Thursday, December 1, 2011

Achievements, Inspiration and Proofing

Well the Year End Function is all over and done with, it was hard work, but hopefully worth it.  It at least seemed like everyone had a good time... even J despite the fact that she could not get the damn bottle cap in the shooter glass.  Me and Spazo even came away with some lekker awards.  Chaos shared the Handler Voted Most Improved Award with H and Chili (whom coincidentally I voted for and felt deserved it more), we also shared best Show Attendance with two other agility nerds.... and speaking of nerds, yours truly was voted Agility Year of the Nerd... again... I  heftily protest that award by the way.... I am not a nerd, I am just very special and slightly too dedicated.  All these were fun awards, but nevertheless gives me that 'special warm feeling in my heart' for Spaz.  Did we actually achieve anything this year?  Yes, we did, he exceeded my expectations on some fronts, other goals we missed solidly.  Because of me, not because of him.  It is that time of year when I set my goals for the following year, but this time around I have to include the little man, the Voltenstein.  I love setting goals and I hate setting goals.  Actually achieving them is one of the most spectacular feelings in the world, like that moment today when I went to the post box and Chaos's Championship Certificate had arrived.  I did a very awkward but enthusiastic victory dance, much to the amusement of other unsuspecting people collecting their mail.  Oh but the disappointment in myself when I fail to reach those goals, THAT is hard to deal with.  I have honestly never been disappointed with my dogs.  The are all of the super awesomeness.  Yes occasionally they get a bee in their bonnet and make a mistake, but that is because they are dogs and not futuristic machines of mass success (or mass destruction).  I can live with that, but when I have a near perfect round (thanks to some good handling advice from a training partner) and 3 jumps from the end I lose it?  I have said it a million times before and I will say it a million times more... my mental game is my weakness.  It has been a New Year's resolution for three years running and a fourth incoming.  I am WAY too stubborn to give up.

Achievement is a relevant thing though isn't it?  I know many people for example in breaking new ground breed wise.  Those individuals that obviously have two truck loads more patience than I do, to train 'non-working/rare/non-agility' breeds and achieve great things in that context.  Those handlers with 'not so speedy' dogs, that set different goals related to consistency.  The very un-athletic amongst us, that 'just want to get there for THAT bit'.  The very courageous that take on rescue dogs with devastating histories, that actually get their dogs to function normally AND do agility.  These achievements mean as much to those handlers as a World Championship means to the competitive among us.  There are those handlers that have all the potential (as handlers) that just cannot find their dogs, or those amazing one in a million dogs that just cannot find their handlers.  But, boy, when it comes together it is a thing of beauty.  A different kind of achievement.  The despair and disappointment that hit us each in the nuts (male or female you know what I am talking about) is just the same for all of us.  Lisa Frick, with double World Champion, Hoss, stole our hearts this year for her amazing attitude and true enjoyment of the sport.  But those people exist at our local trials and training schools too.  Each to his own and please accept them for that.

My very bestest on-line student up to date sent me this inspirational video this week:

This is NOT my video and I do NOT intend any copyright violations.

Just a good principle.  Even though my dogs are my BOYS first and foremost and will always be, even I sometimes lose perspective and whether we like it or not (whether we consider ourselves THE humblest handler on the planet, or whether we tend to let our pride rule), we all need some perspective and inspiration every now and again.  A lot of people I know try to (or pretend to) not be affected by the amazing stories our dogs generate, but this is NOT the right attitude.  Everyone can do with some humility.

I know I am repeating myself, but since this is my blog... that is your problem.  I am loving my on-line students.  M and her Chaos that works SO hard and are so determined.  C and my god-child BC that understand that foundation is everything.  T and her SA Champ that will sacrifice many wins to get it right.  H and the Hungarian that think so carefully about everything.  I do have some slackers of course, that is normal.  But thus far my on-line students work so much harder than the normal 'weekly lesson' bunch, I suppose you have to really commit to on-line training or just lose your money.  Joining a class or a private lesson you get time on equipment, regardless of whether you listen to a coach or not.  Whether they like it or not, my good students inspired my new project.  Analysing Agility.  We all have our strengths in Agility.  We have to recognise those.  It is not pride.   It is reality.  Together with this we have to recognise our weaknesses.

Analysing Agility, the Analytical Solution to your Agility Handling System and Problems, including workbook, will be available in 2012 in e-format.  How exciting is that?  I will also be presenting another on-line course with the release of the e-book. Please contact me if you would like more information.

Proofing... oh hat, proofing.  The small little things we forget from one young dog to the next.  Messages to my dogs 2012 (from youngest to oldest):

Voltenstein, it is public, I am sorry.  You are so phenomenal, and I just forget to proof  the small things.  Just know, I will be focusing on building a relationship with you in the ring just as we have at home.  Sometimes I am bound to be a retard and expect unrealistic things of you, I ask you very nicely not to bite me (even though I deserve it), I know you will try to work with me, but just know sometimes I will fail.  Sometimes we might just not understand each other.  Sh%t happens, but I will try my best for you.

Quake, I know you don't see the world the same way I do.  I will try harder to see your (very warped and WEIRD ASS) perspective as well.

Spaz,  I know you give everything, so do I.  Your everything is just more than mine.

Delta, I will try my best not to get super annoyed when you chase the pizza delivery guy.  He is very friendly, I promise, and I am tired of giving him a 40% tip because of your antics.  And those birds in the garden?  I like having them there, rather chase the rats in the garage, just don't EAT the rats like you do the empty toilet paper rolls.

Echo, my first born boy.  You have not been doing well, I have spent days crying about you.  I hope you see 2012 with me, but I will understand if you can't.  You need to tell me baby boy.  At the moment I am here for you, you don't need to be here for me, you have done that your entire life, it is my turn now.

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