Wow, we have got some awesome responses to my question. Initially, I was just going to pick a certain “number” and that was going to be the “winner” but there are some many thoughtful responses I am definitely going to have to select one (might be impossible) so it may have to be more than one, winner here. You have until Sunday when I decide. My plan is to read these answers out to a few friends (Greg & Laura Derrett are here so they are a captive audience:)) and we will pick the winner (or winners). I apologize to those that posted their response but it didn’t show up here on the blog until this morning, I still haven’t figured out how to let all of the response be automatic so you have to wait until I officially “approve” them (which means you have to wait until I can leave camp and get to the Starbucks in order to get on line:( . So keep ’em coming guys, your comments are all great and really worthwhile for anyone to read! Our first camp here is almost over and it has been awesome for me! Rather than teaching, I am working Feature in one of our groups and it has been a wonderful opportunity to get her out on a different surface with different equipment and run Greg & Laura’s tough sequences. The youngster is holding her own, and really enjoying the chance to work so much. Greg has got a new powerpoint presentation that he did on Monday night and it definitely has the “wow” factor. He is going to present it again this Sunday evening, so anyone in the Vero Beach area you really will not want to miss it, regardless of what handling system you are working in.
Today I am grateful for Starbuck’s WiFi and for Lynda Orton-Hill who drives me here and answers all of the multitude of questions coming in about “where is my DVD”. (please be patient we cannot control the mail service, I know it has been a long time but someone that ordered on the 10th just got hers today, and I am sure there are more of you out there. This is NOT the norm, I can only assume it is due to the holiday rush:))
Might I suggest you get a laptop card, since you are on the road so much. It is very convenient, you don’t have to go to Starbucks, and Linda doesn’t have to drive you. Look how many things that would solve. I love mine. By the way, I love yor blog.
Many top competitors are athletic, confident, and experienced. I am a young, non-athletic competitor; but, I don’t allow this to define me. While my goals do not include a national or international championship, I am constantly striving to excel and I never give up. I learned this from my best friend, Q.
I was infected with agility fever when my 5th grade teacher brought her future agility star, a young border collie, Rocket, to school. I pleaded for my own Border Collie, but my parents couldn’t imagine such a large, stereotypically hyper canine. After I trained a local breeder’s sheltie for over a year, they agreed that it wasn’t just a stage I was going through. On April 13th, 2004, I was given the focus of a four year obsession; a 16 week old sheltie puppy. Other trainers had looked at this litter, but the “plain, brown male” wasn’t the desired puppy. While all the other pups happily greeted prospective owners, he was much too proud to seek a home. He was waiting for me.
I had great expectations for a successful agility career; and, in hopes of a self-fulfilling prophecy, I named him Q. I was completely in love with my puppy. I constantly held him and spent all of my free time with him. My parents joked that he wouldn’t develop any muscles if I never let him walk. After only three days, I took him to a local agility trial. When we arrived, I carefully lifted him out; but, when I closed the door, he tried to jump back into the car. The door hit his neck, and he was paralyzed. He lay motionlessly on the ground as I screamed for my mom. While a friend drove us to the emergency vet, I held his small, rigid body and kept my hand on his racing heart beat. After twenty-four hours, there was no response and he was transferred. Our vet explained there wasn’t any hope; Q should be put to sleep. He recommended buying another puppy, but we weren’t ready to give up (and neither was Q)! Slowly, Q improved. Once he was out of the critical stage, he only had to stay at the vet during the day. Because he was blind in both eyes and completely paralyzed, he couldn’t eat and he still needed IVs. I was no longer a victim of agility insomnia; I was just thankful that Q would survive. After several weeks, he started to jerk his head, and I had to stay up at night and gently hold his neck still. I can remember the night he first tried to stand; he looked like a new-born colt as he tried to balance. Once he started walking, he held his head at an odd angle and couldn’t turn without falling. My little fighter had the will to live, proving the vets wrong! Because Q couldn’t eat for such a long period of time, he didn’t grow. Q weighed 7 lbs when I got him and 7 lbs several months later.
We just celebrated Q’s fourth birthday and I am thankful for every training session and trial that we share. Two year ago, I was blessed with a beautiful Border Collie, Zing, and, unexpectedly, I now have another young border collie, Quiz. While each dog is special; Q is the dog who set the never-give-up example and taught me how to hope and strive even when I compete against the best. He pushes me towards narrowing the gap between being a local competitor and national competitions.
“what (if anything), do you think separates you as a competitor in the sport of dog agility, from the best competitors in the world?”
Passion. The thing that affects everything. Where we choose to put our time or money into.
A personal committment to place priorities in an order to compliment our desire.
To place a balance of levity and significance on each moment we are blessed with.
Quotes of reinforcement;
1.) Great success usually goes to the people who prove their ability to overcome the small challnges.
2.) A winner is a dreamer who never quits.
3.) Live and love, engage and embrace every moment we have with our dogs.
4.) Building good memories require building good moments. It’s the memories that define the impact of those moments.
5.) Success is defined by the smile on my face immediately after a great moment, and a memory that I choose to hold onto to reinforce my next step.
I know I am late but my Mother is in the Hospital and I lost track of time. I would still like to comment since I think this is so interesting!
What separates most of us from world class agility competitors?
Well, as a pretty raw newbie I was in the finals of Steeplechase at Halton Hills with top World Team members. The resounding thought in my head was “What the HECK am I doing here??” There were 12 in my height category and I watched with fascinated interest. What I saw was dog after dog put in an absolutely stellar run… full out and the dogs were giving everything they had. Those people were single-mindedly going for first…not clean,a bit cautious and 4th (which was me but I ran 3rd dog in so no fair, LOL)… first place and the dogs knew it, were fit and wanted it just as badly as the handlers.
What separated me from the rest was I had absolutely NO idea what that level of competition was all about! I went out there to run clean and keep my dog on the path I had selected…fast and clean. But what I learned from it was I had the dog, fit and focuseed and she was completely “on”, and I had the calm mindset to go out and put in a good performance. This imo is NOT what you need for a World Team level effort! You need to trust in your training, take chances, be where you were meant to be and let your dog and all it’s talents shine through and put in a blazing, on-the-edge-of-your seat-type run! All that wonderful training does not mean babysitting the weaves!
We still did well but watching the top 2 (Susan and Adrian) I wish I could have that run back to run it like my dog wanted me to…full out and letting her give everything she has and trusting that she knew her job.
Anyway, that’s my take and it was a valuable lesson and one I will never forget!
I see in your 2X2 video that you are teaching the dog to single step the poles. Is this skill dependent on the size of the dog? Would you expect a 14″ dog to single step?
What separates most of us from world class agility competitors? Exquisite, consistent timing – which is the result of practice mixed with a natural tendency for efficiency and speed (both dog and handler); and a dedicated agility lifestyle – which is the result of choosing priorities (both dog and handler).
I think it comes back to the same principle for the handler that you teach for your dogs….DASH!
Desire – Mine is most likely, less than that of the World Team Members.
Accuracy/Ability – Ditto on this one…although I absolutely love to learn and train!
Speed – Well, I think I can out run a some of you for sure but one must remember it is the whole package that counts 😉
Habitat – I currently don’t have access to an indoor heated ring in my backyard…but I am working on it 🙂
PS – I am thankful today for all the wonderful information that you post on your blog 🙂
real easy question this one.
a strong craving for Stella (thinking about it , any larger will do)
an absolute addiction to 60 roll up cigarettes a day
and my wife not training my dogs enough!!!!!