Posted by: jility | April 21, 2014

The Emperor’s “New” Clothes

It really doesn’t matter to me which handling system or fancy moves people use in agility. Honestly, I truly don’t give a crap. Everyone has the right to make a choice but that choice should be an educated one.

A while back I wrote a blog titled “In the New Old Fashioned Way.” I outlined how I feel about all the “new” fancy moves in agility (that really aren’t new at all). I won’t go into that again here. What I will go into is the attitude by so many converts regarding the system they once touted as the “ONLY” way to handle, that they now say is completely wrong.

It is a mystery to me how those people who told me, and everyone else, over and over and over again how horrible blind crosses were as well as landing side front, rear crosses on the flat, off arm turns, etc., now do all those things and then some. How were those moves so horrible then but so “NEW” and relevant now? They claim they have “broadened their horizons” but all they have done is gone backwards to handling moves that were used fifteen, twenty or more years ago!

So the fact that they use these old moves and rename them and call them new isn’t the problem I am having. The problem I am having is how they make fun of the moves they once told me and others were so wonderful and how they are so convincing that the way they handle now is the RIGHT way!

Take, for instance, the lead out pivot. I was at a camp once a long time ago where we were given a long lead out. We were told to run it several different ways. There were timers. We did a lead out pivot (LOP), moving front cross, a rear cross and a blind cross. Guess which one was fastest back then? The lead out pivot! So I guess the LOP got slower because people are now being told that the LOP is a very slow way to do a lead out. Now, if the dog has not been trained to do a correct LOP, of course that is true. In the system we use, you do actually have to train the dogs! If my dog doesn’t pick up the LOP, adjust its stride and turn sharply, then I best be getting some training done. I am much too slow to stand at a jump with my hand in my dog’s face to turn them, then get to the other side of the ring to handle something else!

The same is true for front crosses. If you are slow and get in your dog’s way, turn slowly and force your dog wide to get around you, then of course a forced front cross will be slower than a well done blind cross. A forced front cross will also be slower than a well done rear cross! I work too dang hard to get and keep my connection with my dog to purposely break it doing a blind cross! I refuse to go backwards in my handling. I used and perfected blind crosses years ago and then felt the fallout from them and quit using them.

Some claim they use a “motion based” system that is intuitive and requires little or no training. Really? LOLOLOLOL Last I looked, that system we use also uses “motion” as well as other things like handler’s position, acceleration, deceleration, etc. Don’t they all? What a moronic argument! Who buys that crap?

How on earth do these people who are so convinced that what they are doing now is the right way, think we are all such morons that we have forgotten how they were so convinced a year or so ago that what they are now doing was all wrong? How on God’s earth is that possible? Were they lying to us then or are they lying to us now? Either way I feel betrayed by them and sad they think we are so gullible or they are.

They justify the switch by saying the courses have changed, or they run slower now, or faster, or older. I am surprised they don’t say they have gotten younger! As much BS as so many are swallowing about the “new” moves, I am sure there are some great marketers out there who could actually convince some that is true!

I remember being told many years ago when I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted to use the system we now use, that even though I can’t move, this system would allow me to walk around a course and be successful. At first I didn’t buy it. Then, as I learned more and more about the Greg Derrett system, it became obvious that was true. That was twelve years ago and Sir Cussalot and I still use the system today and use it very successfully.

As I wrote above, I don’t care what others do in their handling, I really don’t, but as the great Judge Judy says, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!” I really am not that stupid! HONESTLY! I know my IQ!

I am seeing a lot of fallout from the “new” moves. I am seeing handling cues that mean several different things, biting handlers in the butt. I saw it twelve years ago (the main reason I changed what I was doing back then!) and I am seeing the same fallout now. I experienced the fallout firsthand many years ago and have no desire to go backwards.

If a handler is fast, they can pretty much use whatever system they choose, or no system, and get away with it. Those of us who are mere mortals, have to train our dogs to a higher level and use a system that allows us to get around without being ahead or in our dog’s face.

Recently, a friend told me that somebody, who was once a HUGE user of the system we use, went into great depth as to why all the things she used to say were great, now stink. Why is that? HOW is that? At first I laughed! Then I got angry. The reasons were ludicrous! They made zero sense, yet so many people are buying them hook, line and sinker! NO QUESTIONS ASKED! Many of those instructors used to call the people who used the “new” moves, morons. If that is the case, were those instructors morons then or are they morons now, ‘cause it can’t go both ways? So many are buying these reasons why the “new” way of doing things is so much better! If they just took some time to think it through and see the fallout, perhaps they would see that the Emperor is actually nekkid.





