Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring is a Season for Learning

Tiny Taylor steals a close up 
in a photo shoot for Samurai's structure class.

With Samurai's hazy future as a competition dog, I decided that since we couldn't really show the way I'd like, at least not now, that I would invest in training myself, instead.

It's really an idea that's paid off really well. I've met a lot of wonderful, smart, creative people and have been exposed to some of the most interesting ideas in dogs and dog training around.

It's been cool.

Actually, it turns out that I've got to the point that I enjoy training and learning so much that I don't really miss trialing much, if at all.

So for spring, I've already jumped in, starting with an International Skills Seminar with Agility Nerd, Steve Schwartz and then onto my first online course, a view into performance dog structure with authority, Helen Grinnell King courtesy of Daisy Peel's online classroom project.

We'll go back to camp in the summer and hopefully more good things in between.

I've happened to think back to all the great people I've been fortunate to train with in the last year and a half, and came up with the following list:

Daisy Peel
Stuart Mah
Anne Braue (2x)
Karen Holick
Jennifer Crank
Sherry Kleuver
Dana Pike
Steve Schwartz
Helen Grinnell King

If I could only absorb all the lessons I've been exposed to thanks to these individuals, I would certainly be handling like a pro by now. That hasn't quite happened, but I've had fun learning what I can, and Samurai has certainly benefited.

Samurai takes a break from posing
to give us his trademark smile.

Plus, it's a lot more fun learning new ways to do things to be stuck in the same old, same old.

I think it's also made Samurai a better and more determined learner as he's signed on to the concept that learning is fun -- and fun is learning. Also, that learning is "what we do". 

It's taught him to come in to interactions with eyes and ears open...just in case he might miss something. It's really a very interesting change to see in him.

So will Sam ever have that career in the ring I would wish for? Seriously, I have no idea. But in the meantime, we're building better teamwork and a clearer channels for communications by becoming partners in learning.

So, how are you changing up the ways you train and learn agility? Why not make your own resolution to find a new learning experience for yourself this spring. There are so many great opportunities out there today, it would be a shame not to jump in and try.

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