Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 - A year in review..... 2014 goals.

Like any year this past year has had it ups and downs.  Kiah, Keegs and I have had some difficulties in agility this past year; Kiah with her shutting down again and Keegs having a blast in the ring but not paying much attention to me.  I am sure with Keegs we just haven't clicked as a team and it will come in time.  Kiah just doesn't enjoy the trial atmosphere so we will just be doing a few local trials where she is comfortable next year.  I plan to get her back into tracking and maybe we will try Rally or obedience together.  Those are much quieter venues and maybe she won't stress as much.

The highlight of the year for all of us was getting Thor; Kiah and Keegs just love him.  Keegs and Thor love to play together even Kiah will join in the fun at times.  Kiah is Thor's sleeping buddy, he loves to curl up next to her when we go to bed.  He does usually come sleep next to me before morning though, I think they get too hot sleeping together, Thor is a little "heater".

Thor is going to be my agility, obedience, rally and tracking dog, I hope. He is doing really well in agility although we haven't had time to really practice in agility since early November.  We have been keeping up with our obedience classes which will help in agility.  Tonight we will be doing a rally class; learning and practice with the signs. I am looking forward to it.  I love his attitude and he is so much fun to work with but we are still dealing with his shyness around people and loud noises at new places.  He is doing better, improving by very small steps but it is an improvement so I can live with that.  It might be I have to start him in agility a little later but I want him to be comfortable.

The older two will probably retire in a couple of years and just do some of the easier performance venues to keep them active.

My goals for 2014:

  • Keep up with training Thor making sure to keep everything a game and fun for him.
  • Practice with Keegan on rear crosses and build up speed in his weaves.  We missed time at a couple of trials since he spins if I do a rear cross and his slow weaves.  Also practice on keeping his attention more.  
  • Keep Kiah from stressing as much, even if I only have to do a few jumps and then out of the ring. The judge and Renee at the last trial said I need to do that more often so she has fun in the ring.  She has a blast in class so we are good there.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Mental Game

Today is another Dog Agility Blog Event Day - December 4, 2013.  Please visit all the blogs at: ( and please leave comments, we all enjoy hearing what you have to say.

This is one subject which has become important to me not only agility but other aspects of my life too. Mental attitude can dictate success or failure in my endeavors and by teaching myself to look at the positive rather than the negative helps me in training especially for my sensitive dogs.

I never really thought about how much of agility is really a mental game until a friend introduced me to Lanny Bassham's  "With Winning in Mind"  and "What Every Dog Agility Competitor Should Know First about the Mental Game" series of CD's.  After listening to those I thought more about not focusing so much on what we were doing wrong but what was right. To tell the truth I haven't mastered what I really would like to accomplish in my mental game but I am making strides and by the time my puppy is ready to run agility and confirmation I hope to have a more positive, focused mental game.

I know one of my biggest problems and have heard from others is thinking about getting that "Q" while running the course. Instead I should be thinking of running the course giving my dog the best ques so they can be successful and have fun. A "Q" should mean we were a great team, we had a fun and we communicated well.
How can you not fail if your mind is on something else and aren't thinking about running the course.

An affirmative statement is one thing that Lanny Bassham talks about in his book and my friend suggested I do this for building weave speed with my dogs.  You create an affirmative statement, post it around your house where you will see it often, leave it up for 21 days and keep repeating it to yourself.  This was my affirmative statement for the weaves "I have conquered the 5 second weaves with Kiah and Keegan.  September Dobe trial I run 5 second weaves with Kiah and Keegan easily and we have fun while we run.  I relax and do not stress while I run my mental program before stepping to the line.  I enjoy classes, work hard to learn to bring the best out of Kiah and Keegan while they have fun.  I am able to run 5 second weaves with Kiah and Keegan".  I found this really helped me stay positive, I trained more and we made it a game.  It was fun and I found it really helped.

My goal for my mental game is to stay as positive as I can, not dwell on the mistakes, make playing with me the most fun my dogs can possibly have, to stay focused on the course and not worry about the outcome of the run.

I look forward to reading all the other posts from the group and the comments that readers leave.  Have fun and run clean!!!