December 17, 2021

Episode 297: Function Before Fashion

In this episode (35:33)

In this podcast, the BDA crew share how the sport shapes their fashion choices on course!

You Will Learn

  • Why Jennifer never wears sunglasses.
  • How people with long hair might benefit from a ponytail.
  • How your clothing choices may affect your dog’s performance.

(upbeat music) - Welcome to Bad Dog Agility, a podcast helping you reach all of your dog agility goals, whether it's competing under the bright lights of the televised finals at Westminster or successfully navigating a homemade course in your own backyard, we'll bring you training tips, interviews and news about the great sport of dog agility. Are you ready? - I'm ready. - I'm ready. - I'm ready. - The

show starts with your hosts, Jennifer, Esteban and Sarah. (upbeat music) - I'm Jennifer. - I'm Esteban. - And I'm Sarah, and this is episode 297. Today's podcast is brought to you by and the new Teeter Teach It, an easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter, so you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go to for the

new Teeter Teach It and other training tools, and toys. Use discount code BDA10 to get 10% off your order, that's Today we're gonna be talking about fashion for dog agility and before you decide to skip this podcast, this is important for your agility performance, we're gonna talk about the intersection of agility performance and fashion. - And we're talking about handler fashion, right? - Handler fashion, not dog

fashion, yeah, yeah we could talk about that at a different time. And we were chit-chatting just you know because we like to talk to each other about agility, because that's what we all do and I was telling Jennifer about a feedback that I did where I almost told somebody, "You need to put your hair in a ponytail." Because like during the feedback, while I was looking at it

in slow motion, like as the handler's running, she has to you know take her hand and like move her hair behind her ear, and I thought you know, that's gonna take away some of the concentration of the handler if nothing else and as soon as I said that, Jen went on a like a five minute manifesto about hair and agility, and we said, "Okay, it's not just us,"

yeah, "It's not just us." So, you know we all have thoughts on this, so here we are. - Yeah, while you thought about telling your student to do something with their hair, I just flat out tell them, it's a thing, hair must be tied back and out of your face for the standpoint of eye-contact, so I grew up you know doing agility as a kid, my mom taught

4H and you know we all had those little rules that you would tell students in the beginning and my mom would always tell the junior handlers, "Rule number one, keep your eye on your dog." Well, guess what you can't do, you can't keep your eye on your dog if your hair's down, dangling in your face or you're distracted using your hand as you said, putting it behind your

ear, so it was always one of those fundamental principles, like okay you're getting ready to go to agility class, you know A make sure you have tennis shoes, you're gonna be running, but B you've gotta have a hair tie, hair's gotta be up, all right? We're not going for a fashion statement, so I have had numerous students who may or may not listen to this podcast, who I

have told them, "All right, go put your hair up, tie your hair up, next lesson it better be back in a pony tail." Both primarily from the standpoint of eye contact, you know you're looking back and your hair's dangling down, but also as you mentioned, the distraction, right if you're using your hands to put it back behind your hair, brush it or behind your ear brush it out

of your face, that's distracting from the cues that you're giving, so I'm giving you permission Sarah, you don't have to think that you should tell them, you can tell them, "Hair back!" - Yeah, so the conversation starts with hair and I had the same experience when I was doing a feedback for someone because I had seen the handler both with hair up and hair down, and there was

a spot I think where the dog missed a blind-cross cue, essentially the dog stayed, no, blinded when the handler did not want the dog to fly and when I froze the video, and ran it through slow-motion, you can pretty see clearly that there is a period of time where both arms are up, right so generally as people put up the arm change, they're not quite as fast to

put down the arm that's currently up, right? So, there's a brief moment of time where most people, I'd say almost everyone, has two arms up. - Right. - Right? And at that moment also because her hair was covering almost the entirety of her face and is a very symmetric haircut, and goes around the back, like you can't see which shoulder she's turning over, like I can't tell from

the video if she's looking over her left shoulder or her right shoulder, so you have ambiguous head position, right? You lose the cue of being able to see the side of your handler's face from the dog's perspective and both arms are up, right? And the motion is ambiguous because the two lines are very, very similar, right? They're, it's gonna be the same motion and direction that the handler's

