We saw Dawn Weaver from the UK who was being hosted over at Flying Feet Agility in Floyds Knobs, IN. It’s a beautiful facility. And Dawn was great. This was definitely one of the top 2 agility seminars that I’ve been to.
I didn’t know a lot about Dawn before this seminar. The seminar was recommended to me by a friend who had read her book and knew someone who had been taking her online class. I did a little research and liked what I saw.
Dawn running her border collie in England
First of all, she has small dogs (Papillon & Poodles). She has large dogs as well (Beardie / Border Collie crosses & Border Collies), but it is pretty hard to find anyone giving seminars that takes small dogs seriously. Let alone runs small dogs :) Anyone who tells you that they are all the same, hasn’t ran a small dog…
Most seminar presenters are usually geared toward border collies & shelties. And that’s fine, I mean, most information & techniques will cross-over to any other high-drive dogs. But not all :)
Dawn running her papillon at the Invitational
I also liked Dawn because she is against “handling systems.” You can’t swing a jump pole around here without hitting someone trying to perfect their “backy-uppy” or “forward motion front cross.” I’m not a huge fan of systems. Or rules in general :) Whether it be the Linda Mecklenburg / Awesome Paws system or the Greg Derret system, I just can’t jump on board. I could go on & on… Maybe I’ll write a blog post about that some time :)
Dawn running her Beardie / Border Collie at the Invitational
Anyway, like Dawn said: not all dogs are going to fit perfectly into those handling systems. She believes that your dog should dictate how you handle. Create a system for your dog, don’t try to make your dog fit your system. She also said that handling isn’t something you train your dog to understand. You can train yourself to handle better for your dog, but you shouldn’t have to train your dog what each move from you means (ie. recalls to heel, lateral sends, etc.). What you do should come naturally to your dog & be understood without drilling and training.
So consider this a preview :) The next blog post will highlight more things I learned - and a video of Stout's public agility debut!!