Dog Agility Blog Event Day - June 6, 2012; please visit all the blogs at: (http://dog-agility-blog-events.posterous.com/pages/attitude).
What I have learned:
Wow, so much has to do with "Attitude" so where do I start? I guess a good place to start would be a quote; “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” Harry F. Banks. While it is a great quote, I would change it to "For success in agility a positive attitude is essential".
It is not something which was learned recently or over a period of
time, my trainers have always mentioned a positive attitude would be
essential to our success as a team. As with many things in life knowing
something and practicing it can often be difficult.
I first started to write this I had planned on going a different
direction, mentioning many things you hear from trainers about keeping a
positive attitude, some suggestions on keeping training fun, etc. and
did leave some of it at the end of this post. Then as I was thinking
about what else to write I started thinking about all that I had learned
about myself and my particular problems keeping a positive attitude.
Figured that maybe others of you had similar experiences and could
relate to mine so that is how I ended up with this kind of funky and
OK, I am going
to bare my soul which is very difficult for me. Please don't think
this is an excuse, that I am feeling sorry for myself or don't like who I
am. In fact I do like myself, am happy with the person I have become
and proud of the accomplishments in my life. Just as with many others
there are some hurdles which get in the way of staying positive in
certain situations. I am an "introvert", very introverted, probably 27
or 28 "true" responses to the 29 questions of "Are you an Introvert"
so some things are difficult for me. I am also a bit shy, not as shy
as I was as a child and young adult but still shy in new situations. I
never really read about being an introvert until recently, I always
kind of mixed up shyness with introversion and never understood why I
was just so down and tired after doing a trial. Here is a part of a
definition about having an "introvert" personality that opened my eyes and sums
up how I feel.
Introverts tend to get their energy from within, so being with people
is draining. After a day filled with people or activities, introverts
tend to feel exhausted and empty. To recharge their batteries introverts
need to be alone reading, daydreaming, painting, or gardening – any
solo activity fills them up again. This doesn't mean introverts have to
live alone in a cave in the hills or on Walden Pond; they just need
quiet time to come back to themselves. (http://suite101.com/article/the-introvert-a13661)
is so true for me. Probably that drain of energy and emotion is
communicated to my dogs in those types of situations. Don't get me
wrong, I love being around people especially family, close friends and
agility people. I always look forward to going to trials or would never
have continued in agility. I will admit it is often difficult at a
trial to keep myself positive and up even when enjoying myself. There has to be a lot of agility people who are introverted so
if any of you other introverts out there have some tips on how you keep
yourself positive please feel free to comment, any suggestions would be
appreciated. OK enough of that, just wanted to point out what I've
learned about myself and something which I need to learn to overcome to
The following are some observations learned while training and helpful hints from others:
think one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is having fun is
contagious. If I am projecting positive vibes, my boxers will perk up
and have fun. When I see them having fun it pumps me up and we end up
having a wonderful time. I try to keep training sessions short and always finish on a "positive" note.
Don't train the same thing over and over, vary what you are training so
it doesn't become boring or frustrating to either of you.
Don't push your dog into something they are not ready to do, give them
time to acclimate themselves to a situation before putting them into it.
Things I found I need to work at the hardest:
is just as contagious as having fun; if I see Kiah becoming stressed at
a trial I stress more which in turn makes her more stressed. I have to
learn to ignore that stress and just plan to have fun when we run no
matter what happens. Kiah needs a lot of positive praise when running at a
trial, I find myself (and others have told me) praising her but not with
the enthusiasm that gets her going. I tend to concentrate on running the
course rather than running her and having fun.
have learned so much from working with Kiah, sadly due to making many
mistakes with her. Hopefully those mistakes will benefit future
dogs with my being a more positive and happy trainer. A trainer that
learns to enjoy the experience more and doesn't over think every
situation or experience. Keegan still seems to be enjoying himself at
trials although we have only done one so far, he will be doing two
trials at the end of June. Depending on how he does at these two trials
will determine whether he will do any others this summer or wait to the
club's trial in December. He will go slowly and not be pushed into
situations he is not prepared to handle.
is all I have to say for now and I hope you visit the other blogs on
"Attitude" and other articles. I am looking forward to reading them and know I will learn
something from each one.