Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Risk, Pink and Evolution

Soon, oh hopefully very soon, the new PINK laptop will arrive.  Trust me, I had NO choice in the colour, good price, good specs and NEEDING a laptop meant that I actually don't even care that is pink.  The new pink laptop, already nicknamed Pinkie and the Brain by the hubby (I prefer that he is implicating ME as the brain in that equation, but somehow I think I might be wrong), means VIDEO EDITING.  I have four and a half million videos to catch up with for my online students... and the blog of course.  I will be honest, I have become a bit of a spoilt brat to a certain extent.  Before I met The Nerd (think that will be the hubby's new blog nickname), I had a pc ja, but it was out of date and quite useless and I couldn't care actually.  If you don't know what you are missing out on right?  Internet connection?  If I could check my mail once a week I was happy.  He introduced me to the full extent of technology.  I am sure he wouldn't have done it if had realised exactly how much agility was on the internet.  It is not all spoilt brat though, honestly the blogs, videos, websites, e-books and ten million other agility tools on the internet has really helped me improved.  It has enabled me to start on-line training courses.  I love how much internet agility has evolved.  Well I love how much agility in general always evolves.

Just a shame some get left behind with this evolution.  The stragglers that just keep on living in the cave, because they can.  I was 'internet agility trolling' tonight.  It is kind of like on-line dating, except I don't look at hot topless pictures of who dudes claim they are.  Haha, just joking there, me and The Nerd met on a dating site, so it would be REALLY hypocritical of me if I judged.  Anyhow, back to agility trolling.  Every once in a while me and Google hook up for an evening to find some new websites/blogs/other random interesting s%$^ relating to agility.  Sometimes I find interesting/amusing/good/life-changing information, other times I just have to shake my head and laugh.  It is kind of like watching a movie where some nerdy, but cute hacker, with designer horn-rimmed glasses sit in front of an impressive flashy and very expensive computer monitor, types in 'UPLOAD VIRUS' and proceeds to cause a continental black-out.  That is the bane of The Nerd's world.  I feel the same about agility.  Sometimes it is like a B-grade, low budget movie, not only does it look stupid, but it really is stupid.  Other times it is a box-office hit, where some  famous director invested millions into a scene that looks impressive, but really is just bulls@#$%.

I am not (necessarily) judging these people, unfortunately in a world where there is no real international recognition body for training, people get duped easily.  And not everyone is as fortunate as me to have good internet access.  Or common sense.  Wait, this is coming across wrong, I am NOT sitting on a high horse (although training horses gave me a different perspective on dog training, completely different subject), I am not pointing fingers at any bad training or stupid ideas (although let's face it, there are some pretty silly ones out there).  Let's get to my actual point.  I have been in agility since 1997 and it is phenomenal how the sport has grown.  Yet there are still people that are stuck in the 90's (wearing 80's fashion by the way) with their training methods.  NOT because they don't have access to the information, but because they used to have success and work on the equation of past success (by past standards) equals good training (by past standards), therefor current success (by current standards) MUST equal good training (by past standards).  In the last month I have 'come across' four handlers, that publicly admit they want to be competitive, but their poles are about 1 second off the pace.  Why?  Well they still use the whole 'step into your dog, step out of your dog' back and forth training method.  Does it work to teach your dog to weave?  Yes, it does, my first dogs were taught like that, so I know it works.  But are there (a million)  more effective ways that have been developed by very intelligent and knowledgeable people?  Yeah pretty much.  And these methods are widely known to the people I am referring to.

That is one stupid little example, but judging by the improvement of dogs at every single major international competition on an annual basis, I think we all need to realise that there is NO perfect in the near future.  Innovative, creative and dedicated agility training leads to more spectacular competition every day.  Every day we have to try and grow in our training.  Especially when it comes to our pups.  I actually had a long conversation with a student recently.  She is taking one of my on-line courses and was asking if I would be training Volt exactly the same as I trained Spaz five years ago.  She was taken aback when I said that I often adapt to/add to my training program and therefor HER training program.  My fundamental principles in training are solid and set in stone (for now), but I think every trainer should strive to adding that 'little bit more towards perfection' every day.  I am not talk about change, just evolution.  Hopefully if you have common sense  you will know what I mean by that confusing statement???

Okay I tried to think of a nice flowing 'switch over' to the last topic of my post, but I failed, so I will just take a flying leap to the next topic.  I risky flying leap.  Getting ANY puppy, from ANY brilliant line, after a TON of research, after EVERY aptitude and health test in the book, is still a risk.  You never know what happens, you never know what the outcome (or the influences towards that) will be.  Even if you do everything right, something can still go wrong.  This risk is not a problem for me.  I commit to my dogs regardless, whether they will turn out to have issues (health or behavioural), they can live happy lives with me and we will deal with it.  It doesn't make the risk any less.  I think most agility people have the hope that their new puppy will be a 'little better' than their previous dog.  It is natural.  But 99.99% of use couldn't care less after the first week with our new addition.  Our boys (and girls) just crawl into our hearts and stay there.  Oh please, still do your research and your tests!  VERY important to try and minimize the risk as much as we can.

Arg, I still had this whole thing I wanted to write about people that just DON'T think and I mean in every day life and agility, but it is getting late, so think I will save that one for the new PINK laptop.

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