Goal Setting in Dog Sports

Posted on 02/23/16 53 Comments

goal-settingLast week I was out in Los Angeles at a three day business workshop. Sitting in the meeting my mind drifted towards dog training and today’s vlog was born. My mind drifting is not a reflection of the presentation I was listening to…  as my friend, Annie Hyman Pratt from I M P A Q Entrepreneur, did a fantastic job. Its just that no matter what I am learning it some how all comes back to behaviour and dog training for me.

So thank you Annie for the inspiration for todays vlog! Goal setting,.. do you do it? If so how often? Do you think about your own “boundaries of acceptable behaviours?” Let me know if today’s video was helpful.

Today I am grateful for John, who never complains when I run out of town for these 3 and 4 day workshops, it sure is easier doing what I do having someone supportive in my corner.


  1. Kathy McLemore says:
    Friday, February 26, 2016 at 2:48pm

    This was absolutely GREAT!!
    Relistened to it couple of times.
    The most helpful videos on ‘start to goal’ process, I’ve ever seen.
    Thank you.

    Would love to have this in a PDF format. Want to blow up some of the pictures for posting in my training area!


  2. Ellen Coltrane says:
    Friday, February 26, 2016 at 10:50am

    Loved this!!! Wish I had it a year ago when I was struggling through my rescue pup’s behavioral issues and my lack of experience. I do see a missed opportunity here though. You could have tied it all up with the need to document your training. How will you measure your progress and keep focus on those goals without that journal? So I think this would also be great incorporated into Recallers program Critical Core along with the journal. Love you Susan Garrett and keep inspiring us!!!


  3. Annie Jackson says:
    Friday, February 26, 2016 at 2:57am

    Thank you Susan a great reminder to keep the focus on what matters. I am a perfectionist in that I want Finn and me to be as good as we can be in what we do. Will revisit this through our journey.


  4. Judy Tricker says:
    Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 6:04am

    Susan this was absolutely fantastic. Firstly I had to decide what was holding me back from actually trialling! It is the fear of my dog running off into another ring and being aggressive towards another dog! So I had chosen my goal. It is to get to the end of your Crate Games DVD and if I can achieve what others have on that DVD that will be the one thing that will then allow me to choose the goal of trialling! Thank you so much for the video. I loved it.


  5. Julie says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 9:03pm

    IAfter 2 years of training and being afraid to trial I have recently been brave and will be going to my first trial in April! So my goal is to have fun and not faint from nerves and have my dog make it all the way around with out going to hang out with the judge. LOL! after I survive that first run I think that my next goal will be to get a qualifying score. Thank you for putting this in very clear images that I can remind myself of daily! I know my dog will have a blast I don’t want to let him down by being a mess. I just want enjoy being there with my friends and him! ????


  6. Jan Schultz says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 4:15pm

    Awesome video – I am the perfectionist type, researching every little thing with the pups and life and end up always unsure whether I’ve got it so this is just perfect timing for me. Thank-you coach SG!


  7. Kandee says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 3:09pm

    Fantastic video.
    I know I will want to see it again, probably many time, in the future. Will it be somewhere where I can see it again? Down loading would be wonderful but I don’t think that is a possibility. How about the graphics? I’d love to have them as a reminder when I get stuck somewhere on the vast hiway between starting and reaching my goal.


  8. Paula says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 2:26pm

    I’m doing a lot of “cross-training” with my year old boy, foundation agility, obed, rally, tracking and lots of trick training. He’s extremely high drive, impatient, and often loses focus when around other dogs; yes, he’s an intact male. I have people and trainers tell me to be patient, not expect so much of him as he’s a teenager. True enough, but I have narrowed my range of acceptable behviours because of these things. He’s a long way off from being ring ready and with that in mind, I do have to be patient even though some days he’s picture perfect! This video reinforces what I’m already doing, so thanks for that. The cross-training is really helping us on our way.