  1. I would have to respectfully disagree with a lot of what you are saying here. I have heard many people (Susan included) routinely pay tribute to the foundation skills that they have learned along the way, regardless of what system they came from. At the end of the day, this sport is about the relationship we build with our dogs – not about critiquing the way each one of us chooses to get through an obstacle course.

    • I only wrote what people who have switched have told me personally. Not sure how you disagree with that. That is what they told me LOL I have no idea why you switched or Susan switched. I only know what those who have switched have told me. I have no idea why others switched and that is not what I wrote about.

  2. I think everyone is on their own journey, and why spend so much time and effort to even worry about what anyone else is doing or saying? There is a lot of negativity in this post. Not your typical humor or positive outlook that I’ve become accustomed to reading for you. People grow and people change, like it or not. Respecting others journeys as you would like them to respect yours.

    • Actually, I thought the blog was funny! I guess my sense of humor is only funny when people agree with me.

  3. Shame on you Helen.

    You say “you don’t care what people do with their handling” well clearly you do care. People have moved on (regardless of what direction you believe “on” is . . . forward or backwards) and it does upset you . . . as evident by the time you have been putting into slamming people who have chosen a different path than you.

    You are a vegan, your bashing people who have left Greg’s system is no different than people bashing a vegan diet. A person moves away from a tradition diet, one that is pretty widely accepted in order to choose a “different way” and all of a sudden everyone is an expert in nutrition and a vegan diet is so terrible. They don’t take the time to research the facts about a vegan diet, they just make up their mind and bash away because in doing so they can justify why they are continuing to eat they way they do. Sound familiar?

    You are listening to gossip and heresy and believing you “know” the ins and outs of what people with their handling and why. Things are rarely has they appear and in this case they are not even remotely as you are portraying them.

    Live and let live Helen.

    Believe me, I have not heard of anyone bad mouthing their roots (maybe I don’t travel in the same circles as you though). I for one have nothing but gratitude for what I learned from Greg Derrett and how it helped me to evolve to where I am now as a handler and every handling lecture I have ever given since I changed my handling I pay homage to Greg for my past success.

    If you would ever want to muddle up your fiction with facts would be happy to fill you in with exactly what many of us are doing with our handling and the reasons behind them.


    • No Susan, I care about the folks I hear making fun of the system they once loved. THAT is what I care about.

      • I suggest you not believe in gossip Helen because I can tell you I don’t “make fun” of Greg Derrett’s system. And as I stated above every handling lecture I have given since I changed my handling I start by acknowledge my success I had with Greg and my gratitude for all I learned from him.
        And even if others are making fun of Greg’s system (just like people making fun of my new Handling360 system) . . .so what!
        I love the Buffalo Bills, people are constantly making fun of me for supporting such a pathetic football team. How does that hurt me as a fan? It doesn’t, if anything it just makes me stronger in my convictions that they are an awesome organization!
        Look for the good and you will find it . . . continue to try to dig up mud and there will always be an unending supply of water and clay that can serve your needs.

        • OH I SEE! You actually thought my blog was about you! It wasn’t LOL. It was about a few people in the States. I have no idea what you are saying about the GD system because I don’t read anything you write! No wonder you got so defensive.

          • No I didn’t read your blog “specifically” about me until your reply to my comment where you implied I needed to be shamed because I was grouped with the people making fun of Greg’s system.

            The rest of what I wrote was just in response to your blog as a whole. That I actually have never heard people “making fun” or doing any of the things you wrote about and that some of your conclusions about why many of us have left Greg’s system are off base.

            • I wrote Shame on you for writing such a nasty comment on my blog! I would never do that to anyone! I figure it is their blog and they are entitled to their opinion. If you don’t like the opinions expressed by the blogger, don’t read it!
              I have no idea why you left the system. I only know the reasons people have told me firsthand why THEY left. Those reasons I wrote in my blog are what I have been told. My blog was not about you.

  4. There was following the crowd in high school, thank God we got out of there alive!….and now there is following the crowd in agility. Can’t we have fun, cheer our friends on and Q?
    Helen yours and Mel’s success speaks for itself.

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