Thursday, August 02, 2012
Who's the teacher?
Wrapped up another great session with Webb Anderson. It was an interesting set up - he coached through 2 days of a trial at Spot On Agility then did workshops the following day that worked on courses from the trial. I missed having a lesson with him but otherwise felt this was a very unique opportunity. Sally ran like a dream. She didn't stick her contacts solidly (especially the aframe) but she did get to the yellow every time - given the last time she saw contacts was at least 6 weeks ago I was OK with it. I probably shouldn't have been OK with it - lots of people would have been storming off the field with their dogs - but I realized that Sally was doing what she was capable of doing in that moment. She teaches me so much. Punishing her for my education is not going to help either of us.
To learn from others you really have to listen. Watching Webb work with people he has worked with multiple times before drove that home to me too. I'm sure there were moments he wondered why he hadn't just sent up a voice recorded message for us. Running this dog? Play this section of tape. That dog? Use this piece. At one point in the workshop the only feedback he offered was "good" for a not particularly good run. I didn't ask him why but I'm quite confident the response would be "The run was better than some and that's all the person would have heard anyhow".
Being a good student is hard work. I am not a great student and the learning part of the weekend exhausted me.
I'm fortunate though - both Sally and Webb are excellent teachers. They were clear and concrete and kept things simple enough for me to follow. One big take away for me is that just because a dog has solid distance skills doesn't mean you should always use them. Driving your dog around a course can really increase speed and motivation. My old "Trust Yor Dawg" may have to update to "Work With Yor Dawg".
I hadn't played at sanctioned AAC (except for the half day in May) since April 2011 (Regionals and Nationals last summer - but they are different!). It was great to be at a two day trial. The wicked awesome blow my mind bit of the weekend for me was TWO, count em, TWO standard Qs. Webb told me to enter standard so I did with absolutely no expectation. We did three classes .. and Sally popped off the table in her third class (her only error). She was a tiny bit overtime in one steeplechase (which I don't really get but thems the breaks), and had an off course in the other. She happily earned advanced Qs in jumpers and gamblers. So for folks who measure success by Qs we had a good weekend that way too.
The venue was amazing. I get really absorbed by trial sites. Spot On is my new favourite. The views, the corn, the water tanks, the spread out yet handy setup, the pizza, the accommodating trial host, the beautiful ribbons, the field to walk around, the less doggy place provided for Wyn under the shade of the trees, the draw for great prizes... sweet sweet place.