So, these overseas competitors then, why do we make an extra effort to invite them to KC International Festival? Why are we keen to have their judges at this show too? and why do we make an extra effort to watch them in the ring?
Well one answer is we humans look out for things that look different. Different clothing, different language, different people, and in agility world, different dogs and different handling........you knew that one was coming didn't you!
There is no doubt that competitors in Europe are exposed to a lot more variety of handlers and their techniques than we are. I have friends in Belgium who regularly travel to The Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria etc.. to compete. It's no different than us travelling across the UK.
These different cultures and backgrounds influence attitudes and behaviours which are reflected in actions - in our case dog training & handling.
I stick to my thoughts and observations that there is no right or wrong handling system out there. It's very much down to what you're are comfortable with and what works for you. The only definite no debate point for me is what ever handling system you use take time to understand the principle and theory behind it and then practice, practice and practice until habits start to form (that's another blog story). Finally stick to it and be consistent don't swap and change with the weather.
I've gone off topic....
The overseas competitors come with different handling systems, some work very well, some work some times and they are all enthusiastic and work very hard. In my view that's because they've spent a lot of money and gone to a lot of effort to attend this show. Who wouldn't work hard when you've just driven from Spain or Portugal!
The other big noticeable point for me watching the overseas competitors is they all work together and support each other. 'High fives' were going off all around the ring after each round, they walked the courses together, watched each other and sat together. That was good to see.
Judging will be my next blog entry.