facing either way, and so the dog just in a split second made the wrong choice, right? So, I had wondered in my head, well you know that's, "What would it look like if your hair was up?" Right? And then you can really clearly see. Now, of course we have to distinguish between superstitious behavior and right things that are really gonna matter to the dog, so what kind of

dog's is this not going to matter to? I think dog's that are maybe highly verbal, right? And obviously they're never looking at the handler's or if you have a dog and Jennifer, tell me what you think about this theory, this one I've heard for years and years, and years, small dogs look at handler's legs, and they don't look up at the face, and they don't really notice the

arms as much, I'm not sure I buy the arm thing, but maybe that it would be less of a big deal because the obstacles themselves including wings that you can't see through many times, simply obstruct their view or the handler and so they learn, "Hey, I can't see the face anyway, I'm not going to rely on that as any kind of cue." What do you think about that?

- I certainly think having run both large and small dogs, there is some merit to that, right? That the little dogs aren't always gonna be staring straight up at your face, but the flip side of that is the dogs that I have always have the hardest time maintaining eye-contact and connection with or I've lost you know that perception of you lose your dog on a front or blind

cross is the littlest dogs I run, so Clever, most of you guys maybe remember Clever, she's a little, tiny 12in tall black Sheltie, so she's black, so she you know, easy to lose her that way and she was so small, and she was the dog that I would always kind of like lose, she was the hardest for me to keep an eye on, because now I'm kind of

looking down, which from the perspective of like keeping connection, you know the more you're looking down, the more that hair's gonna kinda come into your face or come over to the side where the big Border Collie Sonic who jumped 26in, 126in because he's like up more and the jumps are high, and I can look more out as opposed to more down, I would think something like that would

be less of an issue. So, I do think that the little dogs may be less inclined to look at your eye-contact and more inclined to watch your legs, and the motion that you're gonna be having, versus the eye contact, I agree with you on the hands, that can kinda be argued, but I could almost say that then for the little ones, it's more important for you to ensure

really solid eye-contact because of how easy it is to lose them and how quick they can pop behind you. - Mhm. - Yeah. No, sorry I was gonna say and the other thing that I think it doesn't really matter from the dog's point of view is the handler's own perception and peripheral vision, right? Like you lose your own peripheral vision when your hair is down and you can't

see out of the sides of your eye, and you have to turn your head, and so I think even if it weren't for the dog, like the handler still. - Yeah, that's what's so interesting about this, you're coming out at you and I from two different perspectives, you're looking at it, "Well, oh I'm obscuring my own vision as the handler." - That's probably because it's never really happened

to you very much. - Right, because I've never really had long hair. - Right. - And when I did, I wore it up in a ponytail. - Man bun. - A man, is that what it's called? - Yes. - A man bun, I had a man bun, okay. So, yeah no I had to get that out of my face, so I could see the dog better, but I'd

be more concerned about you know the dog being able to see the side of my face because I've definitely given the feedback where, "Okay hey, we know briefly your arms are gonna be ambiguous, the position's gonna be ambiguous or you're out of position, the motion you haven't started in the correct direction yet, how can we get the dog in to the correct side or to turn a little

bit tighter?" And I say, "Even though you can't look far enough back to see your dog and to actually make physical eye contact because they're more directly behind you for example and if you did that, you would I don't know, run into a wing or something, or get tripped up over the dogwalk, so you have to be able to look forward, but if you turn your face to

the side and show them that side of your face, that's such a strong part of their cue and their training from when they were puppies to come to that specific side of your face because no one ever looks over their left shoulder and then suddenly rewards with the right hand on the other side of the body, right? That's always the start of the motion in-toward the dog where

they're going to come to reinforcement." So, it's such a strong cue to me to come to the correct side, that side where they see your face for that reinforcement and so you know if I'm giving that advice, "Hey, you don't actually have to see your dog, you don't have to see where they are, you don't have to see the whites of their eyes, but just show them the

side of your face to help them out and do that as quickly as you can, and then you know for whatever reason you're delaying, you don't have to turn your actual body or shoulders, or whatever." So, you know it makes sense for us to say, "Hey, put up your hair." Okay, so related to hair, the thing that goes on top of your hair, I wanna hear Jennifer's take

