Is Agility Keeping Pace with Technological Advances?Thursday, January 29, 2009
Earlier this week John and I had to spend the day in the car running errands an hour or more away from home. Yes of course he drove, I do love me life. As he was driving I was thinking about all of the technological advances that surrounded me in the car. First and foremost with it being -18C outside I was grateful beyond belief for the advancement of heated car seats and couldn’t imagine living in Canada (or anywhere really as I even use these on some summer evenings) without the ability to warm my bottom on a cold day. Next as I spent 10 minutes placing a few orders on my cell phone I tried to remember the days when I had to stop to use a phone at a phone booth. Have you noticed there are far fewer phone booths out there these days? And lastly I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out for one of the worlds best invention of late: the trusted GPS that allows us to be mindlessly lured to our final destination like lemmings running off a cliff. Looking around at all of these recent advancements caused me to question what advancements have we enjoyed in agility in the last 20 years? I think to start with you would have mention how far we have come with our execution of handling. I know my own dogs personally will be forever grateful for Greg Derrett setting me on a path to more consistent and clear handling cues. As someone that lost a National Championship by 0.016 seconds, I for one was thrilled to see the advancement of electronic timing lights at the following year’s USDAA National Championships. Doing away with the cross-over obstacle sure was an advancement if you ask me! Perhaps some would consider my nose tap contact training method and the many “msg” versions of it (Wendy Pape coined the msg phrase years ago when teaching her own “modified Susan Garrett” contact method). CRCD and other computer programs for planning courses and sequences have made life easier for a lot of us as have blogs, Clean Run magazine and the multitude of internet information groups that are available today. I would hope that one day the 2×2 method of weave pole training would also be included in this list as well. Then I started thinking about a list of things that have yet to be discovered to make our agility dogs more successful? What about a safe, clean, inexpensive, indoor running surface. Or a safe, breakaway tire (possibly one of the new magnetic tire designs???). Or what about about jump heights that can be changed remotely with the flick of a switch or a collapsable chute material that dogs never get tangled in. A killer revolution would be if someone could come up with a fool proof way of teaching a reliable running contact. Man would that be cool, unlikely but way cool. Any others you guys can think of?