  9. Jennifer Gaskins says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 12:33pm

    Awesome and inspiring! Some days I feel like you are my “life coach” and not just my training coach 😉 (Probably a little more that you bargained for lol) Great video and message to help those of us that get kinda stuck and don’t quite know how to get re-started! Thank you!!


    • Susan says:
      Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 2:55pm

      LOL Jennifer, funny how our sometimes dog life helps guide us all in our “regular” life.


  10. Bonnie Frank says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 9:49am

    Watching this was a true AH HA! moment for me. The piece that was the turning point was the width of the acceptable behaviors parameter. Brilliant. Thank you for this insight.


  11. Gail says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 8:03am

    This was just what I needed after this weekend. Narrowing the acceptable range of behaviors is what I need to focus on. Starting today…


  12. Jennifer Farrell says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 7:17am

    Inspiring advice for training my border collie and for all the other goals in my life – thank you Susan


  13. Pat Burroughs says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:10pm

    Thank you for this video I will be using this right away ????


  14. Melanie says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 9:53pm

    Great video. This is exactly what I needed to move forward in my training.


  15. Susan says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 9:33pm

    Thank-you for the new perspective on goal setting!


  16. Joanne T says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 8:38pm

    Really appreciated this video I’ve been having trouble focusing on my training goals and you managed to put it all in perspective. Thank you


  17. Jeffreyscott says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 8:09pm

    Great examples, Great graghs, really made it clear.


  18. Debra n Snap says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 8:04pm

    This took me back to when I changed course with Snap, Susan. It prooved to me that having a solid foundation and always being consistent with it, helps immensely when you’re setting new goals.

    With my new pup, I am constantly reminding myself of that as I have found myself getting lax in her foundation work. I don’t want to have to keep going back to correct something I should have solidified to begin with.

    You outdid yourself again. Thank you. This isn’t just for agility…. That’s why I love your courses.


  19. Michele says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 7:00pm

    This video came out on the right day, I decided this morning to stop working with my agility dog, the last 2 yrs. have been a battle with my dog, its so hard to keep the emotions in check when you know you have a awesome dog but they choose to not want to do the sport anymore, I will lower my goals and see what happens. thanks.


    • Anne says:
      Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 11:20pm

      Michele, I stop competing in all sports and breed showing late last year for similar reasons. In a number of coaching calls and videos Susan has done recently she referred to askng the question do you love the dog. It is the most painful question to ask when facing challenges with your dog. But when the answer is yes, you never really give up, you take a breath and refine your goals. This video is a step in that journey,to me its not so much lowering your goals, but redefining and making the steps, the criteria, clearer to yourself. My current goal is ‘finding the joy’. My long term goal is to get back to competing, but for now ensuring this first stage in attaining that goal is having fun. The first step in finding the joy, clarity and confidence for my dog.

      Susan another great video.


  20. Peggy says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 5:46pm

    Great presentation with tons of ideas and information on how to get the process started on setting goals! The complete positive attitude towards accepting of where you are now (level of skills etc.), and the excitement of the journey to make it to the goal…which may not be the straight and narrow…Wow words can not describe! Wonderful!


  21. Cathy Tomm says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 4:00pm

    Great video today! love the visual aids. I think I am needing to set a few more goals, again.


  22. Dianne D says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 3:12pm

    One of my favorite quotes from Lao Tzu is “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Your use of a car is a great metaphor (in many ways) for our training journey. We novice handlers are walking with flashlights; the elite handlers have wheels.

    My takeaway: Do what you can see today … be brave, be courageous and take a step.

    As a visual person, I am thankful for your videos. This is a favorite.


  23. Kerry says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 2:56pm

    Very helpful, I got lost last year just like you said in the video and ended up frustrated and not really accomplishing much of anything.


