Dog agility is an amazing and addicting sport. Remember how fun it was to watch your dog do his/her first obstacle? I was hooked and wanted to share with others the amazing experience, so I began teaching over 20 years ago.
Year after year students would come and I could see the potential in all of them! Whether it was the overly enthusiastic young dog or the uncoordinated handler, I knew that these moments would pass and they would grow to become absolutely amazing agility teams.
Unfortunately, there were always some who couldn’t see the greatness in themselves or in their own dogs. Most continued on, but internally they always doubted themselves and no amount of encouragement, titles or ribbons could convince them of how truly special their team was. In short, they had developed an inaccurate definition of success in agility and in turn, they could never measure up to their false belief.
The statements were always similar:
- “I’m not good enough”
- “I can’t do that”
- “My dog isn’t the typical agility dog”
- “I’m not as good as that person”
- “I didn’t Q”
- “We’ll never make it to Nationals”
- “My dog can’t _____”
The majority of us are guilty of saying something like this at one time or another and that’s when we’re left to make a choice. We can either continue to hold steadfast to our perceived shortcomings or we can decide to embrace our own potential.
Here are 6 Vital Tips This Dog Agility Trainer Needs You to Embrace
All Handlers Have the Ability to Create Agility Superstars in their Dogs
Yes, this means you! Unfortunately, a large portion of handlers won’t believe they have the capabilities, so I’m going to assure you right now. You. Absolutely. DO! The trick is to be open minded, constantly learning and to commit to always be teachable.
ALL Dogs Have the Potential to be their BEST at Agility
Yes, that means your healthy dog! All that matters is that you want your dog to experience joy and satisfaction in agility, all while performing the action-based criteria that you clearly taught.
Superstars Aren’t Born. They are Made.
Dog or human, we’re all born with unique and amazing abilities but without supportive funneling, it’s likely we may not meet our full potential and growth. This is where perception, initiative, training and action based goal setting can separate a Star from a Superstar.
You Must Define Your Own Agility Goals
Forego the external and uncontrollable goals such as a title or qualifying run. Instead, put your money on your team and invest in committing to and training action-based goals. Action based goals are within your control and focus on clear and specific physical actions your agility team can practice and master. Once you have those, the titles and Q’s will begin to arrive automatically.
Never Compare Your Agility Journey to the Journey of Others
Remember that uniqueness I spoke about above? Here’s a reminder that YOU are unique. Your dog is unique. Together as a team, you are incredibly unique. Agility is a journey and right now, you are exactly where you are supposed to be, learning the things you need to continue the growth. Pretty powerful insight, right!
It Doesn’t Matter What Others Think
Really, it doesn’t. Seek advice from those familiar with your journey and who are 100% dedicated to your success. Never forget that in agility, there are many, many ways to accomplish the same task so figure out what works best for your agility team and proudly own your choice.
Where To Go From Here
Stay tuned for upcoming blogs where I’ll continue to share useful and relevant information and training tips on the agility journey.
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Articles In The Superstar Series:
- 6 Vital Tips This Dog Agility Trainer Needs You to Embrace
- 3 Traits of a Successful Agility Handler
- All Dogs Have the Potential to be Their BEST in Agility
- Dog Agility Superstars Aren’t Born. They Are Made
- 10 Simple (But Important) Things to Remember About Your Agility Goals
- Never Compare Your Agility Journey to the Journey of Others (coming soon)
- It Doesn’t Matter What Others Think (coming soon)