Because really, what else can you do?
Trial last weekend, filled with lots of successes though most won’t be reported to the AKC.
And that’s ok.
My goals for the weekend were to:
Focus on the process NOT the outcome
Work to mentally rehearse the look AND feel of each run before hand (this is harder than you’d think!)
Control my “self-talk”
Play within our skill set which includes trusting the skill set we do have
Find a routine that I can apply before and after every run and, well, apply it.
Yes, if it sounds like I’ve been reading self-help books, I sort of did. After I read Blink (which was AWESOME) I decided to read With Winning in Mind because the former frequently referenced the latter and, as mentioned, I had decided that mental management was probably a necessary step.
WWiM turned out to be pretty awesome also, and not TOO self-helpy so I didn’t feel completely sad and desperate. Lots of very thought-provoking ideas in there. I recognized some things that I had been doing that were working against me, so now have decided it is no longer “like me” to do them. Take THAT, stupid limiting self-image! I’ll teach YOU to be lame and keep me at some bogus ‘comfort level.’
Or something like that.
Is it bad to yell at your self-image? He didn’t directly address that.
Anyways, so based on my goals it was a great, successful weekend. It really did help to try and mentally run through the feel of the run in advance. I found that I held to my plan much better than before. I also was WAY better about focusing on the process before, during and after- each maneuver, each obstacle, each course matters, not the outcome. Again, it helped me stick to my plan better and forced me to consider the skill set item more carefully. As a result, I think we did a great job in working our strengths. And for me, a big ‘win’- I did not make the same mistake twice. Hooray for learning and adapting!!
I found a few things that we are calling ‘successes in process’ i.e. things to improve with a plan already in place. While overall the ‘routine’ worked well (happy happy Startline Dog!), I’m still searching for a solution to the issue of waking The Dog up before the first JWW run when she is first dog. My idea is to wake us up REALLY early and go for a run those days. Since I probably can’t give her 5 Hour Energy.
And I’m working on the ‘self-talk.’ I will be better next time.
Overall, I have to say The Dog looked amazing. She was feeling SO much better after her adjustments and moving really nice. Her jumping was back to effortless and her extension was FULL. This was probably the best and most consistent jumping I’ve seen of her in a show. To think it will only get better! She was really fun to run on those courses, very challenging and interesting standard set-ups. Her attention to my motion and location cues was tested pretty heavily and she read every line I put her on perfectly AND is really nailing the decel/front cross cues now. Lastly, glowing over her perfect contacts. Last DW was a tough push into space with a 90 degree turn following and she ran off and responded so well. Glowing!!
The Pup ran as well- possibly her last show for the summer. We'll see. I pulled her from the next trial and am still debating the memorial weekend three day, then she isn't entered after that.
While her first run was filled with social calls, she came back and had REALLY good focus for the other three runs. She waited on the table!! And the teeter!! And maintained all her other good behaviors!! So much improved. She even got a standard Q!
However- she is clearly a baby still. Her brain needs more time to bake. I don’t want to run the risk of rehearsing the unwanted or shutting her down because I have to get on her about the one naughty thing that continued- trying to leave the ring at the end to get her cookies!! Naughty ring-wise Pup!! I noticed for her second, third and fourth runs that although her focus was awesome, she faded out on me a bit for the last few obstacles. By the last run I knew why- she was anticipating leaving and getting treats. WAY TOO SMART. I did manage to catch her after the clean standard run, but she unfortunately vacated without me after a lovely JWW run, so NQ there! She NQ’d the other Standard run after running into me (blocking, even if it was her head crushing my leg!) because she stopped focusing at the last obstacle and I was in the way of the path to the treats. So we are planning to teach her to target the bucket (yes, worth the risk!).
So we will take at least a month to work on that. Plus I will start classes with her again. Time for her to get to be ok with people in the ring. I think I’ve asked enough people to hop out when we run. So after we solve THOSE issues, we will worry about finding more. Whether this happens before the memorial day trial is up to The Pup!
Project Puppy Nephew is doing awesome as well. He is so much fun. And I can’t believe how well he retains things- we can go a week or two without working something and he always comes back stronger! Latent Learning is his BFF.
He has mastered:
Targeting with his paw
Here (which means he has to shove into my hand with his collar, since he didn’t like being held)
Tunnel (ruh-roh! A little TOO much!)
Table with an auto-down
Four feet in a box
Four feet on
And has started:
Perch work (starting to move back feet really well!
Circle work (he SO wants to herd me)
Falling in love with Marvin the MM
Such a party with the Nephew!!
Oh, and my opening advice - grin and bear it!
Sometimes, it’s all you can do. Like when your glasses fall off during your fabulous run and you are blinded and send your dog in the wrong tunnel. Because you are blind.
And then everyone gives you duct tape to prevent this from happening again.
The best thing to do?
LAUGH, BECAUSE IT IS FUNNY!
But then get contacts.