Sunday, February 11, 2007

This Is The Modern World

Not too many posts lately, as it was I barely made it through the last two weeks by the skin of my teeth. I'd like to retire early so I have more time for all the fun stuff. I'd also like world peace and a pony while we're at it.

I didn't go to the NADAC trial on Saturday. It snowed on Weds. & Thurs. then an arctic cold front and high winds prevented much meltage. The winds were still raging Sat. morning and I didn't feel like risking the drive which is just under 2 hours in good weather, esp. since it was only for one day. I'd have had to go through areas that are notorious for bad conditions (white outs, rollovers, etc.) in windy weather and I wasn't up for it. Also didn't want to get stranded and miss the Julie Daniel's seminar on Sunday.

The road I needed to take to get to Golden on Sunday was still shut due to high winds/whiteout conditions so I had to leave extra early and take the long way round. What a pain, will this stupid weather never end?

I'm not exactly a technophobe but I'm slow to embrace most new forms of technology. I finally got a cell phone 9 months ago and only because I was travelling a lot by myself to agility trials. Jonny and I have the one cell phone between us and neither of us knows where it is 90% of the time. And nobody is ever going to convince me that CD's sound as good as vinyl. My first CD player cost around $90 and the DVD player was cheaper than that and I only bought them because the record stores and video rental places forced my hand.

However I love my video camera (but I don't want to marry it) for analysing my agility runs. One of these days I'll remember to take it to the pool so I can pick apart my strokes. So I thought it would be interesting to attend this Julie Daniels seminar that was using video and Dartfish software. The format of the seminar was such that we did a run of 6-7 obstacles then watched the video. After everyone had a turn and got some feedback from Julie we ran the same sequence again taking into account her suggestions and watched the video. Then we got to see our 2 sequences side by side in a split screen as well as overlayed on top of each other so we could compare. Now I think this was an interesting idea for a seminar and it was helpful to see video right after the run but the analysis of the videos dragged on and on and on. It took 2 hours to get through the first round of runs. The other problem, and this was my fault, was that this was an intermediate seminar since the advanced one had filled and I think it was a little too easy for us. Our runs went well so there wasn't much to analyze. In fact Cody was being freakishly good, paying complete attention to me and behaving the exact opposite that he does in trials. Where is this dog when we go in the ocmpetition ring??!! We learned a few things about setting lines which is a weak point for me so that part was good. Also got some tips on handling post turns which are another big weak point. I need to remember to shake my finger to get Cody's attention long before the turn happens. I'll post the videos next week once I get them and get a chance to upload.

The other reason I wanted to attend this seminar is that Julie wrote the book on jumping and agility and she had lots of success running a very long strided dog who often gets compared to Lola. I really wanted to take Lola to the seminar so I could get some insights into handling a big jumping dog but unfortunately she's still healing. Cody jumps really big too, often bigger and wider than Lola but for some reason he wasn't doing it at the seminar and in fact Julie was encouraging me to get him extending more in one of the exercises. Nonetheless it was interesting to have an expert look at his jumping style. She confirmed that he jumps well which amazes me since I never taught him anything. He's one of those naturally gifted jumpers and lucky for him since I had no idea what I was doing when we started out. Julie gave us some one jump exercises to work on to teach collection that are similar to exercises she's published in articles in Clean Run. I've read these articles but I was still doing them wrong so it was good to be able to learn how to finally do them right. Trying to learn something as technical as agility from a magazine is incredibly frustrating sometimes. I do so much better if someone can show me hands on what to do.

Overall Julie was very helpful. I liked that she didn't have an attitude and tried to keep things motivating for the dogs. One person did a blind cross for one of the exercises and rather than go into a long winded lecture about blind crosses being bad she gave the girl suggestions for making the blind cross better. She was fun to work with and I'd do another seminar with her but not with the video analysis. A private lesson would have been more useful, I prefer those to seminars anyway but that wasn't an option this time around. Now if only the agility field would melt so I could get out there and practice.


  1. I've always found that I also do much better if someone is there in person to explain to me how I've completely misconstrued what their written instructions were conveying (often because of just generally imperfect body awareness and/or mind-body communication, but also often because there are subtleties and nuances and "what ifs" and such that just can't all be addressed in an article). Sounds like it was worth your time anyway.

    Your weather reports makes me not so mindful of the mud in my yard after a bit of rain. :-)

    -ellen (taj mutthall)

  2. Yeah, I'm terrible at learning things from articles. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of feasible options for regular lessons. I take them when I can get them but they don't always teach the things I have problems with so I have to wing it.

    My yard is half mud/half snow so I have the best of both worlds.