Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lesley Olden seminar - part I

I just got back from a seminar with Lesley Olden and what an informative seminar it was!

In general I have to say I love Lesley's handling style, because it's so un-European. Lesley is not a "run with your dog as fast as you can" kind of person, she has knee problems herself, so she needs to look for ideas that allow her to maintain speed while handling from a larger distance than most European handlers.

On the other hand I'm not sure if she's got the personality of a seminar-giver, I think you really have to dig to get answers out of her, ask her questions and don't accept a "well done" type of comment. I'm also glad I was in the advanced group with Uma, because she seemed excellent when discussing the handling issues we faced and kind of bored with the basic (motivation, focus, startline stays) issues the less-advanced people had. So for handling strategies, she's an excellent choice and I highly recommend her.

She definitely revealed tons of holes in my training and motivated me to work on them. I'll write them down now (so I don't forget) and I'll later write about the specific exercises.

TURNS - I've been working on this a lot, but it seems like there's still a lot to be done. I have not worked on pivot turns (post turns) and that shows when I need to do one. And more work on wrapping wings tightly. It seems her best turns are turns out of rear crosses. That has to change ;-) Lesley also showed us some cool grid work jumping exercises, which I will want to work on in my neverending quest to improve Uma's jumping technique.

WEAVES - Lesley has totally impressive weave entries from a distance at weird angles and at tons of speed. I still need work on that, lots of work. I also need to work on entries when I'm on front of the dog and recalls through the weaves.

PULL THROUGHS (and threadles) - this seems to be one of Lesley's favorite moves. I need work on pull throughs when the dog is way in front of me, which can happen... Lesley suggested teaching a verball pull through command and I think I'll go for that. I had some issues doing the threadle in the course which follows below, there was no way I could get it from a distance. Especially since I'm used too handling threadles while walking backwards, I can only achieve this when I'm in front of the dog. If the dog is in front of me, there's no way I can do that.

TUNNELS - it seems Uma does not understand the concept of the possibility of exiting the pipe tunnel in the other direction than the arc the tunnel is curving in. And I can call her all I want, in the course below she still first turned to the indside of the tunnel after existing it. Lesley suggested directional commands, but I am not sure about that. I'll have to think it through.

CONTACTS - Uma has gorgeous contacts and fast as well, but she sometimes loses it when the speed is really outrageous - as in below 1.7 seconds. In the course below I tried sending her to the number 8 tunnel and recalling her over the dogwalk. The first time she did not get the contact, it was just too fast. I had to go back to a target and the next time she got it. So more work on this, getting really top notch speed (out of a tunnel) and recalling over a contact obstacle.


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