Some friends and I were chatting about running really hard courses, both in competition and in practice. It was mentioned that there are a number of people who are getting bored with agility. Once you get a couple of MACH's/ADCH's that is not challenge enough anymore. We were not trying to diminish that accomplishment (they are huge), but really expressing that we don't learn as much from the third MACH/ADCH as the first and that there has to be more challenges placed in front of us.
She said "People are not going to be interested in learning unless the test (agility test) gets harder"
I loved this statement. When reflecting inwardly on this statement I find it to be very true or key to what keeps me motivated and learning. For me personally, I always have to have challenges that are beyond my current capabilities. This is what keeps me wanting to continue my education. Think about it, why would you continue to learn calculus if you were only tested on multiplication flash cards?
|Hoot pondering life|
We as trainers and competitors are figuring how to train ourselves and our dogs with greater competency and efficiency than say even 5 years ago. Our young novice dogs frequently have skills that our seasoned 7 year old dogs don't have. Our teachers are presenting foundation classes that challenge the skills of my 10 year old agility dog. Novice dogs are entering the ring with an intense love for the game.
I believe that we as trainers and competitors, have outpaced our agility organizations (USDAA, AKC, etc...). We are learning, training, and adapting faster to harder challenges in our classes and daily training then these organizations can present courses to test those skills. The gap has grown. If the gap continues to grow, we are going to lose the innovators in our sport if we don't continue to challenge them intellectually. People who need to be stimulated by the challenges will move on to new challenges.
I will speak only for myself, I can get slightly bored. Not because I can run every course clean, I don't. But I want to come home from trials with a list of to-do items that inspire me to get better. I want to see sequences that presented challenges. Challenges that I had not thought about training until that day. Or perhaps caused me to think about my cues and feel the necessity to be even more clear for my dog.
How do you cue a tunnel entrance if it is two tunnels nested together? How do you cue the dog walk when it is has a tunnel entrance on both sides? What new skills do I need to develop to get the backside of a jump right after a straight tunnel?
For me the challenges don't always have to be physical (for me or my dog), but must always grab my intellect.
P.S. Training puppies keeps me interested, but I can't keep getting puppies