That is what you need to be a successful handler - lots of tools to chose from and the ability to pull them out on the fly. Class today was about comparing rear crosses vs. front crosses. It is interesting to see each dog and handler and what works best for them. Some never use rears and some never fronts. But a problem could present itself on a course that might force you into doing something you are not as comfortable with and that's where the tool box comes in. That's why we practice all the different skills.
With Ricky, I do mostly fronts or run the long way around or blinds. We know rear crosses and he reads them pretty well, and if he is moving, I can throw one in. Today I tried to handle a simple jump sequence by running the short path and he wasn't moving so I took him back and ran the long path. My teacher pointed out a place I could've changed to the outside without stopping him and to get him motivated. True. You can't stop at a trial.
Another thing I want to work on is supporting the obstacle and using eye contact. By now I sometimes assume Ricky will take an obstacle because it is the next one. Not if I don't make a point of supporting it. Also, he likes to do his own thing ( yay! ). I have to make an effort to look him in the eye and say his name even, to pull him off a path to an obstacle that he has chosen! Gotta fight the "Sheltie knows best" syndrome! :)
4 days ago