Monday, September 28, 2015

I love going for titles!  First of all, it means I believe my dog is ready to trial, that he understands the exercises  and has the confidence to perform them under pressure.  And let's face it: competition by its very nature means there is a certain amount of pressure.

It's my job to make sure that pressure does not undermine my dog's confidence and that during the competition we remain a team working together, playing together, and performing together. 

Nevertheless, I've come to 'expect the unexpected' when showing.   It goes with the territory.  Ya never know what's going to happen--and that's also part of what 'competing' is all about and what makes it challenging.  Not knowing is what gives it an edge, a kick.  Having a measure of victory over the unknown is part of the thrill.

Devon has been taught all of the exercises in Open and Utility. However, I train alone.  Distractions are few.  Furthermore, Devon has had very little ring experience (opportunities are very limited here)  which rather concerns me, especially as he is very inquisitive as well as super friendly.  That he might stop to check something out or 'greet' the judge is not beyond his reach, that's for sure.

Under the circumstances the best I can do to help Devon become more confident and have a stronger understanding of his job is to take advantage of any distraction that might come our way during training--and proof. 

Our proofing generally is with inanimate objects, such as toys, balls, squeakers, etc.  Having another human present is a rarity, but when opportunity knocks, I listen! 

My son and daughter-in-law came for a visit a few weeks ago and I enlisted Christina to help me proof.  (She was VERY willing, so no arm twisting was required:-) Thank you, Christina!

What I noticed most was a slight reticence on his part.  It was very obvious to me that he was somewhat concerned.  And he did on occasion make mistakes.  The best part , however, was that he could quickly regroup and rise to the occasion. 

He is such a trooper.  Love this boy!

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