Good Teamwork

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When we first started our agility training the trainer put a up a difficult course and took one his dogs round it.   We were all very impressed and before we started our first class we were told that handling a dog like this would be our goal.  I bet there wasn't one of us who really appreciated what we were supposed to be looking at.  Nevertheless, watching the very best handlers and dogs can be an inspiration and we can learn some very valuable lessons from them. 

I asked Guy Blancke from smoothmovesagility.com  if I could use one of his videos on Agility Bits.   I chose this particular clip because it demonstrates perfectly what our trainer was trying to do.  I also thought you'd be as fascinated by this clip as I was.  Before you look at it you need to read and appreciate what Guy says.
  "One sees many handlers trying to work from a distance without logic.  In this case it is very important to note that this handler does in fact exactly what a more able handler should do , MOVE to the appropriate position in order to be able to give instructions to the dog . In fact based on  this many more able bodied
handlers DO NOT do that !"

Here's the video clip (Just click on the image).  It's from the
FCI Agility World Championships 2004 and it's entitled "Chilling."  Thanks to Guy for letting me use the clip

I've watched this clip several times now and each time I've been impressed with the way in which the handler lets the dog know what has to be done and where they are going next.  The positioning of the handler is just right for the dog to be able to see and interpret the very clear hand and body signals. 

What if you can't run?
You'll notice that Guy has mentioned able bodied handlers.  What this clip also does is to demonstrate that you don't have to be an athlete to compete at the highest level of agility.  If you can't run or if you use a wheelchair it doesn't necessarily preclude you from competing.  As long as you can get yourself in the right position to help the dog and you can give clear signals you and your dog will be well on your way to making a good team.  You'll certainly have a lot more fun.

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