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"Now try the...."
We ventured down to Northern California for three days with the OMD pack. Most excellent seminar. I was really impressed. I worked with Mikko for two days and Tuulia for one. Unfortunately there were a few schedule changes because the flu hit the instructors so there were emergency fill ins but everything worked out. We asked Mikko where his wedding band was on the first day, he proceeded to show us his OMD bracelet and started laughing, so we could already tell we were going to have a good time. Mikko is all about precision and details. We did Technique Applications the first day, which was great so I could get the verbage down and work Merlin on shorter sequences. Merlin worked most of the drills which were really challenging and great little exercises to take home. The OMD system requires precision handling, not sure if I'm up for all of the moves but some of the skills are quite handy and not at all in conflict with Merlin's Shape Up foundation. My guess is that the majority of agility competitors just don't need these skills for US style courses. You have to be able to run and have the physical skill to pull off these moves, because the timing just has to be perfect. I do now understand why OMD has a cult following, the biggest emphasis is on connecting with your dog on course rather than following any rules, and who doesn't want to achieve that irrespective of your handling system. I do love Merlin's trained threadle so there is basically no way I am going to start doing the "Flick" or "Reverse Wrap" with him. I just avoided the portions of the courses which needed these maneuvers and worked Kona instead. Mikko is their front cross king so that was the first drill. Where to look, when to turn, where to go next, what direction your feet should be in and when to do it. The OMD Front cross is a completely thought out process. I clearly haven't perfected my front crosses but Merlin looked better by the time we were done. Everyone stood up to watch and learn for this portion of the seminar, because the front cross is an overlooked art form.

And running on the dog's line. Mikko showed us how to get through this push through drill with more speed and accuracy. I'm just glad I didn't take out the instructor. He ran a dog he's never met before through this drill and of course it was a thing of beauty.

And Japanese turns. "If you can do three or four in a drill one on a course is easy." I could not complete this drill.

The second day with Mikko was course work. I was the only person in my group who was just a hobbyist and not a multiple time world team member so I really benefitted from the opportunity to watch the best of the best. I also didn't feel so bad when we missed some incredibly tricky weave pole entries because everybody in the group did. The weave pole grab is an amazing skill but the chances of me getting into such perfect position in the middle of the course is essentially 0. My thought on the weave pole grab is just train the entries so you don't have to help your dog get in the poles :) I also think Mikko has some strange psychic skill because every time my brain started drifting I heard "CONNECT WITH YOUR DOG." So very basic.

We did course work with Tuulia on Sunday. I really liked working with her, she had great explanations for body mechanics that were just crystal clear. Where to look, what your head and feet should be doing, when to turn. She made some minor alterations for a few of the participants and the change was remarkable. I worked Merlin on half of the course and Kona on the other half. When they say the OMD coaches will keep making you run until you run clean they are not kidding. I finished up one run with Kona, could barely breathe, and Tuulia said "now try the reverse spin here, take out the Jaako there and do a Whiskey turn there...GO!" I just thought, not sure if I can make it through again.

Sunday was all about perfecting the Lap turn, it worked great for both dogs and definitely a skill I'll keep and hone further. I need to give my dogs more space to execute their turns and all will be fine. The other skill to hone is the Flip turn for handling discriminations. I could pull it off for Merlin but couldn't quite get the timing down for Kona.

Great seminar. Would definitely go back, being challenged and coached by the best handlers in the world was time and money well spent. Not going to start wearing black clothing with the One Mind Dog logo but have definitely been made a believer of "Connect, Commit, Cue."

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This looks totally fun and amazing! I would have been dead after the first drill😏 How much weight did you lose?

Lots and lots of running, the dogs were tired by the end of the seminar and they only ran half as much as most of the other dogs.

I, too, decided after the first paragraph, that I would pretty much be toast. Glad it was fun for you, tho!

Sounds like a really fun weekend!

Ha! The Japanese turns! No way could I do that many of them in a row! Hilarious.

You're still my FC hero.

HA. Thanks. My mind was kind of blown by the front cross drill, but both Merlin and I did look better by the end.

What a great opportunity. Looks very challenging. Just what is the advantage of a Japanese turn? It is not intuitive. Is it instead of training a threadle cue? It does make a trained threadle cue look much easier. ;-)

Yes, meant to be a substitute for a threadle cue since the dog is pulled through the gap by the handler motion. I do think a trained threadle is SO MUCH EASIER.

Looks and sounds like it was a great weekend. I wish I had known, I would have gone down too. I always find it fun to be pushed.

Yes, I lucked out. The seminar filled before Kelly made the public announcement, which is also what happened last year but last year there were only two instructors.

That looks like a ton of fun! Reminds me of some of the stuff we were doing before Debbie left. I loved that stuff!

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