I have a lot of swirly whirly thoughts right now.
The good news: none of them are bad!
Good thing #1. The Dog is fixed!
After her last show I was seriously worried that she had somehow reinjured her shoulder. I put her on the Boring Regime. How boring for her. Even on the Boring Regime her stride was hinky, so after a few days I asked my student (wonderful, generous student who is a vet) if she wouldn’t mind watching her walk to see if I was crazy or not. Wonderful, generous student she is, she did a full on chiro adjustment and evaluation. Love! Poor little Dog was all kinds of out of sorts in her neck, which explains what I was seeing in her gait and jumping. We had a follow up at my normal chiro vet Tuesday who did a little work with her spine but declared NO SHOULDER ISSUE! Woo! and cleared her back to Normal Regime. Thank all that is holy because…
Good thing #2. We had a seminar with Daisy Peel Wednesday!
I’m so aglow after yesterday. It was exactly what I needed. Were we perfect? Nope. But finally FINALLY we are getting somewhere.
The last day of the seminar was “Handling like a Pro.” Lots of jumps, tunnels and weaves. Slightly awkward lines, Trappy McTrapperson off course draws and- a ban on verbal directional cues. She wanted us to work on communicating with our bodies. Well, to be more specific, our shoulders and legs. Not so much the windmill arms or jazz hands. And that we had to rely on MOTION CUES and LOCATION CUES. You know, work on running our dogs off the things THEY actually care about not what we think they should care about. I felt a bit…auggghhh! before we ran the first courselet. Because like, I use directionals. And I use jazz hands. And historically The Dog doesn’t follow my motion cues OR location cues correctly (remember, obstacles focused doggy?). But if I learned anything from the day, I learned that The Dog has officially gotten the memo on motion. And has received the letter on location. She paid attention! To me!
I forgot how much I liked getting A’s on homework. Totally an awesome feeling. All the homework we have tackled since our private two months ago made yesterday feel like we just completed a HUGE assignment and PASSED the test.
Of course, now there is MORE homework. As expected, Daisy delivered another round of amazing insight. She suggested The Dog is ‘test ticking’ bars to see if I will maintain criteria or let her off. The Dog was a bit sloppy to start and well, I let her off easy since she hadn’t run in two weeks. But Daisy said THBBBT to that and after I started *trying* to mark ticks instead of drops. It was interesting. If I let a tick go, there were more until a bar came down, then bars (plural). But when I stopped the sequence, she got better. It is SO like the dog to do something like ‘test tick’ bars so I’ll work with the theory for awhile. I can believe it because she started her circling a little after I stopped her several times (it’s better though!) BUT did not circle when I kept making a mistake (like 10 times…oops) and stopped her. HMMM. So anyways. We will up criteria on bars and see!
The other ridiculously helpful thing that was pointed out- apparently what I have called an issue with making difficult weave entries is actually an issue with a certain Leader forgetting to tell a certain Dog to WEAVE. I’ve convinced myself that I need to manage her weaves for so long that I’ve stopped telling her what to do and actually do everything but. We worked on two tough entries and she missed them both. Daisy pointed out that I either didn’t ever SAY “weave” or I waited until it was too late (like, she was past the plane). But as soon as I cued with good timing, she adjusted herself and got in.
Sorry Dog, guess we aren’t codependent on weaves after all.
Good thing #3. The Dog is amazing.
And well trained! I think I’m really starting to understand. I’ve sort of made excuses for her and have done the kid gloves thing for awhile. She is my little bird! I feel so protective of her. But I suppose it’s time to have some faith. She IS amazing and I want so much for everyone else to see this too. For that to happen though, I have to just let go of some of the history, because it’s ancient now. The only thing in our way is…me!
Good thing #4. No really, knowing that is a good thing!
I’ve decided that while she may be accident prone and there IS a history to deal with, those things don’t account for all our issues. And they don’t define her now or even explain the last hurdles we still have to overcome. What’s left is in my head. It’s hard to explain. I’ve never had a ‘mental management’ problem, at least not in the traditional sense. In general (everyone has an off day!), I feel like I look at things the ‘right way’ and have maintained positivity and perspective. I don’t focus on winning or dwell on losing. Shows and competition thrill me- they don’t make me want to barf. With my Sheltie, I had the ‘show zen’ thing perfected and I feel that way with The Pup. Even if she is a bit of an a&$hole at the moment I have this weird peace- I’m totally secure when it comes to her future and clear minded when it comes to her. Something about The Dog just plays with my head and my heart though. Because I care SO MUCH and a million other little things. And lately I have felt like MY issues are turning into OUR issues. Well. No more. I started suspecting a few months ago that our last hurdles were going to be more about my self-improvement than hers.
Sooo… mental management 101! WEE!
A little research and reading points out quite a few ‘easy’ adjustments to make. It’s not just maintaining positivity and perspective. Or good goal-setting. There is so much about having faith and focus in the process that I need to learn, ESPECIALLY when it comes to The Dog. While I might not need an entire 180 on my thought process, some things are skewed that can do with realignment.
Good thing #5. Step one: Ban the bad!
No, this doesn’t mean The Pup is moving out. Negativity no longer has a place here. Nor does complaining. Or excuses. I’m just… done. I don’t want to hear it because hear it, be it. Don’t tell me you can’t. Tell me you can.
Otherwise, I’m going to have to turn into one of those people who walk course with earphones.
You’ve been warned!!