Thursday, December 2, 2010


Two posts today! This came in my email today and I thought it was worth remembering! Remember, it isn't always about winning the class (although that is awesome), we need to remember what we are doing better than we did yesterday!

Scenario One – Performance Goal Focus

So in this situation, the coach chooses to focus the team’s attention to how they performed as a team. The hard work we put into practice had come through in our performance during the game. The players can see that they were successful in their performance and that by continuing to work hard they will achieve even greater levels of success in their performance which has side effects – positive outcomes in their games.

Scenario Two – Outcome Goal Focus
In this situation, the coach focuses the team’s attention on how they lost the game. The players know that they have been working really hard in practice to develop their skills, however, this clearly wasn’t good enough. They quickly learn that despite their best efforts during practice, they still failed. Their motivation to continue to work hard in practice diminishes and their development stops, thus feeding into the poor outcomes they will undoubtedly experience in the future.

The underlying issue when you focus your goals on either the competition outcome or your performance is control. You can’t always control the outcome of a competition. When your goals are outcome oriented, you can only contribute your portion to the outcome. You can’t control what your competition does. You can’t control what a judge or referee does. Ultimately, you are leaving your success up to someone else. You can, however, control your performance. You can make changes to your training to improve your performance. When your goals are performance oriented, you can make them happen.

While “they” may not ask “How?”, you should. It’s a dead simple way to get more enjoyment out of your sport and motivate yourself to put in the effort in practice to develop your skills.

Good Trainer!

I am going to take a moment this morning to pat myself on the back (Click N Treat)!

The other day when I was running Split at the fun run I caught myself re-working something that Split had done wrong, then he did it right and I went on without rewarding him (shame on me). I know that I have done that before. I get caught up with my enjoyment in running and not paying the right kind of attention to the dog's performance. We have all done that right? So, I scowled myself and made a commitment to be a better, more consistent trainer.

Before I went out to work the dogs this morning I took a moment to decide what I was going to work on with each dog and then also to remind myself to be a good trainer!

With each dog, I worked very small segments, little trouble spots we have had. After each correct performance, the dog got amply rewarded. Actually over-the-top rewarded (if there is such a thing). In trying to build new habits it is good to exagerate the part that you have trouble with. It builds better muscle memory, or in this case, better behavior patterns on my part.

So, today I take a moment, smile and say "You were a good trainer today!"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Never can predict when the challenge will come!

Anybody who has read or met Split knows that he is my soft dog. Not only is he my soft dog, but he get spooked/thrown off by the strangest things. Most of which I can't identify.

Last night we went to a fun run at a place that we have been many, many times. I took Split and Tangle. Split had been doing awesome on his contacts at home so I wanted to start working them in another environment. Really his contacts haven't been that bad, I just wanted to clear up the criteria for him.

I walked the course like I usually do and at a fun run I tend to work the dogs stays. I ask them to sit on the sidelines and wait while I walk the course. For some reason Split could not stay. Wasn't too bad, just kept scooting closer.

I went to warm him up on the practice jump, asked him to stay and I walked to the other side. He could not sit, he followed me around the jump. I was shocked. For all of Split's issues, he has ALWAYS had a rock solid stay at a practice jump and at the start line. ALWAYS! He has broken his start line twice in his whole career.

So the lesson continues with Split, I never know exactly what I will be training that day!

At the practice jump I started with him, got him jumping and happy. Then he would stay, still not happy, but he stayed.

Our turn on course now, I put Split at the start line and walked out. Guess what? He followed me again! OK, it is apparent we are working on confidence and happiness today on course.

Split is such a funny dog. When he looses confidence it never slows him down, he just runs fast, but with no brain engaged and in a velcro style. He broke his start, leaped off of contacts, took every jump remotely near him, and nailed his weaves (why did he do those right?). I tried to just run him, find something I could reward (that WAS hard) and make him a happy camper. I didn't feel really successful!

My wish? I wish that I could see these episodes coming, figure out a successful plan of attack and turn them into a positive training session. I can never get all three of those wishes at once! That is my goal with Split. Funny goal for an agility dog eh?

BTW, Tangle was picture perfect when I was working him ringside on his foundation work.