Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Analysis, Videos and Technology

My statement a few posts ago that 'small dogs are easier to train than large dogs' caused some ructions let me tell you.  It was also very apparent that most people chose to ignore the added 'but both are equally hard to perfect' part of the argument.  I am just para-phrasing by the way, too lazy to go back and get direct quotes right now.  The small vs. large argument is NOT the theme of this post by the way, but it did get the train of thought rolling though.  Oh and by the way, I was also told, that 'large dog trainers can train small dogs, but small dog trainers can not train large dogs'.  Erm, really now?  Some people just really don't WANT to learn hey?

But let's start from the beginning (of my argument anyway).  I personally believe that the ability to analyse agility is one of the biggest tools to success.  Now 'analysing agility' is a very broad term.  There is the ability to analyse the causes of your training problems and coming up with a solution.  The ability to analyse a course and handle it optimally.  The ability to analyse your GOOD rounds and GOOD training and find the places where there is still room for improvement.  Yes, having a good trainer/coach around that can tell you all these nice analytical things is nice and handy and will get you far, but it is not a full solution.  See like me, most coaches are very opinionated and their analysis will be just that... THEIR analysis.  They don't live with your dog or train him every day, come up with those 'on the spot aha moments'.

Picture Courtesy of Melissa Wilson

Now that analytical part of my agility brain is what started my whole small dog/large dog comparison to begin with.  Please note, I am not fooling myself, I KNOW that what I am comparing is ONE large dog with ONE small dog.  I know they are completely different dogs, I am not trying to amalgamate them into some 'Alett Agility Recipe Dog'.  But comparing their strengths and weaknesses helps me WORK on their weaknesses.

I did a quick 3 minute speed circle exercise again yesterday.  Chaos really has to work harder to get over his jump height, but then he has never had the best jump style (although it has improved dramatically with a lot of work).  Volt has a lovely natural jump style, but then he jumps only 106% of his height, compared to Chaos that jumps 116% of his height.  Volt's ability to find good lines still suck, lots of work to do their.  Volt and Chaos generally use the same amount of strides in between jumps (on the uphill Volt still struggles a slight bit to catch Chaos).  Volt is a drive dog, he is happy running full speed away from me.  Chaos is a drag dog, he will always be faster when I am ahead.  Oh fun, fun, fun, I have so much I can work on.  I am serious about that by the way... I am insanely happy when I have plans and things to train.

My first instinct when watching any youtube video, round, show, performance relating to agility, is to start analysing, but then that is how we learn... That is the cool thing about agility and technology.  Back when I started, agility and the internet weren't really interested in each other yet, but these days, all this amazing information is at your fingertips! I love using it.

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