I was watching some videos yesterday of different dogs (not mine) working and realized I was saying to myself, no, the stock is going to go this way, get your dog here or there. I am developing some stock sense! I hadn’t realized it while I was working my dog because it has become so second nature to me. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to develop stock sense. I have become much more relaxed when working Gel. My commands are usually so soft-spoken another human in the vicinity may not hear them. Gel does, that’s what matters.
I have to wonder why on earth I decided to do such a difficult sport. Agility is much more user-friendly than stock work. The A-frame doesn’t go in the exact opposite direction you thought it would and the teeter doesn’t turn and face your dog and say make me. Granted, agility has its own set of difficulties, but the obstacles tend to stay in place once they are set on a course.
There is a discussion going on Sheepdog-L about the cost of attending handling clinics. I agree, they are extremely expensive. If I had the means to travel around the country and take clinics with well-respected handlers, I expect I would be in a different position than I am now. I know of several local woman who do just that: travel around the country taking lessons and going to clinics. An open handler posted some very wise advice last night: a novice or mid-level handler is better off taking lessons with an open handler until they are at a level where the “top notch” clinician can help them.
There was an agility clinic scheduled a while back with a “top notch” clinician and I signed up for it. As it turned out, not enough people signed up for the clinic, so they did private lessons. I signed up for one and very soon realized I wasn’t getting much out of it. I was not at the level where this individual could do much to help me. I was better off taking lessons with the Masters/Excellent-level handlers until I was further along in my handling skills.
Some people seem to have money to burn and thinking nothing of spending several hundred dollars on a clinic and driving many hours to get there. I just can’t do that now. I feel certain we will get “there”; where ever “there” is, in our own due time. Things are exactly as they should be, they always are.
Until later …