Sunday, April 02, 2017

One Mind Dogs Seminar

Fun at the One Mind Dogs Seminar this past Thursday.  Lots of this kinda action going on.

Full Disclosure - One Mind Dogs provided me with the opportunity for a free auditing spot so I didn't pay to attend.  However this is not a commercial blog and everything I write about is my opinion, not an attempt to promote anything.  However I know the internets has rules about disclosing this sort of thing so there you go.

For those unfamiliar with One Mind Dogs it's a motion/body language based method of handling with lots of techniques for handling those technical, international style courses.  Because it largely uses motion and body language it fits in nicely with the type of stuff I learned from Linda Mecklenburg's 'system' and used with Strummer.  In fact I see that Mary Ellen Barry, from whom I learned a LOT about Linda's system at seminars, is now a One Mind 'official' coach.  However the One Mind methodology has many different handling techniques and a different flavor to it.  My training partner and I have been playing around with the various handling techniques for years now and I've been to a couple few seminars put on by people using the basic methodology but this is the first time I ever attended an official One Mind Dogs seminar with instructors from Finland.

The seminar was all handling on jumps and tunnels, no contacts or weaves, and there were two rings - masters level and advanced or maybe beginner.  The courses looked complicated for a true novice dog so I'm guessing it was more advanced level.  The 2 instructors - Tuulia and Timo - switched rings mid-day so everybody got to experience both instructors.  And this caused me my first case of FOMO (fear of missing out) in a very long time.  Do I audit only the masters or only the advanced sessions and experience both instructors or do I pick an instructor and audit both levels?  On the one hand a course in the basics would be great, on the other hand I love a hard challenging course and it's good to see where I'm headed with all this.  Initially I thought I'd bounce back and forth between the 2 rings but when I started walking the masters course I realized I would not be able to walk both courses and concentrate on both rings.  That masters course was complicated, 35 obstacles, though I think most people only went up to 28.  Some of the jumps and a tunnel were repeated as many as 5 times so it was a good memory test.  The course map had a list of handling moves and where to perform them.  I wanted to walk the course and think about what handling move I would use and then walk again looking at the suggested handling and it was all so complicated and such a long course that I decided to focus only on Tuulia's masters ring for the morning session and go over to Timo's ring for afternoon masters.  This turned out to be a good strategy because the handling moves covered weren't all that different between the levels and I was glad to experience both instructors and see the more complicated courses.

After we walked the course Tuulia went through it with us and there was a lot of instruction and discussion.  Then we walked through again on our own before the folks with working spots started running. I think there was as much as 2 hours of walking and instruction before folks started running dogs so lots of information for me even though I was only auditing. 

Everybody had one turn and worked through the whole course rather than breaking it up into small pieces over several turns.  It's an interesting approach, saves time on jump height changes and you only have to warm up and cool down your dog once plus the mental challenge of having to remember and handle the big long course all at once.

I listened to the instruction on some runs and I took photographs and video for others which is also an interesting way to learn stuff.  And FYI I had permission from the participants to take and post all the videos and photos shown on the blog.

The course had a lot of False Turns or RFP's (Reverse Flow Pivots) as we called them back in the day.  Linda M's system had done away with them in general and they fell out of fashion in general anyway as they were seen as 'lying to your dog'.  I remember using them successfully with Cody but maybe Lola found them a bit demotivating.  Maybe.  I might be mis-remembering that, it's been so long.  I didn't use them at all with Strummer but I never was able to get predictable results with the Come to Hand cue that I believe was supposed to take the place of RFP's.  Getting him to come into me was a lifelong struggle and I wonder now if an occasional RFP might have done the trick.  I'll probably bring them back for my current dogs, we'll see.  One Mind Dogs brings back several handling moves and concepts that had fallen out of fashion, will be interesting to see them coming back into use.  To be fair, One Mind Dogs puts a different flavor to these moves from the way I originally learned them but the backbone is the same.

The afternoon session with Timo had an equally challenging course, again passing through the same jumps and tunnels as many as 5 times making for a good memory challenge.  Again there was lots of instruction and some general handling tips before people started running dogs.  Lots of people, including myself, running for our notebooks to take notes.  It was funny, I was listening to the feedback and instruction on the first few runs but nobody who was running a dog was listening and those folks kept making the same mistake in the same place, Timo had to repeat himself every time.  It was hard to hear from the seats outside the ring, you had to go right up to where the action was to hear and I think people were tired by that point.  I know my sore ankle was acting up and it had a lot of words for me when I got home.  But this was a rare opportunity to learn from some of the best so it was worth a bit of discomfort.

This course had many different techniques.  I can't help but wonder how it would have gone for me if I had had a dog to run.  The seminar did allow auditors to run their dogs on the courses during the lunch break so if I'd brought a dog with me I could have given it a go but of course I have no dogs at this level at the moment.  It's also funny walking a course and not having a dog in mind or having Strummer in mind and having the realization of 'oh yeah'.  Still it's good to keep up my knowledge even if I don't have a way to practice it at the moment.  And it's good to see where I'm headed so I have an idea of foundation work to focus on.

Here's a video montage.  Was going to have a bunch of short clips of handling moves but Grete's run at the end of the video was such a thing of beauty that I couldn't bear to edit it.

All in all it was a great day and a great experience.  And a big thanks to One Mind Dogs for allowing me to experience it.

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