  24. Neet Lawrence says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 2:25pm

    Wow, a fantastic video as were the series of four. Unfortunately finances can’t allow me to to take part in 360 but I have followed your video series with eagerness. I really felt like you were speaking to me about so many things, in fact agility friends watched one of the videos and said that they thought you were describing me. Since watching I have been changing my attitude and building a new confidence it will be a tough road but I am determined to get there.My friends said they have already seen a big change in me in such a short time.


  25. Karen says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 2:05pm

    Not only is having a narrower acceptable range important, you must be consistent in what you find acceptable. So often I see people in a hurry, distracted, or thinking “just this once I don’t feel like taking the time to be sure he doesn’t pull on the leash, wait at the door or whatever”. If a behavior is ok one day and not the next how is the poor dog ever to be consistent in his behavior when you can’t be either? Take the time it take and it takes less time.


  26. Toni R. says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 1:59pm

    Makes a lot of sense. My training tends to be rather helter skelter. I see the end goal but I’m not very good at the little goals that lead to the big ones! Thank you for reminding me about them.


  27. Cookie says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 1:55pm

    Great video…thank you. Right now my goal is to get my dog to stop barking her way around the course to the point she gets sooo high she looses focus. She lives to run agility. Does not matter how low key I am she gets reved! The goal is clear…. How to narrow the range of acceptable behaviors…very tough and currently frustrating!


  28. Janet says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 12:50pm

    Wow that was an awesome video! You always seem to put out a newsletter or blog that totally is where I am. Yes I just want to see her run an agility course but I’m too intimidated because she is so reactive to other dogs. It is discouraging because I know she is capable of being an awesome agility dog. My plan is to work on her value for me with working through recallers and h360.


    • Christine Pinnow says:
      Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 1:50pm

      Janet, I totally understand! I’m feeling so motivated by these videos from the past month. Wishing you and I the best of luck helping our reactive girls see success with Recallers and Handling 360.


  29. Bobbie S. says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 12:49pm

    Thank you Susan. It puts things into perspective. Never give up but keep progressing.


  30. Margrit says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 12:37pm

    Thank you for your awesome thoughts, Susan. Goal setting in our dog sports is a very important task and so hard to keep up with. Keep on going!!! I will remember this. Thanks!!


  31. Sandra says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 12:33pm

    For some reason you seem to always do videos on exactly the things that go through my mind these days :). I’ve become the dogtrainer you described – ‘information gatherer’, ‘no-mistake-maker’, ‘no-risk-taker’ – So I often wait for ages before I ‘dare’ to start training new behaviors..It keeps me and my dog back – You give me the confidence to just see it as a game, to take risks, and to start today!! just like we try to do it for our dogs.. Thanks for changing my world day by day..


  32. Irena says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 12:05pm

    This video really speaks to my heart! I have a wonderful dog called Puu with just one severe reactivity problem. Since puppyhood he reacts violently to dogs, people, children, bikes, cars… you name it! We have been working on the problem for almost 3 years now and have made a lot of progress. Just as you said in your video, at first we were all around the place, mixing strategies, hoping for shortcuts and at a time of real desperation even trying out strategies I wasn’t comfortable with and that I am happy to say did not work and were abandoned very quickly. What really helped us though, and is still helping us move forward towards our goal, were Crate Games and Recallers games. Our goal used to be agility, now it is to live our lives together to the fullest by expanding the range of situations where Puu is comfortable. He has been my biggest dog training teacher so far (and I already have one stubborn little terrier under my belt) but a lot of the learning would probably never happen without you and your team. Thank you for being such an integral part of our journey!


  33. Holly E. says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 12:04pm

    Thank you Susan –
    As someone with perfectionist tendencies, the desire to gather all the information and have a clear idea of the path ahead is overwhelming. This is such good advice and very inspiring – one must just get started – like any big project, there is a larger goal, but you can’t get there without setting and accomplishing smaller goals – one step at at time.


  34. charli kelly says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 11:48am

    Thank you very much.It was just what I was needing at this moment!