on hats and I wanna approach this two ways, people who wear hats all the time, I think that's one thing and then people who don't normally wear hats because it's not required at their training and then they go to a new facility, and then for some reason they need to wear a hat, usually maybe they're outdoor, maybe they'd normally train indoors and then they're going outdoors or maybe

vice-versa, but what are all your thoughts on hats? - I would fall into that second category, you know everything here in Ohio is indoors, but I've gone to you know outdoor locations, outdoor shows, Incredible Dog Challenge, you know out of state or whatever and wanted the hat, but for me, while I love hats in everyday life and have no problem you know putting one on to wear to

a sports game or whatever, I just don't feel comfortable with them running for agility because I worry about the visual, right? I worry about now something's overtop of my head, so I lose that and even though it doesn't affect my peripheral vision, so it's not really an issue, theoretically shouldn't be an issue with connecting with my dog while also seeing where I'm going, I worry that you know,

again think little dog, I'm looking down and now all of a sudden they see is the top of my hat or the bill of my hat and not the eyes, and not the connection there, I am just not inclined to wear a hat while running, I know some people will use like visors, so they're kinda smaller, not the bulkiness of the hat, so just enough to have like

the bill, so the dog can see a little bit more. I think for me, in my thoughts on it, my opinion on it is that it's a frequency that you wear it, if it's something that you wear all the time, you know I think of a couple people come to mind, Dave Grubel and Andy Mueller being two iconic men who always wear hats and have their lucky hat,

and their special hat, I mean their dogs are probably very used to it, they're very comfortable with it, but I think the thing that I would say is make sure you experiment, make sure you practice with it, if you anticipate you're gonna go from Ohio and then go down to a show in Florida, you should probably do some training in Ohio with the hat on, not just show

up in Florida at the competition with the hat and it's not just maybe you're fine with it, but the dogs catch things differently or see things differently, so for me it affects my connection, my visual and therefore I choose not to wear one. - Yeah, I think there might even be some handler psychology there, this goes back to the idea that we wanna train, how you trial, you

wanna trial how you train and I don't wanna try on my new running shoes for the first time at a competition, I wanna make sure that I break those in, the dog's used to seeing me like that, when I first started wearing masks, actually let's before we get to masks, let me throw a curve ball here, what about sunglasses? And glasses? Let's talk about that because I wear

contacts now and I have for years, and years, like I think the entirety of my agility career, what about you, Jen? I see you're wearing glasses right now. - I was just gonna say for those you know that obviously are listening, you can't see I'm in glasses right now and I actually think you guys have asked in the past, "Do you wear glasses when you run?" And no

I don't, but not for any particular reason, but I absolutely, positively it's a hill I will die on, do not wear sunglasses when I run, I don't care how bright it is and how blind it is, I absolutely take them off, for all the reasons that I've mentioned, more so than the hat, I would be more inclined to run in a hat than I would be to run

in sunglasses, you know you commented about like in a scenario of a blind cross, kinda having the dog turn and see the side of your head, and that would still work, but there's just eye-contact and connection with my dog is just so big, I can see what my dog's doing, I can see my dog at any point of the course and the sunglasses just make it seem like

I can see them and they can't see me, so we really can't have the connection and having dogs that are so in tune with where I'm looking, I'll use Pink as an example, her left and right verbals got so dependent on where I was looking that I would line her up neutrally, directly between me, right between my legs, staring at a jump and I would ask her to

turn left or ask her to turn right, and I think, "Oh, she was doing so good!" And it turns out, she was just going where I would look, so if I'd look at the right wing and ask for a left-hand turn, she would turn right, so I actually when working on the verbals, that was a scenario where in training I put the sunglasses on, oh boy her head

exploded on that, she was like, "Wait a minute!" So, I know firsthand exactly how much she keys off of where I'm looking, you know or how many times on a forward send, or something with distance you've told people, "Look at the bar, look at the jump you want the dog to go to, don't stare at the dog when you wanna obstacle focus and vice-versa," and I feel like

all of that goes away with sunglasses, so I'm a big advocate for no sunglasses, but I also live in Ohio, so anybody who's listening from the sunny states of like Florida, California, they're gonna go, "We wear them all the time and our dogs figure it out!" I'm sure some of it is like the hat, you know? If you get used to it, they get if they learn that

