Monday, September 17, 2012

Playing Catch Up

After a mandatory and unwelcome three week break, I’m happy to report that The Dog is back.  She was most happy to be released from the injured list/bubble wrap and I was most happy to oblige and dust off the agility leash.  We celebrated her return in the best way we know how- a trial.
Hola, unrelated hiking adventure picture for post jazzing-up!
So many sad stories that could have been ours too: No Dog, or Long-term Damaged Dog or Dog Who Could Never Show Again.  I have been fretting over which draw we’d pull from the Outcome Lottery for weeks.  Considering that The Dog has STILL not let go of being bit by a fly several years ago, it seemed a very real possibility that she would not be ready so soon to deal with the dog show world; strange dogs, forward dogs, crate-guarding butthead dogs, all seemed so scary and PTSD-inducing now where before they went largely unnoticed. 

A wall! What we are looking for is the river though!
But, save some wide-eyed looks from her in the early morning on Saturday, she survived this first test.  How lucky we are that she seems no worse for the wear, physically or mentally. Terrible haircut, as I keep lamenting, but for all the trauma I still have my good Dog.  

Well there it is! Er, these coordinates seem off..
It was an uplifting weekend.  It will send me into next week with a lot of good feelings, regardless of how things turn out.  She did a great job.  Besides showing up happy and excited and ready to run (which is really all I was hoping for) I think we lost nothing in those three weeks.   Her jumping was awesome, teeters were better than ever (though not saying much, but she is applying a behavior instead of going WEEEEE!), Aframes were perfection… and just plain old good attention. (Side note of happiness: we got to help Black Dog finish off her Platinum ADCH! With the worst relay run ever! Black Dog rocks!) 

Our only oops/disconnect moments came immediately after the DW in both standard runs.  This was something I did NOT expect. I thought for sure her DWs would be sticky if anything given the courses.  The rings were very small and one course ran into a wall (And in GP, REALLY ran into a wall, so much I elected not to run it- scary!!) and the other had a 180 degree pull.  Surely sticky-inducing?  But no. Fast Dog runs DWs very happily super straight off…and then goes WEEEE! I think I was verrrry slow in my turn cues. I really misjudged her speed, but goodness was glad to see that confidence! 

Maybe try this vertical descent? 
So yes. We feel good. Some homework planned for the week, but much less than I thought we would have to deal with.  Mostly just have this feeling I am going to finally be able to enjoy a trip to Cyno.  

We are set with byes, so no round 1 stress. We get to play in the extra classes so won’t be as bored. I took a look at the schedule and based on the running order, everything is pretty ideal. And bonus, I sure like Colorado. It’s just all shaping up to be a fun time I think.  And who knows, maybe more doors opening?  I have to think that at some point in time, it will be ‘our time;’ so why not now? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.


Well that pretty much sums up my contribution to DABAD. See ya!

But basically, yeah. It takes a special person to be a good teacher. Anyone could run a group of people and dogs through sequences and spout some feedback once a week. Being a good instructor is more than the imparting of helpful knowledge... facts... information. Yes, instruction of this kind matters.  But if you aren't leaving these sessions with more than homework, something may be missing.

Does your teacher inspire you? Hopefully, you've connected with someone that you admire, for whatever reasons. Whether it's their talent and ambition, or simply that they really seem to like their dogs, your teacher should have some qualities that you aspire to achieve for yourself that you can't otherwise achieve on your own. If they've nothing to inspire you, how can they motivate you? How can you change?

Does failure present a challenge, or a conclusion? Failure is an opportunity. It is not a closed door, it is not the end. A good teacher accepts failure as such. Problems are for solving. The best teachers look forward to the toughest of problems with excitement. If a teacher has no interest in learning, how can they expect their student to?

Do you feel as though they truly want to help you along further than even they have been? A teacher will want to see you better. Not just better than the old you; better than themselves. The best. A testament to any good teacher is that they want the next generation to go beyond the first. Lead the way, open the door, and watch their student move forward alone. Celebrate your success with more joy than their own. If your teacher cannot lift you in this way, then they are only holding you down.

What are their reasons for teaching? Einstein said "Love is a better teacher than duty." He's right.
Even if it means I travel, even if it means I only work with my teacher a few times a year, what I need is understanding. And as an instructor, I will continue to TEACH, not do, every single week.