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Visualization; Can You See It?

Posted on 11/29/10 8 Comments

Over the weekend John Cullen and I did our first webinar for our group of students that signed up for Pre-Competition Routine course.  This first webinar was on Visualization. We had a lot of really excellent questions posted to our members area. Some were by newbies to the sport others by former USA World Team members and USDAA National Champions.

Visualization is not a “given” to anyone. Just like anything else in life, to get better at it, we have to practice. The thing is, how do you quantify your progress? If you are new to this, how can you tell if you are doing it correctly or most effectively?  More great questions.

When it becomes most effective, visualization becomes your practice rounds before the real thing. Who amongst us wouldn’t do better getting to step into the ring and practice with our dog around the course first? But how to do it? How do you start to do it?

First of all you have all done it. At some point in your life everyone has visualized doing something. Maybe it was visualizing an anticipated first kiss or first drive in a new car. If you can’t remember ever using visualization for any reason, it may be easiest to re-live a moment you have already experienced. Perhaps a “special” run, getting your first clean run or maybe replaying the first time you saw your dog completing a full set of 12 weave poles.

Visualization is seeing events in your minds eye. You see them roll out as if you are doing them. You do this over and over and your subconscious isn’t able to separate the real runs from the ones in your mind. In effect you are rehearsing your runs.

Try something easy. In one of John’s earlier posts he walks you through and exercise cutting a lemon. If you have never tried it before, that would be a great place to start!  For those of us signed up in the course with John and I that missed the webinar it will be posted in the Cognitive Edge members area soon.

Today I am grateful for a week at home giving me a few moments to get caught up and re-pack my suitcase for my next trip.


  1. Karla says:
    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 11:02am

    I received the material, it’s great!!!
    I’m sure it will help anyone to improve their handling.

    I live in Mexico city and this kind of webinars are useful and a great option


  2. Kristi says:
    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 6:15pm

    When are you going to have this webinar again? I could use some guidance in this arena!


  3. Kim says:
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 2:22am

    Great point! Visiualization is one of the most helpful things you can do for competition. It’s a great help in other areas of life as well.
    I first started using this technique when I was competing in obedience with my dogs. Since then, it’s been helpful in grooming competitions, agility trialing and even teaching people with pet dogs. I call it “arm chair training” when I tell students to do it.
    It’s a wonderful skill to cutivate.


  4. Karen Moore says:
    Monday, November 29, 2010 at 7:46pm

    I too received the downloadable materials, but never received any access information or time for the webinar.
    I emailed John a few days ago to bring this to his attention, but have still not received a reply.
    I really would have liked to participate, but I seem to remember that it will still be available to us afterwards.
    Please can we get some information on this? I don’t want to miss the next one. Nothing in my spam ……….


  5. Laurie Graichen says:
    Monday, November 29, 2010 at 7:29pm

    I had signed up for the pre-competition course and received the downloadable materials. However I never got any notice about the webinar and totally missed it. Is there a way to access it after the fact?


  6. June says:
    Monday, November 29, 2010 at 6:13pm

    Just back from my first training session after the Visualisation Webinair. My dog is new to competing and we were being challenged with a pull thru. First time wasnt poetry in motion. Visualised what I should be doing and hey presto we did it.


  7. Trudie says:
    Monday, November 29, 2010 at 4:12am

    Yesterday at a trial I was watching some of the other participants run a challenging course the judge had set (over 60% disqualified) when, so help me, I started to visualise Susan Garrett running the course…


  8. Gemma Osmond says:
    Monday, November 29, 2010 at 3:06am

    A lemon huh? Sounds like a good place to start, this isn’t something I find particularly easy, but as you say with practice… 🙂


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