This weekend, Terry Simons came to Lethbridge for his second year. It will be my fifth year working with him and as always I take a ton of info away, as do our students. He is a great instructor, person, as well as a great mentor.
He taps into what makes dogs tick - fast, slow, self-motivated and those that need a little extra oomph, and he has a great eye for timing. He figured out Kaleb for me when no body else could, and I still use what he taught me almost 5 years ago to get the very best out if him. I say it all the time, but a huge amount of credit is owed to him for that.
I guess that is what it comes down too. He gets the very best out of every dog and handler he is working with, they see that potential first hand, and it is inspiring as a team.
This weekend a little different for me though, since I can't run yet, I did small sequences where I could, was able to practice my directionals - since I got so far behind not being able to run, she was great, and I was impressed with her skills - but that is NOT how I handle my dogs - it is not the same connection for me. I had a couple friends run Gyp too, just so I could see her cute smile with other people. I was pretty deflated mentally on Friday after I realized what I could not do, the leg isn't moving as it should yet, I want soooo badly to run, and my body just can't yet.
Then Terry took Gyp on Saturday and ran her in a pretty tough sequence. She was brilliant. I wanted to do that - that should have been me handling her. He got the best out her in those 15 obstacles, she was sooooo happy. I couldn't get that out of my head for the rest of the night. That was my most memorable moment that day, I felt the adrenaline rush I get when I run her, and I was on the sidelines.
I had an epiphany.
Until I can run her again like that - full speed, no holds barred, there is no point even trying to half-ass it, and I don't want my dogs to wonder why I am not handling them normally, and I don't want them to get used to that. Yes I will work my distance, proofing etc, but as far as the REAL handling goes, that will have to wait until I am able to run in more than a straight line for 40'. I am so grateful he ran her. I feel good with my decision.
I pulled Gyp Sunday from the Seminar and it was hard choice, but the right one. And out of the 5 sequences they ran, I would have only been able to do 1 - and it would have had to been handled from pretty much one spot, relying on my directionals alone since I can't be there or get there. And she already proved she could take my direction that way on Saturday.
So I practiced something really huge this weekend at the seminar, something I am not good at, patience.
I'll be back, hopefully better than ever, it's just gonna take some time.
28 days and counting, tick, tock, tick, tock. Oh right, patience.