The Devil is in the Details

Maplewood Dog

I’ve yet to work with a new agility student who didn’t start off thinking agility was about dogs doing obstacles.  Little secret: it’s not.  A few days ago I started with a great new student who has a really fun dog, who started off our first session with, “I went to a trial recently to watch, it looked too simple, too easy for my dog.”  I smiled.  And we began.

A slight change of foot direction, a flick or drop or raising of the arm, a turn of the head, shoulders went that way, and whoops, where’d the dog go?  Why’d she do that?  The jump was right there!  Quickly beginners get an inkling, wow this is more challenging than it looks!  Not just point and shoot.  There is finesse, communication, dance, a whole new language to learn.  And so much fun!

In agility, the devil is in the details.  The obstacles are generally the easiest part to teach.  What really makes agility fun and addictive is the nuances of handling and path.  Agility is really about what happens between the obstacles.  Amazing how much can occur in a scant 20′.

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Zora lying in front of a jump in the grass with her new V-NATCH 2 and All Around NATCH 2 rosettes from the trial last weekend

 

0 thoughts on “The Devil is in the Details

  1. Very interesting! “the nuances of handling and path”. This is very similar to dressage. Just a tiny movement of a finger or an ankle can cause the horse to interpret what is wanted differently. Thanks for this post I really enjoyed it.

    1. Yes, very similar! I was reviewing a couple of my video taped runs from last weekend’s trial and the reasons for some wide turns were all in a slight matter of fraction of second shoulder turn being late and a foot being at a slightly wrong angle. Such tiny things can make big differences! That’s really cool it’s similar in dressage

  2. I am so impressed with all that goes into communicating at this level with one’s dog. And look at Zora! Is she cute or what?

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