Thursday, July 30, 2009
Secretes of Russian Agility VOD
I just found these DVDs and video on demand videos at Agility Vision. I really LOVED the little video clip previewing the Russian Agility seminar, and the description sounded so intriguing. I really wanted to check it out so I decided to try the video on demand feature. It cost about $19, and you get computer access to the recorded seminar for three days as soon as you order and pay for it. You can watch it as many times as you want in that time period, you can stop it, rewind it, forward fast, what ever. My only problem with that is that it is hard for me to sit and pay attention for a long time in front of the computer, I keep seeing little things that need to be done or the kids walk in and ask me questions or the phone rings. I can not imagine how I could get through the six hour Linda M seminar, which I am dying to see but that one runs $175, and I would feel like I needed to watch that very closely, and many times to justify that price, so I really wish they would put that on a DVD.
So the presenter speaks only Russian, and Olga is there to translate, so that really is not a problem. One of the things they talked a lot about is that in the US we do not get as many distance skills on our dogs, at least that is how I took the lesson. She starts out in front of a tunnel and wants to get the dog very quickly taking the tunnel on a verbal command ONLY with no body movement. Then she starts with one jump and again wants the dog learning quickly to go over the jump with only a verbal command. I guess she said her older dog can go across a whole agility field and not take any obstacles until she comes to a tunnel if she gives the tunnel command. So then the dog is taught to go over two jumps with the handler just walking slowly toward the second jump and using a verbal command, then they progress to three jumps. Now I was wondering how that fits with a Linda M because I have spent two years teaching my dog to listen to my body language and if I am standing or just walking slowly I would totally expect my dog to not go on or to collect and come back to me. Watching her teach the three jumps though does give me some ideas on how to work with that with the Breezie and she does recommend having someone at the end to throw a toy for you unless you are very good with throwing and with unless you are very good with the timing, so you do not inadvertently reward the dog for turning back (humm, that is my particular specialty, unfortunately!). I already had that plan but I guess it was good thing that it reaffirmed my thoughts on that. I may have got the wrong idea but I kind of felt like some of the ideas were the same as handlers who do NADAC agility with the distance challenges in the higher levels.
So what was interesting is that she uses a specific command, like she uses an "around" command to let the dog know about doing a 270 for example, and she has different commands for like a 180. She does not use a lot of directionals "left" and "right" because like me....she says she has trouble telling left from right and has to think about it, I hear ya sister!!!! She does use the opposite arm to I think cue a turn of direction, but from far away. She talked a lot about being very predictable and consistent with clear hand motions and a consistent body position so that when you are far away from your dog they can be very clear about what you are wanting.
They ended up showing some serpentine, and threadles and different ways to handle those. I was surprised at how many times they let the dog figure it out (make mistakes), but a lot of the time it did not look to me like some of the dogs were figuring it out they just looked confused, and some did seem to figure it out with that approach and it might have looked better if they had more time to show them working it through but they needed to move on with more demos of the next skills. She did stress many times that you should ALWAYS make sure your dog has a really good foundation and is totally proficient with the one skill before you move on. They did say if the dog did the correct behavior twice, or did the behavior right when you walked out to practice on the first try, then it was time to move on. The foundation video was just short of 2 hours, and it said on the web site there was a masters handling video, but I did not see how you could get that, so maybe it is not ready yet??? This was also available in a DVD for $49, and I am glad that I chose the VOD feature, it was good, but probably not one that I would want to refer back to very many times.