Monday, March 7, 2011
Daisy Peel in California!
I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Daisy Peel Seminar this last weekend.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her style of teaching. I thought she was great and really included working teams and auditors alike. She talked about the basic six cues that all dogs pretty naturally read-
Then we had some short exercises where you could isolate the cues and see how they affected what your dog understood. A handler/dog team would run a particular sequence and because it was a small sequence and as observers we could position ourselves nice and close where it was very easy to see how things like a handler continuing to give lots of forward cues but yelling at the dog to turn just did not work.
Daisy had us do something that I found very helpful-when we would walk the sequence that was coming up....we were supposed to make seven columns on our notes. In the first column we would put the obstacle number where there was a critical handling spot. Then the next six columns were each labeled with one of the handling cues -motion, shoulders, location, arms/hands, verbal, and eye contact. For each place that needed handling you were supposed to go through and say at obstacle three you were supposed to put what your motion would be doing, what your location would be, etc....across all the columns. Daisy would read the plan before the handler ran to see if they were able to follow their plan. What Daisy said about that was you should learn to plan what you were going to do at certain points and then practice it that way, maybe you will find out you were wrong about what was needed but do it that way to see. I could see over time that would lead to a better awareness of the cues and how you were using them.
Another thing I found very interesting was that Daisy said was that we should all sit down and write our own handling system. Think about what you need for the courses you run, look at other handling systems and see what meets your needs, but develop a systematic approach to handling so you do not confuse your dog and ask for conflicting things. She also pointed out that you need to accept the downsides of your handling system, say for instance if you decide to train your dog to assume every set of two jumps side by side is going to be a 180, if you have a lot of 180's in the venue you trial in that might be very handy....but know if you do see a threadle you are going to have to work REALLY hard to get that. Being aware of your handling system helps you be consistent which makes you more fun to play with.
We ended up running a short sequence where she would keep asking everyone to think of other ways to run it. Being able to run sequences in a lot of different ways lets you practice and have a lot more skills to pull from.
One of the most profound things Daisy said right before we left that running agility is like driving a car...when you watch someone driving a car it looks like their hands never move and looks very smooth, but when you actually drive you are constantly moving your wheel and adjusting, correcting and making slight movements. She said all agility is like that too, it will always feel sloppy and like you are just hanging on. She said if you are doing it right you should never be just standing around and waiting, hummm. I found that thought very reassuring.
I found the seminar very useful with a lot of ideas about how I can practice more effectively, so that was GREAT! I really liked that the skills she talked about were presented in a way that I do think I could plug that understanding into a lot of more difficult courses, which was refreshing. I would DEFINITELY attend another Daisy Peel seminar in the future!