Okay once again I have started seven (yes literally seven) blog posts with various thoughts, ideas, facts, randomness and stuff, which I never had time to finish. So now I am going to try a different approach. I am going to VERY concisely try an list all the thoughts, ideas, facts, randomness and stuff JUST to catch everyone up and then maybe from there I can start REAL blog posts again.
1. I just came back from a two week dog-less (and Agility-less) European holiday... so who is going to offer me a job in Europe, so me, The Nerd and The Boys can move? Germany is preferable, Netherlands a close second, but honestly, I am not fussy... anything will do. I had a fantastic time and would like to thank my crazy Finnish and German friends for their hospitality!
2. Happy VERY belated 3rd Birthday to the SuperSheltie. The amazing merly Belgian boy that has never ceases to amaze me. Here is to many, many, many, many, many more!
3. Another VERY belated 1st Birthday to the Slinky Psycho Girly Whirly dog. I am having SO much fun with her already that I can't wait for the years to come.
4. Running with a toy in your pocket is baiting. And if you don't NEED to run with it, then why do you do it? So people like me who believe is baiting can bitch about it? Why take the risk of the toy falling out of your pocket while running? Baiting is defined as: 'To entice, especially by trickery or strategy.' I don't know about yours, but my dogs are not stupid, they know when I have a toy/food in my pocket and when I don't. I ,in fact, had an interesting discussion with a fellow-handler (who was trying to convince me that this is NOT baiting) that said if she doesn't have the toy on her body, her dogs would run off looking for their toy, even if it was being held by a steward or out of reach. I am pretty sure that this then categorically proves my point? In fact the effect of having a toy or food in your pocket has been proved multiple times. When I am judging, I will disqualify you. Please understand me, my dogs are all for being rewarded, however they will complete the course happily before shooting off to their lead or toy outside the ring and even then, I can (and do) get them under control before leaving the ring and rewarding. Maybe some venues allow it, but having followed every major FCI championship for more than 10 years and reading the guidelines and the rules and the forums and talking to people... yup, I am sure ours doesn't.
5. I had my first judging appointment of the year. I worked on my courses for almost a month. I really liked them. Tested them with my own dogs and got clears all the way around. Just to have the most disappointing day with people make small (and big) mistakes and... interesting handling choices. Not one single clear in Grade 3. Mostly my courses were enjoyed, one handler that reacted in a rather rude, annoying, aggressive and generally unacceptable way. This is one of the subjects I would like to write more on at some stage... about upping the standard and how to do it. My grade 3 courses (Click on the course to see a bigger version):
6. Next week is the AWC 2013. Hmmmm... many, many, many, many, many thoughts on this matter. But I will only be able to share my thoughts after the event. For now we are preparing to go out there and give it our all, regardless, despite and not considering anything else.
7. South African Agility is about to enter yet another year with blinkers on, kicking with four feet against change. This decision is of course made by a body that consists of only 40% competitors and 60% of people that have NEVER EVER done Agility. The proposed changes are supported by pages and pages of research, videos, photos, examples and arguments. They have been successfully proven across the world. However the powers that be, when asked why they won't support it, is allowed to just answer 'because'? Because of personal agendas? Because of spite? Because you don't understand? Mostly because we are so afraid of change I guess.
8. As a judge you are generally not allowed to make up rules as you go along. For those rules that DO have grey areas, you should surely be looking at the world trend and getting guidance from your umbrella bodies... in our case the FCI. Instead lets invent an interpretation and then randomly fling faults at it. We have had a serious plague of judges not keeping up to date with rules/discussions/interpretations/techniques or downright common sense.
9. I have said it before and I will say it again. If you do Agility 'Just For Fun' (I will now call you the JFF's), the only difference between you and me should be that you don't care about placings, gradings, leagues, logs, clear round stats and speed. Your dog should still be trained to the best of your ability. Why? Because running an untrained dog around an Agility course screaming at them or attempting the weave poles 17 times with no success is actually NOT fun for your dog (or for me, since I want to clobber you).
So that is the list for now. Hopefully I will have another blogpost out very shortly.