Here we are, starting to BLOG! “Blog”, hmmm, I always think that word doesn’t sound very attractive, like having something caught in your throat. Let’s call it something different, something that sounds nice, I am going to call it a “Share” (not to be confused with Sonny’s girlfriend or the stock market, ha!).
So, here we are then, starting to SHARE!
My efforts and hope are these ‘shares’ will provide information in an entertaining and engaging fashion. Learning is FUN! Time is precious to me and I am not getting any younger or less busy. That means when I choose to do something in my free time, it better be a GOOD TIME. Why the heck not? And my pups agree, they want to have fun too. This is ever so much easier when we fluently speak a common language. And while it applies to all aspects of our lives, in this ‘share’ I will focus on the specialized version we use in agility, a “person/pup twitter” type of communication!!
Twitter? Yup. I use this analogy because in the ring every single word and physical cue better be jam-packed with meaning. There simply isn’t TIME for multiple modifiers, additional adjectives, a plethora of prepositions! We need to be clear and concise. Think of it as a “Cue Haiku”, Japanese twitter old school!!
Easy guidelines to have your agility ‘twitter feed’ the best ever:
#1 One cue per behavior. I put this first because I think it is the MOST IMPORTANT. I want my pup to know instantly what a word and/or motion and/or physical orientation means. For example, if I typically say “Go” to mean ‘take all the obstacles on a straight line’ and also say “Go” to support a turn jump when I am at a distance and sending, what does the word “Go” really mean?? It means ‘Stay tuned, pup, you don’t know yet if you should be in extension or collection’. No ‘stay tuned’ cues!!
#2 One cue per behavior. Ha!! No, I am not sloppy and forgot to proofread! Part of getting ‘one cue per behavior’ right is to really KNOW what your cues are. Take a moment with a piece of paper and a pencil, or more likely your cell phone or tablet. Make three columns, name them ‘Extension/Go’, ‘Collection/Whoa’, and ‘Bypass/No’. These three modes of handling done right will get you through any course, any time, any where. Now think of all the cues you use, words and physical actions/orientations/location, etc. Put each one in the appropriate column. If one of these cues shows up in more than one column you have a ‘stay tuned’ cue!
Start there. See what you learn. Do you need to streamline your ‘Cue Haiku’ so every single cue has a specific meaning? If we want our pups to do their very best in agility we need to have our cues be first and foremost all about ‘what’s next’, not ‘stay tuned’.
Hope this first ‘share’ gave you something to consider. Understanding one another fluently is the foundation for having a very, very, very good time!