Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If I knew then...nuggets along the way


As a part of the agility blog day we are all reflecting on "If I knew then what I know now"! I have had a month or so to think about this topic and all sorts of thoughts have gone through my head.   What should I focus on: handling, training tips, trialing, the journey, attitude. Really I could go so many places with this topic. 

For me, no matter which topic I choose, many of the nuggets that I cherish can only be acquired on the journey.  That is, they don't have the deep meaning if someone just tells you.  You have to live and experience the issue, problem, or the success.  So I will tell you "If I knew then what I know now",... knowing that perhaps the "tip" reminds you of something you have already learned or perhaps just holds a place in your mind, that when you encounter an experience it rings true as something you should remember.

Train every skill in small increments, break it down as far as you can. Then break it down more.  You will get to the final behavior  so much faster.  This goes for young and experienced dogs.  It is especially true when you are retraining (fixing) a skill.
Learn to drive your dog, you are in charge, be ahead.  Train the skills that allow you to get to where you need to be.
Be kind to those just starting out in agility.  The sport is very humbling, we all need support to get through the first several years (and longer).  
  • Never sacrifice what you love. Remember always what drew you to agility and be true to that love
  • Success can and should be measured in ways other than a "Q".
  • Never let success get to your head, and never let failure get to your heart
  • Laughter is the best medicine for stress.

Most of all, don't forget to enjoy the journey!