Wednesday, January 1, 2014

WinsDay #3 (Handler Seminar)

Join us for WinsDay and show off your dog showing/trialing/training pictures and stories.  Show off your ribbons, tell us about your latest training triumph or ask a burning dog show question you're dying to hear others' opinions on.

WinsDay is not just the place to show off ribbons.  Maybe you learned something new about a breed or dog sport that you'd like to share or maybe you have a doggy giveaway going on at your blog and would like to give us all a chance to win!  Maybe your dog earned its CGC or you started working on a new level of obedience or agility.  Maybe you mastered doorway manners or housebroke your new puppy.  These are all wins, celebrate them with us!

My win this week was a personal realization brought about by a fairly bad experience.  This past weekend I attended a handler seminar.  This was a day-long workshop about the rule changes for AKC obedience, handler form and then a critique of your ring performance.  It was quite a nerve-wracking, anxiety-inducing and somewhat deflating to have several OTCH-level competitors watch you, video tape you, present your performance projected HUGE on a wall and then pick you apart.  I did not leave inspired to enter my next trial.  In fact, it has led me to not enter a January trial I had planned to.  But what I did learn is a little bit about my goals.  My goals are NOT an OTCH, a trip to the National Championship or the Invitational.  My goals are to learn the most I can and get the most I can out of my dogs WITHOUT compromising the promise I make to my dogs NOT to do anything to them I wouldn't want done to me.  I would never hurt my dogs in order to get an obedience performance.  (Obedience exercises sometimes seem so completely obtuse and useless that I vacillate between loving the challenge and questioning why I even continue.)  I try really hard not to even hurt their feelings but when I say wrong, Dot gives me the eyes that say "Oh, gosh, I'm trying to get it right but I'm confused.  Please don't be mad at me, train me better!"  And that is my goal.  To be able to be a better trainer so that my dogs understand more easily what I want and we can have FUN. 


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