Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thoughts on Handling Philosophy

A little while ago I tried to outline a handling philosophy.  Today I had some thoughts to add to it.

I've been reading on blogs lately about different methods to make jump wraps really tight.  Notably, the Ketschker is becoming trendy.  Now, I realize that I'm not at a point where the tightness of Jonah's wraps ever really make a big difference for us.  At CPE, if he runs fast he almost always wins, without too much hassle from me.  That said, I worry that a lot of these methods jam the dogs with over-handling.  It's a lot like a late FC where the dog just has nowhere to go for a minute.  The handler is in the way and the dog doesn't know where to go next.  I know I can be guilty of this sort of FC (I was tonight in class), but I try hard to avoid it.

So, my thought is:  why not handle less and get moving?  This sounds oh so simple, I know, and I know there are many situations where it doesn't work for various reasons.  Most likely I'm naive and just don't fully understand what I'm reading about.  It does seem to me, though, like sometimes in these situations it would work to send your dog out to the jump and then just get the heck out of their way and move towards the next obstacle.  In Jonah's case, when I do that he busts his butt to catch up with me as fast as possible.  It feels a lot more natural to him, too.  It's not that I'm limiting his path, but just that I'm playing a game and challenging him to find the fastest way to catch me.  He knows his body better than anyone else--why not let him figure out what the best path is?

Feel free to disagree with me on this one.  I fully admit I'm a novice handler and I really only know my own dog.  In my own handling philosophy at this point, though, I want to avoid 'over-handling' and see how far I can get with challenging myself to get moving ahead and trust my dog.

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