Thursday, February 5, 2009

My recent train of thought

After last weekend, I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing videos not only of Devon, but also elite handlers and their baby dogs. Repeatedly I’ve been reminded that baby dogs are just that – they are babies. They have moments of brilliance and moments that resemble a train wreck. It’s been nearly 5 years since I’ve had an agility dog at this stage, and quite frankly I’ve forgotten what it’s like.

I want to say publicly how VERY GRATEFUL I am for the emails I’ve received this week saying how great Devon looks in agility. I really needed to hear that because it made me go back and review her runs and pull out all the brilliant moments and stack them up. It didn’t take me too long to agree – she looks fantastic! She has some incredible skills for a girl who wasn’t even doing a full-sized teeter 5 months ago (and was still having fear issues with it).

These thoughts led me to examining what I want to focus on in each training session; what skills are solid and what skills do we need to improve. Further, I’ve been thinking a lot this week about out long-term and short-term goals and prioritizing them. For instance, I told Linda at HY-BAR that my obedience goal with Devon this year was earning her CD. Linda’s response was earning Devon’s CD is very doable; BUT since we want some nice scores (and we believe she’s capable of them), we don’t want to rush her.

Then along comes yesterday’s post on Susan Garrett’s Dog Training Blog. Susan may have written this for one of her students, but the One who looks after me was whispering in her ear that I needed this post right now, too. I need to remember that sometimes you’re Winning When You Lose and Losing When You Win. I could have held Devon’s contacts longer last weekend, and I had a start line issue, too. So, because my goal for Devon is a MACH, we’re going to settle in and focus on all her basic skills now. I can’t wait for tonight’s agility class!

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