  35. Rosemary Harlow says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 11:11am

    Thank you, Susan! You are a great mentor to those of us quietly struggling out here! You help us stay on track and remember to cherish every day that we have our dogs to move forward with!


  36. Rose says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:50am

    OMG! I feel like you were watching Willie and me in yesterday’s attempt at the first exercise in BP Lesson 1! Quickly realized we have to go back several steps to build skills that we are lacking.

    Great vlog post.


  37. Dorothé says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:36am

    Thanks Coach. This video for me was a “pepp” talk to get me to focus better. I am a H360 student and my Beagle is not advancing as I wanted it to be.


  38. Barbara Hunter says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:33am

    Thank you Susan. Start today with the first step!! AND KNOW what that 1st step is… then one step at a time!Know what your goal is and where you are going and move forward day by day! Thank you so much.


  39. Sheila says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:28am

    Thank you, Susan, for the inspiration. Seeing it laid out in graphic form really gave me an “aha!” moment. It totally makes sense to narrow the range of acceptable behaviors to move forward faster.


  40. Bill Mercado says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:20am

    Great video!! Made total sense, but we at times forget the obvious. Will definitely use it when setting future and present goals. Thanks Susan.



  41. Suzanne says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:15am

    OMG! Susan, are you in my head? LOL! I joined H360 this past weekend…new to agility. Set up my “training den”. Printed out a bunch of stuff. Working with a 2 year old rescue pointer. Decided I needed to start out on the puppy path…with body awareness and retrieve. Thanks for the push to take the first step and the need to let go of “perfection”.


  42. Jane says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:11am

    Thank you, Susan, for your constant inspiration.
    This video makes things so clear and helps make me feel we (Lola and me) can achieve our goals even if slowly.


  43. Jane G says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:04am

    That was awesome. Great post to wake up to on my day off when I have all of this on my mind. Good inspiration & helps me to focus my time today.

    Thank you!


  44. Deb Kaufman says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:02am

    This is gold. Thanks.


  45. allyn says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 10:00am

    My company left Sunday so yesterday I could start my H360. At first I was overwhelmed with navigating the site, then choosing the right success path, then realizing that presently I do not have one piece of equipment or even a yard and finally that my 11 year old dog may not even outlive the year course. I was ready to quit before I even started. Then I set a goal–to have fun with my dog today. We tried two puppy games. My dog’s eyes lit up and I think mine did too. So this blog is perfectly timed.It is my Carpe Diem! I am living in the moment 🙂


  46. Zoey says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 9:59am

    This is so timely for me. I took some much needed time off to spend on myself and am ramping up for my March 1 restart date. The important messages in this video to me are: progress not perfection; inertia + focus leads to success; it’s ok if you’re off course as long as it’s in reasonable range; and even if it’s not within reason, it just means your goal changes for a while for some important base work. Regardless of the task, we are spending time with our dogs and building that relationship! So it’s all good! Thanks, Susan!


  47. Eleanor says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 9:40am

    Nice, concise, easy-to-visualize path for achieving goals. Thanks for sharing.


  48. LaFray Gadoury says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 9:28am

    Wow! I just loved your complex yet simple explanation of goal setting for my training! You have confirmed that I’m heading in the right direction even though my handling is far from perfect. You’ve given me the confidence to keep going even when we hit road blocks that ‘others’ feel that I should give-up on working with my scared rescued GSD. Thank you for your gift of knowledge and for sharing it so freely!


  49. Jan T. says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 9:27am

    I feel like you described me. Video gave me a new way to approach my training.

    Thank you.


  50. rachael para says:
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 9:26am

    This video is so important to me as it talks about what I’m dealing with at this point in my training. I train for obedience, not agility but I so get what susan is talking about in goal setting and more importantly the pathway to my goals. Susan show how criteria is used to get to that goal and it is never a straight path but does move forward. she talks about understanding what you need in a behavior makes it easier to achieve. i love how Susan says start today with what you do know. thanks for the pep-talk.


Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

slide one
slide two