myself plus, I was lagging alot. But look at me today, I'm in Intermediate already & I can do other sports too. When my mommy told my trainer that I scored very high for my Novice OB exam & was ranked 1st, my trainer's face changed & she just kept quite & nodded her head. You see, just keep going on no matter what other people comment about you or your dogs. Show them that your Maggie can do it even though she's bow-legged! Don't allow them to make you look & feel bad...

    Love licks,
    Solid Gold Dancer

  6. pushing you for sure....encouraging, I dunno ;o)

    can't wait to see Bosley on some full size equipment...he's going to be just as fun as Maggie I think!