The winning combination
Description: Great Dog Great Handler -The Winning Combination covers in detail Greg Derrett's internationally renowned handling system and will give you the ability to use the advanced handling techniques you require for you and your dog to become a winning combination. It is the third DVD of a series including Agility Foundation Training and Great Dog Shame About the Handler.
Best Features: When I arrived home from a short break in the sun recently, I found the new Greg Derrett training DVD waiting for me to review. I did not look at it straight away as you can imagine, because I was busy catching up after the holiday. Being a bit of an insomniac, I was awake in the middle of the night after a couple of days at home, and thought I would take a look at the DVD – maybe it would even send me back to sleep.
Far from it. Greg gives a no nonsense introduction to the DVD which is a follow up to his previous two, albeit five years later. He talks and trains against the background of what appears to be a model farm with attractive hedging and shrubs surrounding the training area. He looks relaxed and confident and during his introduction he explains that some of the previous training has been updated in the light of later experience, but assumes that viewers will have already seen and acted upon the training offered in Agility Foundation Handling and Great Dog – Shame about the Handler.
Despite not having seen his previous DVDs, I felt that the Winning Combination could be viewed as a stand alone training aid by a reasonably experienced handler.
It is divided into 8 sections, excluding the introduction and conclusion, which follow each other in a logical order, and deal with handling your dog over jumps with many changes of direction. Each section can be accessed separately so that you can work on a section at a time and practice the exercises before moving on to the next one.
Each section is linked on screen to the course diagrams in the accompanying booklet and Gregg gives a verbal description, walks the course with a commentary and then demonstrates the techniques for the sections, which include some interesting pointers on where handlers give the wrong information to their dogs by such things as wrong Position Cues – something I am sure we are all guilty of. He also explains his theory of the Blind Cross Body Line which I found quite logical and a useful thought to hold when running your dog.
The body line runs across the body at shoulder height and is basically an imaginary extension of the arm which describes the arc that the dog will follow to try and reach the handler’s front. He will want to reach the front because he is trained to assume that all reward comes from the front of the handler and, therefore, it is in his interests to reach that point.
He also gives a useful alternative to the more common 'Steady,' which tightens the dog’s turn without slowing his speed in the section on the 'Dig' command.
I was surprised when I went to try out some of the instructions to find that the first drill required 15 jumps, but was relieved to find that the following exercises could be undertaken with only a few. I found that although I am obviously older and less fit than Greg, I could actually carry follow the handling rules with my dog and she understood exactly what I wanted her to do without any verbal instruction.
Could be improved: Personally I felt that there were too many plugs for the two previous DVDs which I had not seen. They were mentioned in the Introduction which was quite sufficient for me. I did not find the 'out-takes were funny and felt they didn't add anything to the DVD. The title of 'Mother Flickers' could have been better named 'Handling Errors.'
I wonder if the description of 'advanced handling' might put off some competent handlers who do not think they are at that level when in fact it is ideal for Grade 3 upwards where the dog has good basic training.
Production: The presentation was very clear from the start and the packaging set the scene for the DVD. There is a booklet of course diagrams which tie in very well with the demonstrations on screen. Universal format. Will play on most DVDs in most countries. 1 hour 40 minutes.
Overall Rating: 9/10.
Price: £29.95 plus £1.95 (UK Mainland) from Agility Warehouse
Value for money: All in all, I thought the DVD was a very useful training aid, especially to a very competitive handler. It is well presented and has some interesting new ideas, although I think that the cost might limit its market a little.
As one of the Top agility instructors Greg conducts seminars worldwide covering all levels of handling and training in competition dog agility.
He is based in the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire area in the UK.
She is 62 and breeds alpacas.