I signed up for Jessicas second seminar months ago because I enjoyed the first one so much. I really enjoy her approach to teaching handlers and her personality is one that meshes well with mine - something of a rarity.
To everyone's surprise Jessica, a devout follower of the Derrett handling system,switched to the European handling style just 4 weeks ago. I don't think about handlers at the seminar were prepared for that shock.
None the less I am open to new learning opportunities and will embrace them if they work for both me and my dogs.
Jessica showed us her take on European handling which really isn't all that different from the Derrett system - it is more of a blend between the two. There is no crazy running backwards - seeing as I can't run well forwards that's a good thing - and still lots of body motion and position to get dogs around the course, the changes are more in the fluidity of the handling and timing is less important.
There are 4 key verbal cues - supported by body motion and/or position - that the dog must learn to be successful around the course:
1) a verbal cue to take a jump but turn back towards the handler,
2) a verbal cue to take the backside of a jump,
3) a verbal cue to come in to the handler, and not taking an obvious obstacle,
4) a verbal cue to threadle an obstacle.
These are all things that the Derret system uses body position in relation to the dog and obstacle to get the dog around the course. Jessicas new style relies more on those verbal cues to get the handler ahead of the dog. This way agility becomes a game of chase that the dogs are playing with the handler. This means more speed from the dog and easier handling for the handlers - especially the slower ones.
I have already had success with both dogs and am getting amazingly tight turns and incredible speed - especially out of Travis!
I know there are many local handlers and trainers out there against the European handling style. All I can say is that we should all do what works for us and works for our dogs. One is not better than the other and there is simply no denying that both work.
Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt