Blue ribbons don’t always come from trials. They come from moments. ~ Deb Conroy
Deb is always good for an awesome quote or two, and that was my favorite quote from the clinic last weekend. I think just about everyone in attendance had some of those moments. It was a great clinic, with a super group of dogs and handlers, and some pretty decent weather (once we got through a rainy Friday).
When I’m hosting a clinic and I give my opening schpeel on the first morning, I like to tell folks not to go into a training clinic with the mindset that they’re going to solve their problems in just a few days. Instead, I like to think of attending clinics as way to gather tools for my training toolbox. I have certain ways I approach things, and I’m fairly consistent (I think) with my training. That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to changing methods if my current one isn’t working. That’s exactly what I did a handful of years ago, just ask Quinn. Which is why I like to have as many ideas and techniques as I can. Even though keeping things simple and consistent is the key to many things in life, every dog, every day, every group of sheep, can present new issues, and it’s nice to have a bucket-load of things to try when one way isn’t bringing the desired results. Also, because I train alone a lot, it’s very easy for me to fall into bad habits, or to be unable to see the problem because there is so much to watch. Having someone like Deb point out the error of my ways, and tweak my training/handling, is invaluable to me.
And, boy! Did I need the tweaking!
If you recall, a few posts ago I mentioned how I’d been forced to take my stick away from myself. I wasn’t exhibiting responsible stick handling. Well, Deb took my arms and hands away as well. There may have been a bit too much gesticulating taking place.
Yes, it seems I have graduated to putting verbal commands on my dog. Permission granted to talk! Okay, but I better not slip into the verbal diarrhea trap, or the duct tape will come out. So we came out of the clinic with lots to work on, some new things to try, and many things for me to remember. I’ll hopefully have more detailed posts for you as I start working on those many things.
In the meantime, some images of Jig working on learning patience.