Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 5

Editorializing… The Finger of Blame By Nancy Walker After attending an agility trial this weekend and sitting on the sidelines listening to the handlers’ banter, I realized that while agility is a wonderful sport, it can also be a culture of blame. People are so quick to say a dog does what he does because the handler does or does not take a specific action. If there is a problem, then surely the handler is to blame. And if the dog is a great dog, then the handler is a great trainer. That is not to say dogs cannot do better with a different handler or better training, but major problems are not always handler induced. Many dogs have incredible drive and athletic ability but have trouble with impulse control; not because of the handler, but because they were born that way. I believe we see this often but have been so busy pointing our finger at handlers that we do not address the trouble as the genetic problem it is. I understand how people feel when they do everything right but training and trialing still don’t come together. It is very difficult to go in the ring over and over again, hoping that this time it will be different, and it will be the one time everything does work out. But then to have someone tell you that you are to blame—that if you were a better trainer your dog could do better as well—can be crushing. I can sympathize with anyone who has a dog-related problem due to genetics. I understand the frustration and the utter dedication needed to make the situation work. We love our dogs and train every bit as hard if not harder to overcome our dog’s problems. Believe it or not, these dogs make us better trainers in the end. I have chosen to continue to trial my high-energy Border Collie and because of this I have been a victim of finger-pointing and told many times I am to blame and I simply need to be a better trainer. My Border Collie has no self-control and she has been that way since the day I got her. To say I have worked on this problem with her would be an understatement. We have worked on this every day for the five years I have had her. She has made great strides over the years but she truly cannot keep still. I refuse to accept defeat or to medicate her, two options that have been suggested by various handlers. Although she earned two titles this weekend, it was her crazy Standard run that made me the proudest. She missed every contact, but I did not care. At that moment she did something that I have worked on since the day I rescued her: she gave me a stay at the start line. It brought tears to my eyes to look back and see her quietly waiting for me to release her. Only those who know us would know what a difficult thing that was for her to do. When I walked out of the ring I was bombarded by criticism over my handling of her contacts. After wiping the tears out of my eyes all I could say was, “My dog just sat still for over a minute and patiently waited for me to release her. Contacts, who cares about contacts!” Dogs are very complex and if you are fortunate to have a dog that progresses happily through the agility levels, you are very lucky indeed. But try not to put too much blame on those of us who have dogs with various degrees of trouble. These dogs may not yet have reached their athletic potential but they are no less loved and well-trained. Nancy Walker 5 Nancy works and lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband Jackson and three Border Collies: Golden Gems Higgins (Higgins) AX, AXJ, AAD (regretfully retired); Annie Bananie (Annie) HSAs, AD, NAJ, AS, AR, AJ, AG, her rescue who inspires Nancy every day with her love of life; and TBC’s Rude Awakening (Rudy), puppy in training. September 09 | Clean Run

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - September 2009

Clean Run Magazine - September 2009
Contents
Editorializing: The Finger of Blame
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
When Pigs Fly: The Ins and Outs of Serpentines, Part 3
Trainer’s Forum
Can You Handle It?
My Favorite Course
Shelter Champs: Auggie
To Stretch or Not To Stretch?
Comparing the Derrett and Mecklenburg Handling Systems, Part 7: Serpentines
Distance Challenge
Power Course Analysis
Foundation Fundamentals : Delegating Distance
Motion Discrimination
Training Dogs to Work with Physically Limited Handlers
Power Paws Drills: Inside/Outside Loop Drills
Hope: Our First Year
Jenny’s Guide to Successful Teamwork: Front and Blind Crosses, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Clean Run Magazine - September 2009
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Editorializing: The Finger of Blame
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - When Pigs Fly: The Ins and Outs of Serpentines, Part 3
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 14
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 18
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 22
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Can You Handle It?
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - My Favorite Course
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Shelter Champs: Auggie
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 29
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - To Stretch or Not To Stretch?
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Comparing the Derrett and Mecklenburg Handling Systems, Part 7: Serpentines
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 38
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Power Course Analysis
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 50
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Foundation Fundamentals : Delegating Distance
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Motion Discrimination
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Training Dogs to Work with Physically Limited Handlers
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 65
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Power Paws Drills: Inside/Outside Loop Drills
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Hope: Our First Year
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - Jenny’s Guide to Successful Teamwork: Front and Blind Crosses, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 77
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 82
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - September 2009 - 84
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