way, then they learn that way. - They need to pickup on different cues, that's pretty interesting, right? - I was gonna say, I was gonna throw people. - You can run some experiments here. - I was gonna throw people a bone who do run with sunglasses that are despondent because Jennifer said that like she 1,000% says no sunglasses and I would say I just, I can't, I can't

do that, I can't say 1,000% no sunglasses because I do live in a very, very sunny, bright state and I have like notoriously sensitive eyes, you know like among my family my family of brown-eyed, of people that think my light eyes are funny, that I'm just so sensitive to the light, every time I go get my eyes checked, my doctor comments on it because they shine that light

in your eye and it's like my eyes are just like pouring water out, right? And it's the tears, they're so reactive and I just can't help it, so it's like I cannot, I mean I wouldn't be able to run in really bright sun, like I just wouldn't be able to keep my eyes open, you know I would have to squint or put my hands over. - I'm sure

there are pictures of you running in sunglasses. - Yeah I'm pretty sure if USDA assigned a sport, I think I would run. - Yeah for me, kind of an iconic person you know I mentioned the two people I think of immediately for hats is the person I think immediately for sunglasses and if she ever hears this, she'll probably laugh is Kate Monroe (everyone speaking together) and I don't

know if I can think of a time I haven't seen her run in sunglasses and she is incredibly accomplished with tons of connection with her dog, but that's all they have is outdoor, so again her dogs have gotten used to it, but I mean I'll see her at indoor shows and they're popped up on top of her head, so for me, I don't run in sunglasses and I

would wear them like all day, I remember at The Incredible Dog Challenge, I would wear them all day and then I'd go in, and like take the leash off, and take the sunglasses off, and hand them with the leash runner, and then put them back on. So, I do think the dogs get accustomed to a lot of things and dramatic changes of any type from one way or

the other can affect them, so for my dogs, putting them on would be tough, I think maybe it's me, maybe I'm the one who can't cope with the sunglasses more than the dog. - I mean I know like I went to The Clicker Expo which is like put on by Karen Pryor and with all of these like amazing clicker trainer trainers, so this is not agility specific whatsoever,

but they do have a lot of like studied stuff, they run a lot of experiments, they have people on staff that go back to like universities, and put together studies that they do on different learning, and psychology type things, and they talked a little bit about the importance of eye-contact and how just to try like putting on sunglasses, and asking your dog to just sit or down, or

anything like that. So, it's definitely something that people are thinking about and talking about, but I think like Jennifer said like maybe they can't see my eyes, but maybe there are so many other cues that it just doesn't matter for my dog in those situations, right? My dog is just going to go off of like head position, you know where your chin is pointing, things like that, so

I think you could probably you know like Jennifer said it's very contextual and very dog handler specific. - Well, I'm also thinking that it's sports-specific, right? So, you have these clicker trainers up there on stage and their dogs are doing very static behavior where both the handler and the dog are basically stationary, agility is very much based on movement, so if you think about the sports that you

play, are you necessarily always seeing eye-contact, right? If a quarterback is hitting a receiver 20 yards down the field, you probably can't see their eyes, especially buried within the helmet, but based on the movement pattern of your target, you can anticipate where they're going to be and get the ball there to them, right? But in other spots and here I'm thinking basketball where the players are much closer,

they don't have helmets, that moment of eye-contact immediately indicates to a teammate, now is the time to make your cut, by the time you get there, the pass is going to be there, you know there's a communication that passes between you, right? And I think there are times, and I am thinking very much after crosses, front crosses, things like that, in fact we were taping the sequence, what

is it called? (speaking together) So, we were transitioning between the old guard to the new guard and me, and the new dog are taking over from Sarah, and the old dog, and you know the dog's incredibly (indistinct), and you just take things for granted, and one of them is picking them up after turns when they were like blind cross traps sitting right behind you and you know you're

just driving them into the tunnel, but having that momentary connection and eye-contact, they just feel it, right? That you start to turn your head toward them and it's just like a magnet, but now they look at you, right? And then you're like, "Hey, we're going over here, wink, wink," you know? Keep turning, we're headed this way and so you know I think there is something to that, I

