Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Happy Place

After our last USDAA trial, I knew it was time for an attitude change when it comes to agility trials. I was really annoyed with myself for being unhappy about our runs...afterall, this is a game that is supposed to be *fun*. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter how many times I send my dog, who just loves to play the game with me, off-course? He doesn't get mad at me, nor does he overanalyze every single mistake made, so why should I?

I remember when we first started trialing - Peyton could have taken every wrong course (and he often did) - but I didn't care. I was just happy that he was able to run in a trial, something that (for a long time) I didn't think was possible. I've always, always been happy with him, but as he's improved, I've expected more from both of us, and have put pressure on myself to be the really good handler that I think he deserves. Notice the *I think* part...of course, he doesn't care how good or bad I am.

So, we've spent the past few weeks trying to find our happy place. I should say, *my* happy place, since Peyton never lost sight of it. :) We've been having a lot of fun in class - lot's of playing, not a lot of thinking, and definitely no obsessing.

We had a three day trial this weekend and had a really fun time. It's against my nature to *not* be over-analytical, but I'm trying. So no more "my fault" comments from me here...if you see them in the future, please feel free to slap me. :)

We're trying a new start line routine - one I've dabbled with before, but never fully committed to. No more hanging around near the gate area - the goal is to get from an area far enough away that he's not stressing to the "chute" without stopping. The timing is a bit tricky, but I think he *loves* it. As soon as he knows he's up next, it's all I can do to keep him from ripping my arm off to get in the ring. The downside is that he is high as a kite (more so than usual) going to the line, but at least he's not as stressed.

Here's our runs from Friday - note the loooong delay at the start and the most excellent commentary from our friend taping.

And Saturday runs - helloooooo tunnels!

Sunday Standard...I missed the walk through, but with that opening (and some quick dog walk releases this weekend), I'm not sure that it would have made much of a difference. It was a nice course though.

And...saving the best for last...we got a (1st place) JWW Q today! Although poor Peyton - he screamed when I was setting him up and I spent most of the run wondering if he was hurting. I think I must have accidently pinched him (such a sensitive spotty), but he might have a few sore spots...the surface wasn't the best this weekend. See what happens when I don't overthink what I'm doing! :)

Such a good spotty dog! And I did okay's that for positive thinking? Hey, at least it's a start... :)


Anonymous said...

Very Cool, Peyton!!!! Congrat's on the Q !!!!!!!

Paula said...

You guys did great! Sunday's JWW run was a beauty.

I hear you on finding your happy place. I've been working on the same thing over the summer, but could tell from the weekend that I'm not there, yet. I am much, much less nervous and stressed, but still can't make it as fun out there as in practice, and Alex can tell the difference. I put way too much pressure on him. :(

Keep up the good work, you two are a great team!

Jenn said...

Yay Peyton and Kim! Very nice Jumper's Q!!! It certainly looked like he was having fun.

Kim said...

Thanks guys! Paula, I'm not there yet either, but I'm trying. Maybe I need to put a "happy place" sign on Peyton's rear as a reminder...since that's what I'm usually looking at? :)

Seriously, I think there is a mind zapping invisible force that you cross when going in the ring. For me, it causes brain melt and uncontrollable, random things to fly out of my mouth.

Alex looked really good the few runs I was able to catch so hopefully your happy place is very close. And thanks again for sharing your JWW Q luck! :)

Anonymous said...

Great efforts all around, and I'm glad to see them pay off in the JWW Q. The delay before Friday's run looks like torture -- making it that much harder to get into the Zone/you happy place/whatever you call it. It's a funny thing about training to do anything competitive -- you can learn how to perform the action, but I don't know if you can learn the art of waiting. We're all hopeless amateurs at that, and anxious to get on with the actual achievement part -- the part for which we are prepared. That should be part of any training regimen -- learning to wait without losing focus. It would make life so much easier if we could all develop such a skill.
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Sarah Duke said...

Kim, I love your blog. Peyton is an *amazing* dog (seriously) but he's young and we would all hate you if you came out of the gates winning all the time. It takes time to find that consistency, and also the right frame of mind, you are definitely on the right track. You two are going to be unstoppable, seriously, those BCs need to watch out! lol I love watching you guys run and even more seeing you win the class. And really, pinch your dog more often and see if maybe that helps! lol

Kim said...

Aww, thanks Sarah! :)