Sunday, January 8, 2012

Linda Mecklenburg

I thought I more or less followed Linda Mecklenburg's system of handling, so when her book, Developing Handling Skills, came out, I quickly ordered a copy.  I must confess I found myself glazing over while trying to read it.  I had more or less set the book aside when an agility friend told me how great she thought the book was and what an asset it was in developing her handling skills.  So much so that she had ordered some of Linda's DVD's.

I found that Clean Run had posted a lengthy video clip from Linda's 8-disc series, Balancing Cues in Agility.  I was intrigued by what I saw and ordered the series.  The videos are from a two-day seminar and include Linda's explanations and actual seminar attendees running the sequences.  Even if I don't follow Linda's system to the letter, watching the effect relatively minor changes in handling make on the dog's path is proving to be very illuminating.  I plan to set each of  the exercises and try them out to see if it Linda's method will enhance my ability to communicate with the Aussies.  If her cues don't work for us, then at least I will have given some thought to what cues I actually do use to communicate.


The first exercise consists of three different sequences and emphasizes the proper application of lateral motion and forward motion cues.  I was very surprised that we only had one miscommunication out of all our runs.  (However, I did have to have a start line stay discussion with each of the dogs.  I left those out of the video in the interests of brevity.)

The hardest thing for me to remember was to keep my shoulders facing forward as I moved laterally.  All three of my dogs understood what I wanted despite that short-coming on my part.  However, in Exercise 1B (Drill 2 on Linda's DVD), it complicates the execution of my front cross.  The more I turn toward jump #3 before executing the front cross, the more degrees of rotation I add to the move.  Some of the front crosses in the video were pretty icky.

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