definitely wanna hear from all the listeners, so people who wear hats a lot or sometimes, people who wear sunglasses all the time, people who got LASIK and they stopped wearing glasses, how much more did you like it? I know that when I transitioned from glasses which I wore through all of college, it was in medical school that I switched to contacts, it was life changing for me, in

sports, remember I had been playing basketball since I was like I don't know 11 or 12 and now 10 years later, 11 years later I switched to contacts and I'm like, "Oh my God, if I had been having contacts, you know I'd be in the NBA or something, it's just amazing!" So, maybe people out there had that same experience with agility, I'm just very interested in hearing about

it, send your comments, post them on Facebook, send it to us privately, what is the address they use to contact us? -, team like T-E-A-M, like we are a team. - There you go, I want to hear about your experiences. Okay, so we've covered hair. - Okay wait, wait but before we move on from these three that we've covered hair, glasses, hats, I'm gonna come back again

to saying, but with all of this, with the hats and the sunglasses too, like you have to have it secure, right? - What do you mean secure? - So, what I mean is like when people are like running and they reach up to like push their sunglasses up while they're running, I'm like that can't possibly be the most efficient, it's gotta take, I've seen people have like late

cues because they're dealing you know just momentarily with like pulling their hat down on their head or something, I'm just like, I'm like let's just not add to what the handler has to deal with on course, right? Let's make it as easy as possible. - Yeah, yeah I'm good with that. Okay, so now let's go onto clothing, right? Why stop at hats and glasses when we can talk

about all kinds of things? So, the next thing is training clothing and for me the big thing is wearing whatever you're gonna wear in practice. So, you know, I know there are a lot of people out there, maybe you've never even thought of this, but you wear kinda your grungy dog clothes and you wear all of the same thing to every class, every week and it probably has

a lot of pockets, and you probably wear it several times before you wash it, it smells like dog food and stuff like that, okay then you go to the big AKC Nationals, you get dressed up, you throw makeup on your face, you don't normally wear makeup, all right? You do your hairstyle different, you look different, you're a little nervous, you're wearing all your new clothes and your new,

you know if you got Beardie's, now you've got this awesome new Beardie shirt you've never worn before, you want everybody to see it, what I'm saying is, something different about you and guess who's gonna notice? Right, maybe your dog, so that's where I come from as a person, I'm like whatever I'm going to wear, I want to have trained with that and so here is part of clothing

I will throw in masks and I know that everybody's wearing masks now, but I was wearing masks before it was cool or uncool depending on your perspective, your take on masks and this was at dirt shows four/five years ago I think I started it, right? So, I showed up at Nationals, but I did not just show up at Nationals wearing a mask because I had these concerns and

the concerns were, could the dog hear me? And my voice, my voice was going to sound different, the quality of my voice was going to sound different, I was concerned about how my face would look to the dog, would they be weirded out, right? Would they be spooked? Is a white mask better than a black mask? Were there differences there? And I went, and I tested all of

those things, I practiced in the gym, I did wind sprints with the mask on to make sure that physically I could handle it, so you wanna do all of these things, you wanna practice how you trial, right? You wanna trial how you practice and that is part of it. I wanna hear now Jennifer's take on clothing. - So, I'm gonna call out my mom real quick on the

mask one, hopefully she's listening. So, we're at EO tryouts two weekends ago and she gets done with her first run, and she's like, "Do you have any extra masks in your car? I wore this new one and it just, I don't feel like he can hear me and it's thicker, and it's sliding around, you know?" And off to my car I go to get my multiple masks, and

I looked at her, and I said, "You have been planning for this event for months and you waited until the day of the show to put on that mask and test it?" She goes, "I know." So, do not be my mom, put your mask on, test it out, train in it, make sure it's good, she got this new one ready to go, she was that person you were

just describing, but in terms of fashion, you were commenting about kind of different eyewear for different sports, right? You know the clicker trainers on a stage versus the movement and as you were saying that earlier I was thinking different dog sports and clothing, right? So, in obedience which is what I started in, it was very part of what you were taught, or part of what you were prepped

