It happens all the time in class, someone says “that was my fault” and I always say, “99% of the time it’s the handlers fault!” I need to listen to myself more.

Despite a very long stint of no training I entered Flash and I into the Down District Show on 11th July 2021. Just 2 jumping classes, partly because I got FOMO and didn’t want to get left out of the action, and partly to get Flash out for some ring experience since he missed what should have been his whole first competition season due to Covid. I went in with very low expectations, I thought he’d hit every single bar and probably just run into the river. Honestly he was quite fantastic. The majority of poles stayed up, he was mostly focused, he held his start line. I came out of the ring saying it was great and he did some fantastic stuff but he was wild! Taking everything in full extension and blasting off!

Who was the wild one?

I fully believed it. That’s what happened in my head. Flash was just so happy to be there that he was literally flying. I came home and told husband all about it, he did great weaves, he followed some handling really well but he was wild!

Moderately late last night I was sent the videos of our “wild” runs. Guys, I owe Flash an apology. What I remember happening wasn’t exactly matching up to what I was seeing on video. Yes sometimes Flash did get literal tunnel vision and there was nothing I could do about that, but on the most part it was all my fault!

Maybe didn’t trust him as much as I should have, we all know Flash is a fantastic dog! I sent him flying towards jumps, I gave turning cues late, no wonder he was soaring! I wouldn’t have handled like that in training. He needs early cues because he’s so fast and obviously I cant just say something to him, it’s all body cues and they need to happen before he’s in the air. That was my bad. I was pushing him and he was doing what I was asking. I was the wild one!

My takeaways from this show:

  • Flash is fantastic, I need to trust him more
  • Video review is so, so important
  • It really nearly always is the handlers fault!
  • I definitely need to work on both our fitness but mostly mine!
  • We do have some training bits to work on
  • We had lost a bit of a buzz for training agility, but now it’s back!
  • I really really love my dog
  • Competing really is at it’s best when you just go out and have fun

If you’re having issues training something and haven’t yet videoed yourself, do it! It doesn’t matter if it’s dog training or something else. Sometimes what we think we’re doing and what we’re actually doing don’t quite match up and when we see it we can fix it!

Thank you so much to Down District for putting on the show, The Patch for hosting and David McVeigh for the photos. It was so good to be back, and now we’re keen for more!

Flash’s first jump. Photo credit: David McVeigh