I want to expand something I’ve touched on in two recent posts, and that’s balance. Devon and I are really hitting our stride in training. I’m loving starting every day and going home every evening to train her. That has not always been the case with us, and we’ve really struggled especially last year. I think I’ve hit on some of the reasons why we’re doing well now, and they have everything to do with balance.
- I’m keeping my training sessions short; no more than 15 minutes. This way I concentrate on what I need to get accomplished, and I’m leaving Devon wanting more.
- We are at various stages in all her sports. In agility, we’re refining and building on skills. In obedience, we’re just learning skills. In field, we’re doing advanced skills. In tracking, we’re applying solid skills to new situations.
- We’re not competing in all sports at once … yet. In field and tracking, we’re between levels and learning new skills that are built on previous foundation. In agility, we’re preparing to complete for the “first” time. In obedience, we’re building a foundation. I can see a day when we’ll compete in multiple sports at once, but for now we’re not.
- I’m focusing on her learning and training process. I’m working at teaching her skills and perfecting them; I’m not focusing on when she’ll be ready to compete.
- And mostly, my attitude is in the right place! This is probably the key to all the others. I’m simply enjoying training Devon. I’m enjoying the look on her face as she learns new obedience skills. I’m baby talking and praising her on the way in from each bumper in her really tough field drills, because I know she’s working her guts out for me – and in return she’s “smiling” and wagging her tail and RUNNING in with her bumper. I’m setting frustration aside and enjoying the journey – and that’s something new for me. It used to be about the Q. When Devon got hurt this spring I was angry and depressed. We had goals, and we had things to do. But now I’m finding the “game” is about reaching the goal; the journey.