for is to wear pants that were a similar color to your dogs, that every little millimeter that they were off on their heeling, the judge hopefully wouldn't see it, right? (group speaking together) - I thought so when she said that earlier. - Interesting. - Gray dog, gray pants, light colored dog, you know a Golden Retriever wear kakis, you know? So that they wouldn't notice those little millimeters they

were off and in confirmation, it's very much about matching the color with the dog, so you know Swift being a Blue Merle, you would wear contrasting colors, things that were bright colors, you know that match the dog, you wouldn't wear a black suit with a Flat Coat Retriever, you would wear you know red or blue, or you know something, but I've never until recently thought about color as

it pertained to agility, so my question for you guys is you mentioned about the practicing and wearing the quality of your clothes, but do you plan for the color that you wear based on the venue in which you show or the surface in which you show? - I'll let Sarah answer first. - I do not, I have heard of it as a thing and I might, if I

were the type of person that typically wore something that could blend into my surroundings, then maybe I would pay more attention to it, but it's kind of like it almost doesn't apply because in my entire closet, there's really, I don't think there's anything that I couldn't wear in any venue because I've just, I don't know, I don't have a lot of variety in my clothes, I tend to

always wear like gray, black, red, you know it's like almost all of those are gonna work almost anywhere and so yeah so it was never really an issue, but I have heard of it and I think that if somebody were to like you know wear all one color and it matched exactly, I would probably raise my eyebrow at them. - All right, well I will say that I

absolutely do and I think this has actually happened, I think I've been at a team tryout where it was in one of those indoor soccer arenas and so it's got the wall, and then plexiglass that makes the wall even higher, and the plexiglass is obviously see-through, but the wall is like painted solid white and so if I had for example a white shirt, I would wear a dark

jacket for the contrast to make sure they can see my upper body and that also like arm movements, and things like that, like I'm very big on arms and arm changes, so a lot of this is gonna depend like on how dependent your dog is on your body and how you use your body, right? So, it would be very different if for example you know I only had

one arm, or you see people who have had strokes where they're affected on one side, so they can't use the arm and so dogs will learn to cue off a variety of different things, but I do think about that and it's one of the things I look at, mostly to see if they can see the first weave poll properly coming from their perspective or is the color of

the poll blending into something nearby. - The background, now that I do think about. - Weighing and things like that, so if you're thinking about that from a jumping perspective, why wouldn't you consider it from your clothing perspective? And for that reason I try not to wear the same color top and bottom, so I like to go dark light or light dark, or just make sure that they're

two different colors in general, but I've also run with a solid parka, like cold is cold, but I will endure being freezing cold and run without a jacket or switch to a lighter jacket. - That's more I think for mobility though, at least for me, like I'll take off the jacket for the mobility because I feel like constrained by the parka, but not with the color. - Right,

but I would practice it, if I knew I were going to a cold weather place or Nationals, or whatever, if it wear 80° here, I would put the parka on and run in 80° with that parka, so the dog can see and if you look at it on video, you look very different because a parka you look kinda like a Christmas tree, like no matter from what angle

they see you, it's like you look the same, you look kinda symmetric when you're wearing a big jacket or a big overcoat, especially one that expands below the waist, right? Whereas otherwise if you have jacket and pants, like your back looks quite a bit different from the front, so I don't know, that's just something I think about. What do you think, Jen? - Well, the color of attire

was brought up to me recently because at my facility the walls are white and somebody, I was having a conversation and they were hesitant to buy a white top because they're like, "Well, I have to contrast with the walls." And it was just not, (speaking together) yeah and it was just like something I had never thought about, you know that they didn't wanna wear a white shirt, a

white top because the facility that they train in, my facility has white walls, so now I feel like I need to go to NAC in April in Ocala and wear dark colors because there the surface is, it's such a bright facility, I actually got out a picture from the Premiere Cup and showed them how bright it was there because the surface you know I think a lot of

people are preparing dirt and a lot of times those dirts, it's dark, it's dark brown, the lighting is bad and it's very dark, and you wanna wear light colors, but NAC for those of you going, it is like sand, it's like white beach sands, white sand beach, whatever. And it's very well lit, so it's very, very, very bright, there was a lot of concern that at The Premiere

that's why dogs were missing the weave poll, so I think in that case, a dark coloring, dark shirt, dark pants or whatever would be better than something white or light colored, so that was just brought to my attention, but I'm with Sarah, it is not something that I've ever thought about, honestly I wear dark colors so that I look better in the photographer's photos. - Nice, nice. -

