Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rosanne DeMascio Seminar

Strum and I had a fun 3 days but now I'm very tired.  Saturday we had a Running Contact session then a full day of Masters Handling on Sunday and a full day of International Handling on Monday.  Lots of running, lots of new handling stuff and an idea for moving forward with the dogwalk.  I don't have any video, was planning on asking people to shoot at least a few sequences but kept forgetting about it or remembered too close to my turn.

Lots of international flavor to the courses, even the novice/advanced folks had some back sides of jumps if I remember correctly.  It turns out it's not really a hard skill to learn and Strum and I have been getting better at it with practice.  We practiced all sorts of scenarios with back sides of jumps and I feel a lot more comfortable with them now and I have exercises for practicing the basic skills for them, especially sending through a gap.  I also did a lot more running backwards then I'm used to for handling threadles, wraps, pulling through a gap.  And the blind crosses!  I do them occasionally after tunnels, the A-frame, weave poles but pretty much never after jumps.  But wow, what a useful skill for certain scenarios and so easy and natural to learn.  Wish I'd had that skill for some of those courses at DOCNA Champs.  Will be fun to try them out at the upcoming DOCNA trial if the course calls for them.

I also learned how to use a Ketschker turn to handle a wrap.  When Marco Mouwen was here a million years ago he taught them to us and everybody was freaking out.  Nobody was terribly enthusiastic about the idea of sending their dog behind them and I never saw anybody do it at a trial.  It was back when I was running Cody and it turned out Cody was the one dog at the seminar that naturally did really well with it but aside from a 180 degree turn we didn't learn very many scenarios to use it and I never did see a use for it at a trial.  But it turns out to be a handy thing for handling certain types of wrap scenarios and Strummer picked it up fairly easily which was surprising because generally if I face him too soon it's too much collection and he'll refuse the jump he's headed for.  But he did well with it at the seminar.  Will have to practice that one a bit more before trotting it out at a trial.

Another handy little thing I learned was calling his name before a straight tunnel to alert him to a tight turn coming out.  At first I was skeptical about this because we already have a problem with very late commitment to tunnels and I was certain that calling his name would pull him off.  But surprisingly this turned out to work well for him.  I do sometimes call his name before he takes off for a jump to indicate a tight turn or convergence so it does sort of make sense that it should work and it's a consistent use of my cues.

And finally the dogwalk.  My next move for the dogwalk is the dreaded stride regulator.  I've been considering it and rejecting the idea for years now partly because I don't want to have to fade a prop but mostly because I wasn't sure where to put it.  But Strummer was doing his extend and leap move at the seminar so Rosanne was able to see where it should go and showed me where to put it.  It worked great at the seminar though, we'll see how he does out at the field and if it'll transfer to the ring.

Lots of running this weekend which was fun for me.  I've been watching some European handlers on YouTube and puzzling how it is that they run so quickly and aggressively on such technical courses that you would think would require a lot of collection but now I'm starting to understand.  I was tired by the end of each day and had to quit one exercise early both days.  We covered a lot of ground each day and I feel like I've got more than enough to work on for the next few months.  Rosanne was a great instructor, explained everything very clearly and had several different handling options for most of the handling challenges.  Was interesting to see myself as well as the others in the class able to handle such difficult stuff without a huge amount of struggle.  The handling seemed to come naturally without too much brain drain or over thinking, just going out there and doing.  Very fun.  The other attendees liked her as well, I woke up to a lot of positive feedback in my email box this morning.

And at the end of the seminar I was surprised to find out that the club was giving me vouchers for organizing the seminar, something I wasn't expecting at all and I was even more surprised at how generously they paid me.  It amounted to several whole trial entries, tournaments and all!  I was so excited about that.  I may even be able to afford to go to Regionals now if we can qualify in time since I won't have to pay for trial entries for several months.

Normal people's normal dogs are tired after a seminar with lots of running.  Strummer had a relatively quiet morning then decided a run around the yard with his watering can was in order.

What is this 'Rest Day'?

He may not need one but I do.  No agility until at least the weekend or maybe even next week.  I didn't make it to masters today either.  I wish a couple full days of agility were not so exhausting.


  1. Anonymous7:08 PM

    normal people with normal dogs don't go to seminars. of if they do, they don't go again.
    good deal with the entry vouchers!

  2. Sounds like a cool seminar. I've been following Rosanne's blog for over a year and find her interesting.

    We had been working on those Ketschker turns in class a while ago and an opportunity presented itself at the Flatirons AKC a couple weeks back - I am glad I didn't chicken out and actually did it in the competition as it worked great! Here's the video - it's about halfway through the run.

  3. Nice run with the Ketschker. That's the sort of wraps we were doing but for example in your run she would have us more to the right actually blocking a small portion of the jump bar and facing the dog before he commits. She always presents the dog with that visual so they always know what it means and she only really does it for wraps. The hard part for me was not so much the turn but getting into position in time with some of the course set-ups we had. I can see how getting in position too early for Strummer could also be a problem because facing him is a very strong collection cue for him and often he doesn't need so much. Will be fun to play around with it though.

  4. Rip treats me facing him like Strummer does to you. I can practically stop him dead in his tracks if I face him too much, so I actually didn't try this with Rip as we hadn't practiced enough for me to be comfortable with it.
    I figure with our USA courses, there won't be too many opportunities for this move, but when it happens, its a really good choice. There were a LOT of dogs whose handlers tried this turn with a rear cross and the dog ended up going offcourse over the finish jump. Others who used a front with a post turn got a very wide turn. Only a few of us tried the Ketchsker - Liz Blasio did it and took 1st, and I saw Shar do it, but not very successfully.

  5. Yeah, Rip doesn't need such a huge collection cue in a set-up like that nor does Skye, maybe if they had a lot of speed coming out of a straight tunnel or something but not in that scenario. For me it'll be handy if I'm running to get there and cueing extension then quickly need the collection. There were quite a few scenarios like that at the seminar. It's a handy move for dogs that get high and don't want to collect, I think she said she started using it for one of her dogs that didn't like to collect on a wrap. I think it does require some practice first and good timing or I could see it blowing up. I wouldn't want to overuse it either but there are situations where it'll be handy.

  6. Very cool! I haven't been to an agility seminar in ages but you've got me itching to go to one now. What a welcome surprise to get that recognition for having put all that work in to making the event happen.

  7. Ditto what Mutts said; those were my very thoughts. Never let it be said that I'm unoriginal. I actually did a blind cross in a course this weekend without having planned it--it was a panic move, as in, Boost is in th tunnel and if I don't get out of here NOW I'm dead meat. We had a seminar on blind crosses years ago, then they went out of fashion with the derrett system, so it would be interesting to again see the variations that people do "outside the [derrett] box".

  8. Oh, plus my other thought was--LOVE that last photo!