Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 77

Letters “Mental Management” article in December 2007 issue Dear Lanny and Clean Run editors: As a competitive runner and agility handler, I wish to make several comments regarding Lanny Bassham’s recent article titled Mental Management in the 12/2007 issue of Clean Run. Although it is presumptuous for me to contradict Lanny, an eye-witness observer of the men’s 5,000m Olympic final in Munich in 1972, I would note that his recollection is erroneous in several respects. First, Lasse Viren was spiked in the 10,000m final, not the 5,000m. Second, the 5,000m event was held after the 10,000m. The 5,000m semifinals and final were postponed one day because of the Palestine terrorists kidnapping and murder of Israeli athletes. Although not denigrating Viren’s performance, one could argue that it was the extra day’s rest that enabled him to recover sufficiently to outduel Steve Prefontaine in the 5,000m final. More important than these errors is the analogy Lanny draws between Viren’s fall in the 10,000 and his subsequent success in winning a double-double in 1972-1976. Although it can never be conclusively proven, most knowledgeable track observers believe that Viren’s extraordinary success was due to blood doping rather than superior “mental management.” Viren can hardly be “revered” for this, and the agility community certainly does not want to encourage the use of any quasi-legal or dangerous performance enhancers in our beloved dogs only for the sake of trial success. Don Niemann Saint Helena, California Dear Don, I must be getting old, which is undeniable. I inadvertently switched those events. I’m sorry. I hope that takes care of the two errors you found in my article. The point of the article was the way he handled the disappointment of being knocked down. He not only continued the race but also won, and with a record to boot. Those who choose to believe his medals were won honestly revere Lasse Viren. If it can be proven otherwise, I would be the first one to say that he should be stripped of the medals. If, however, we ever have a society where what people might choose to believe counts more than what can be proven then we have lost an important freedom. Viren is revered for being a four-time Olympic champion. If you are suggesting that I am revering Viren for cheating or condone in any way the use of dangerous performance enhancers in dogs, then I take offense to that. Lanny Bassham “Evaluating Structure in the Performance Dog” article in December 2007 issue I had been competing in agility for a couple of years before the problem reared its ugly head: contacts. My once steady, accurate dog was now jumping off the contact obstacles higher and higher with every run. As my first agility dog, I had only spent a little time training contacts. She was inclined to run them, and that is what we did. As our success at regular runs decreased, I began to get frustrated with my teammate. What was going through her head? What was her problem? I was told many things, all with a common theme: incomplete, incorrect training. None of the solutions I tried worked consistently. Sometimes we got lucky and hit a tiny patch of yellow. Most of the time I yelled Hit It and she stopped, barked, and jumped! After four years, we finally managed to earn the last Regular class Q we needed for our NATCH. I was thankful for all the good runs we had in our early years; those saved us from never accomplishing this goal. I have never been the type to push my dogs into a venue they don’t seem to enjoy. Although my dog wasn’t enjoying contacts, she really seemed to generally love the game and this is the only reason I stayed with it despite the contact issues. After all, she’s done 60 weaves in 16.4 seconds, she’s only knocked 3 bars in her career, and she’s often 10 seconds under Elite times. So why the difficulty with the contacts? I started to see the light after attending a popular structure seminar. I was amazed at what I saw and learned. Although I have been a practicing, licensed animal medical technician for 20 years, I had never been so enlightened on structural soundness and movement and how important these are for the dog, especially the competitive dog. I had been taught none of this information in college, and after talking to vets, I found they had not been taught this valuable information either. The real problem with my dog’s contacts stemmed from her hocks. Once my dog was properly stacked for evaluation, I was quickly shown what the term “slipped hocks” meant. My dog had two slipped hocks, which caused instability in her hind end. How did I not notice this? She appeared to be balanced except for a croup/tail set I never liked. February 08 | Clean Run But, once her legs were put under her at the proper angle, the hocks slipped forward. And, I watched as a large percentage of dogs of all breeds had the same problem on at least one hock. So, you may ask, how does this answer my contact problem, since she did the contacts when she was younger? Well, as she grew more confident she gained more speed. With more speed she lost control because of the hindend weakness. She then relied heavily on her front end to make the contacts, but this grew tired and sore due to the extra burden. So, she started to jump off the contacts to prevent the strain. So, what I figured to be a training issue was truly a physical problem. She has since been semiretired and only does the classes that put no extra strain on her. After all, she’s my best friend and competition is only a small part of our lives together. Now, I know what you might be thinking. My dog must be a rescue or perhaps from a puppy mill because good breeders don’t have these problems in their lines. Actually she’s from a nice bloodline and from a breeder who truly cares about the breed. She’s a good-looking dog; she’s game enough to do the underground work her breed was developed for. Does this mean a structural issue doesn’t exist? I’m afraid not. Many of us just don’t know these structural problems exist, nor do we know how to check for them. This non-obvious problem was making it difficult for my dog to hit a contact. I wish everyone could/would have a structure evaluation on their dogs to help figure out if training is really the issue or whether there may be a structural component. I feel for all those dogs with straight shoulders that are knocking bars. I cringe for the dog popping poles because of a short neck. As I sit here petting my 13-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier, I now know why she never placed above 3rd in weight pulling. With her lack of upper arm attachment, short neck, and a slipped hock, I wish I knew then what I do now. I continue to read and study and attend seminars. I hope to be a better owner and better able to pick out a puppy to suit my needs in the future. And I hope everyone will embrace the chance to learn like I did, for [the] dog’s sake. In Health, Gina Snow 77

Clean Run Magazine - February 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - February 2008

Clean Run Magazine - February 2008
Contents
Editorializing: Barbarians at the Gate?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
On Course with Annie Lehman
Basic Turns
Trainer’s Forum
Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed?
Foundation Fundamentals: Dealing with Distractions, Part 2
Case Study: The King of the Off-course
Conquering Ring Nerves: How Do I Stop Shaking When I Step to the Line?
Sports Retraining for Agility Athletes
When Pigs Fly: What Is an Operant Dog? Why Should I Care?
Power Paws Patterns: Number Three
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Increasing Challenges on the Ball
Spy Kids: Balance in Training
Skill of the Month
When the Click Doesn’t End the Behavior: Conditioning a Release Signal
Shelter Champs: Dunk
Distance Challenge
Letters
Agility Organization Update
Nested Courses for Mardi Gras
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - February 2008
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Editorializing: Barbarians at the Gate?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - On Course with Annie Lehman
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Basic Turns
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 18
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Dealing with Distractions, Part 2
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Case Study: The King of the Off-course
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: How Do I Stop Shaking When I Step to the Line?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 38
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Sports Retraining for Agility Athletes
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - When Pigs Fly: What Is an Operant Dog? Why Should I Care?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Power Paws Patterns: Number Three
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 50
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Increasing Challenges on the Ball
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Spy Kids: Balance in Training
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 59
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - When the Click Doesn’t End the Behavior: Conditioning a Release Signal
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Shelter Champs: Dunk
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Letters
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 84
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