One of my pet peeves is when an agility instructor promises to show people how to “get more speed out of their dog” by doing X, Y, or Z. It irks me because I view “not enough speed” or other performance issues as feedback and natural outcomes of how well dog-trainers are able to identify and GIVE their dogs what they need vs how well they’ve done GETTING their dogs to do what they want them to do, the way they want them to do it. 🙂
That said, how might reframing “getting more speed from your dog” to “giving more speed to your dog” increase your dog’s speed? The way I see it, giving more speed is going to help me identify what’s been getting in my dog’s way of more speed so I can help my dog by removing whatever has been in his way. In contrast, if I’m trying to “get more speed from my dog,” I may focus too much attention on “what I don’t have enough of” which in this case is speed. And if I’m looking to solve MY problem, I might only look for solutions inside the problem that I am focusing on, which is “not enough speed.” I think this strategy can work, but it is going to be a lot harder and take a lot longer than looking for simple ways to “give my dog more speed.”
Back in 2013, I wrote a blog post describing two categories of dogs re: agility-style jumping: 1) “add a stride” dogs and 2) “leave out a stride” dogs. I always thought of Takoda as an “add a stride” dog, but what I noticed yesterday made realize I needed to add a 3rd category: “adjust a stride length” dogs . This is obvious in hindsight and we’ve all seen dogs that do this.
Takoda is one of those dogs that look so fluid and smooth, they don’t look “fast” yet put down surprisingly fast course times due to being so efficient. I added a Voice Over to the video to highlight the most obvious examples of Takoda’s stride-length adjustment.
Can you teach a dog to adjust their stride lengths for more efficiency and speed? I say YOU BETCHA! I’ll be posting more on this topic in weeks to come.
If you don’t want to miss my follow-up posts SEND ME AN EMAIL and I’ll send you direct links. email@example.com
Link to that 2013 blog post: https://artanddogblog.wordpress.com/…/shifting-attitudes-a…/