My friend Kim and I went to a funmatch at a difference training facility today. They have a great set up- the ground is ALL FLAT, it is far from the highway, and did I mention that the ground is all flat??!!!
It was a super novice funmatch meant for their students to get a feel for an actual trial. There were only a few people, and I think everyone had a great time. They had some super cute dogs participating.
For myself, I used this funmatch as a training opportunity for the upcoming regionals and rewarded her on her contacts, for good start lines, and pushed my handling/speed a little bit. She did pretty well although we did have a few melt down moments on the second course...and the jumpers course she got a little creative on...
The interesting part was watching the other people run their dogs, and listen to their instructor give advice. It was hard not to step in, and I had to bite my tongue a few times. I offered my own students plenty of advice, and tried to do it where others might hear. Reward your dog here, Front Cross here, etc. etc. etc...I am not known for my subtle ways, and I do have a hard time keeping my opinions to myself. But, I did manage to for the most part.
As an instructor I am always careful to balance advice, and letting people figure it out for themselves. If I see that someone has walked the course and it may not be the best way I will ask them why, and then suggest an alternative method that might be faster, or more clear to the dog. Also we are big on REWARD THE DOG! Always, always, always REWARD THE DOG. If it is a novice dog, or a dog that has motivation issues REWARD THE DOG- in the middle, after something fast, and of course at the end. We push this on our students big time. And of course- reward the person. A "Good Job" or "That was Really Nice" can go a long way to making a person feel confident about themselves, and their dog.
That said, I was proud of myself for keeping my mouth shut and staying out of things that aren't my business, although I did help with course building, and judging...
I was very proud of the two Go Dog Go students that came- they did a great job of handling, and their dogs worked well in the heat.