Last week, I tried handling a jumpers running closer to my border collie than I’m used to. This was a test to see if handling closer works better than handling from a distance. The results of this test were surprising. I couldn’t nail down the handling or timing for a simple soft turn off a straight line (which had a wrong course option straight ahead). I was either too early or too late, too dramatic or not dramatic enough. It was baffling until I realized the underlying issue was I could not see my dog well when running this close to him and he couldn’t see me well either.
I couldn’t remember the term that day but this morning it popped into mind: “Motion Parallax.” It explains why its so much harder to see our dogs and for our dogs to see us when we are handling close to them. The first 30 seconds of the video offers a great example of how closer objects appear to be moving faster than distant objects… which explains why its so much harder to see what our dogs are doing (and what they need from us to show them the path ahead) when they are running close to us.
On a related note, I think Motion Parallax is the #1 contributing factor to the common handler experience/ excuse 🙂 “My dog is just too fast.” In most cases (like 95%), its not that the dog is too fast or that the handler is too slow….. but rather that the handler is trying to give direction to her dog from a position that is “just too close.”
There you have it. My random thought of the day.