Just Saying







Everyone at some point in their training and trialing has made the comment that they wish their dog had a "BETTER HANDLER"! I have been known to utter those words myself, usually just having caused a fatal error on a course that I should have been able to run flawlessly.


I watch videos in awe of those superstars who are able to be there on a course to give their dog perfect information. I watch with envy when I see those same people execute difficult handling maneuvers with skill and aplomb. 


It is true that every dog would look better and be more successful if only they had the best information on course that could be obtained while running at top speed. We ALL can appreciate that fact. But the deeper story is that this is a team sport. My most immediate goal when I trial is to give my dog the best information possible as to where the course goes and how I want it negotiated. I derive a great deal of pleasure in solving difficult course problems and finally training and executing the skills necessary to master any given set of course problems.


Having acknowledged that, my most primary satisfaction is taking chances and daring to work out on the edge of control while making my way around a difficult course in the least amount of time possible. And while I could "play it safe" and try to always qualify no matter what the cost, I'm not very happy with myself when I do that.


So I bring tough sequences home and deconstruct them. Sometimes success on that sequence requires that I put more emphasis on training a specific skill for my dog. Perhaps a basic skill has not been properly maintained, or sometimes a particularly technical sequence demands I teach my dog an entirely new skill. These all fall under the heading of "training". 


A lot of times I just need to execute a maneuver with more confidence and authority. There is still lots of training time spent, but now the category becomes "handling". I have to be careful to keep my dog's motivation and success high while I work out how to accomplish the handling. This can take just as much, if not more, training time than teaching and refining a new training skill for the dog.


I do not dwell on the fact that someone with more physical prowess might handle my dog better than I. That is not why I'm into this sport. I love that whatever we accomplish requires training and effort on both our parts, me and my dog. And even the worst day trialing is better and more fun that anything else that I do. When I am running "on the edge" and everything is working in our teamwork, there is no better feeling in the whole world.


I wish nothing less for you and your dog. Happy Training!