Honestly laying it out there, black on black makes me look good when the photographer takes their photos. - So, dark colors, that's you're secret? All right, everybody write that down, I'm gonna try that, I'm just taking out my light clothes, just throwing them away. - I don't know why you would wear light clothes to dog training, like I just guess I'm used to like big dogs paws on

you, I'm like nope, dark you know dark gray. - Well, I like white because it is I think brighter, so we used to run in those outdoor dirt shows with like shadows, like you know you're in the sunlight and then you come in, and everything is super dark, and those old camcorders just could not adjust well? Right? Low quality videos and I thought, "Huh, maybe my dog's eyes

are the same, I'm just gonna wear a white shirt so they can see me bright and clearly against this brown dirt." - All right. - That's what I would do, but then you could wear kakis or whatever pants but yeah, just interesting, interesting. Okay, so that's clothes and I guess while we're at it, we should talk about shoes. So, same principle, you don't wanna break in shoes at

the trial. - Yeah, here's what, the advice I'm gonna give for shoes. - What do you think about shoes? - Okay, here's what I think about shoes and I know because we do this, and we shouldn't, and we know better, right? But that is that you should be wearing your training shoes you know in your backyard, in your practice, every time you go out and not just saving

them for the shows, here I'm talking about cleats. So, first of all, I believe you should be wearing cleats, I'm just gonna say it, I believe everybody should be wearing some form of cleat on almost any surface and there's you know there's cleats that are very small and while we're at it, I'm just gonna give my recommendation, we get indoor soccer shoes and they've always been fantastic, that's

my favorite for like versatility, they work in grass, they work in dirt. - Running shoes, trail shoes, those tend to slip on. - Right! So, we like indoor soccer shoes, but here what I'm gonna say is that sometimes you'll go out and be like, "You know what? I'm just gonna do a couple of weave polls, I don't need my cleats, I'm just gonna throw on my Crocs, right?

- Why are you looking at me? - Because we have both, but you have done it multiple times have both gone out in our Crocs, then decided, "Oh, let me just do a little you know quick sequence." And then fallen over or turned your ankle, or something because you're wearing your Crocs instead of your cleats. - What? No, if I did that it's because I saw Jen doing

it. Just out there in slippers, just doing stuff. - So, now I make myself put on my cleats every time I go out to work the dog because you never know. - Yeah, I've been getting better about that, what about you, Jen? - I'm similar to what Sarah mentioned, the person who doesn't necessarily follow their own advice, I am a slipper trainer, that's my favorite kind of training

is training in my slippers, but I will say I've never worn shoes for the first time at the event, like I've never shown up, opened up the box and been like, "Look at these pretty new shoes, let's wear them today." I've always worn them and tested them out, I will say I tend to have different shoes for different surfaces, I like to keep some of my pretty shoes

on the turf and my dirt shoes on dirt, but I still never let them be worn the first time and definitely for dirt surfaces, something with a cleat-type you know bottoms, but I don't coordinate my color to match the dog or any form of what they're seeing, it's just at that point now more for traction and grip than anything from the performance standpoint of the dog. - Right,

yeah when we had a lot of dirt shows, we did have our dirt pair and our non-dirt pair, and it was like you said, it was less about the difference in the cleat and more about like we just didn't wanna you know get our, we wanted to have a pair that wasn't just like dusty and disgusting, and everything like that. - Yeah. - Yeah. - Yeah. - All

right. - Well, I think we've covered everything, but we really wanna hear back from y'all on this one. - Yeah! - You know, are you dressing to optimize for performance, either your own or your dog's, are you more about the fashion or are you more about the superstitions? I think three different things that go into our fashion choices as agility trainers and handlers. - That's right, now that's

it for this week's podcast. We'd like to thank our sponsor Happy training. (upbeat music) - Thank you for listening to Bad Dog Agility, we hope you enjoyed today's episode, for more information, updates and links to all our socials, just check out our website, If you haven't already signed up for our email subscription, we would love to have you join the BDA community, until next time, take

care. (upbeat music)

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