Friday Fun: Pup Photos

Every once in a while I get a couple of great photos from agility trials that I compete in with my dogs. At a trial in October, the photographers with Springfield Photography were great about capturing moments with me and my two furry teammates. I figured the best way to celebrate a Friday was by sharing some these photos with you! 🙂

High Five! LaMesa and I give each other a high five before every run. She absolutely loves to do agility, or just about anything with me, actually. This is one of my favorite photos of all times.

High Five! LaMesa and I give each other a high five before every run. She absolutely loves to do agility, or just about anything with me, actually. This is one of my favorite photos of all times.

Baby A&W has already been learning how to handle a dog on an agility course, as you can see here (yes, you can see my baby bump!).

Baby A&W has already been learning how to handle a dog on an agility course, as you can see here (yes, you can see my baby bump!).

Dally is my fluffy best friend (we've been through a lot together) and I love running her. Our start-line routine is: rev up, pick up, kiss, drop, and go! This caught us in our kiss.

Dally is my fluffy best friend (we’ve been through a lot together) and I love running her. Our start-line routine is: rev up, pick up, kiss, drop, and go! This caught us in our kiss.

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Measuring Success in Swedish

I have a second blog that I use to share my training and life adventures with my dogs, LaMesa and Dally, over at Agility on Stumps. And as part of that, I am a member of a group that likes to focus on different topics related to dog agility and share personal stories. This topic was on Success.

Ironically this came right before Dally and I are close to finishing her second agility championship (aka “PACH2”) this weekend (at least we hope). Dally has always been “Dependable Dally” but LaMesa has been a definite trial.

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So does the number of MACH/PACH or championships determine the amount of success you have as a dog handler, owner, trainer, competitor? Or is it the little things?

The competitive side of me would say it’s the championships/titles. Those are how you show your accomplishments–those numerous letters preceding and proceeding your dog’s name. In the horse show world, we judge the buckles you wear, the award chairs you sit in, etc.

Training LaMesa has totally opened my eyes, though. Dally was “easy” in comparison to starting and training LaMesa–Dally is consistent. After I dropped her down to Preferred, things came so much easier because she no longer struggled to make time nor be constantly injured trying to jump 8″. It took us a while, but we got that first QQ and then things just started rolling.

LaMesa is another story, though. I believe she has so much raw talent, and so much heart, that is can be a handicap. I know she can be so good, and that affects my mindset because I get competitive and know she’s fast. So I push her…and we fail…or I perceive it as a fail.

I’ve learned to take the little things as a success. LaMesa used to struggle so much with weaves at trials. If we can nail the weave poles from any entrance on a course, I’m excited. If we can run an entire course without her knocking bars, that’s a win. Have we QQd? Nope. Right now we average 1 Q out of 4 runs in a weekend. But that Q is always a big deal.

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I see so much potential in her that I want us to be successful, but I have learned not to push it. I’ve been identifying where we need to focus and I am learning how to run her versus Dally, which is a big success for me. I’ve learned “She is not Dally” and that’s OK. She’s fun to run (so is Dally, don’t get me wrong). She makes you think. You have to be solid in your game plan from the very beginning or she can catch you on your heels.

But all that makes me a better handler, which, in turn, will make her a better agility dog. This will also help me with future dogs, horses, and handling people. That, in itself, is success.

So my mindset has changed…a little. I’m still competitive, but I’ve been checking myself and my ego at the door when we walk in and I look for the positives in our runs, and not always just at the negatives. I just want LaMesa to continue to enjoy running with me and doing agility. The QQs will come.

THAT IS SUCCESS.

Your turn: How do you measure success in whatever you do?

 

More Than Dog Training

As I continue to get this blog going, my goal is to share a little bit about myself in each introductory blog post, to give you an idea of who I am, where I’ve come from, and my goals for the future in just about every aspect of my life.

Dally competing in Dec. 2011

For the past few years, I have participated in what some might call an “unconventional sport”–dog agility. I grew up with dogs all my life, but never really thought they’d be a big part of my life like they are now. I was always into riding and competing with my horses (more on this later), but when I moved to Lexington and still didn’t have my horses with me, my competitive drive and need to train something was focused on my Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Dally. I got Dally the Fall after I graduated college and she travelled the country with me from internship to jobs, from Texas, Oklahoma, and now Kentucky. She’s been my best buddy–I can’t help but smile every time I see her face.

LaMesa & I preparing for her run in Dec. 2011

Then in January 2010, I added on to the family with LaMesa, a Swedish Vallhund. She’s been a trip! She has a boundless amount of energy and can always make me laugh as well. She’s totally different from Dally in her attitude and athleticism, but she hasn’t been easy to train. It’s been a big education for me the past year of training with her, and we’ve done well so far.

We compete in American Kennel Club (AKC) and Canine Performance Events (CPE) events. Dally and I even qualified for the 2012 AKC National Agility Championships, but they’re being held in Reno in March, and it’s not possible for us to travel that far at this time. So, we’re aiming to qualify for Nationals in 2013, which will be held in Tulsa, Okla., which I can definitely handle!

So if I happen to mention agility on this blog, this is what I mean. I have a separate blog following the training and trials of Dally and LaMesa. I’m not the best at keeping it up to date, but I try my best. Please feel free to follow that blog as well: Agility on Stumps