“The Internationalization of Agility” is the hot topic.
I haven’t written a blog post for a while but this topic is near and dear to my heart so I thought I’d throw in my three cents.
I have read many other bloggers chime in either for or against what is now being called “internationalization.”
Those who want status quo (not really happy about the new international challenges) claim that it is demotivating to their dogs to have to do tight wraps and that they are too old and fat to do these courses. So, before I get into my philosophy of agility and my thoughts on international courses, I’d like to address these two main points.
- Tight turns are not demotivating to a dog if they are taught in a fun way and as a trick. I don’t see how wrapping an upright or going to the back side of a jump can be seen as “demotivating” in any way. It’s just a trained behavior and if it is taught as a fun and rewarding experience, dogs will love it.
- There is nothing I hate more in agility than straight lines. That is what requires youth and athleticism. Tight turns are my friend since I don’t have great knees. Please give me a technical course any day over a course with straight lines. And to add to this “I’m too old excuse” ….
IT’S NOT ABOUT AGE. IT’S ABOUT ATTITUDE!!!
I have a 70-year-old student with a Maltese in one of my tricks classes. This lady goes from my trick dog class to her belly dancing class. Yes, she is 70 and goes to belly dancing class. Now she wants to combine her two favorite things (trick training her dog and belly dancing) so we are working on a dance routine that she can do with her dog. She is going to perform a belly dancing with her dog routine for the local senior center. She rocks!
Now back to the general topic…. Although I love international courses and training, I am really hesitant for this type of training to take place before other more basic training occurs. I’ve hosted many agility competitors from Europe and all of them have stressed the need for basics. They don’t teach blinds, Ketschkers or any other “fancy” moves until their students are accomplished at the basic turns first. So, even though the new moves are fun they should not be the “go to” every time you are on course.
I am finding it quite comical to see everyone and their mother do Ketschkers and blinds all over the course, even where they are not the best handling move. It seems Americans are kind of a strange lot. Even in agility, we do what is trendy and, boy do we do it with gusto!
My training philosophy – Always be a student. It’s never too late to learn and you have never learned enough. If you are stuck with one “system” and refuse to learn anything new, that is when you are truly too old and fat.
To see what other bloggers have to say on the subject, check out:
To get a DVD with International Handling Skills, check out: