Having a plan is the best way to tackle trial stress.

Don't hide from your stress, have a plan to deal with it!

So the weekend was fun (in my opinion anyway). It was my first (but I don’t think my last) Creating Your Trial Stress State workshop. I executed more than 20 (some little and some big) stressors over the weekend (that I planned) and I am sure several others that I did not:).  I have a cool photo I was hoping to use from the weekend but I had to leave the house a hour after the end of the workshop and now sit in an airport without any way to up load the photo.

Some of the stressors created where loads of fun for some of us . . . okay maybe I was the only one who truly enjoyed the uber powerful sound system in my building pounding out the Partridge Family’s  “I Think I Love You” at ear splitting levels. Oh, and did I mention the ipod was set to repeat that classic piece of ’70’s music history over and over again for 5 hours straight!  W -a- y -y -y too much fun for an OCD girl like myself.

Yes there were tears, yes there was laughter but the bottom line was teaching people that “It is what it is” and you need not be concerned with things you can not control both in agility and in life.  So each participant was sent off with the assignment of coming up with their own personal “What If Plan” so there are no surprises and no sudden over-reactions when circumstances change.

You own “What if Plan” should include you visualizing your desired response to any possible scenario you may be faced with at your next trial. I am sure some of the participants from the weekend will chime in with their own thoughts on the workshop. But, when creating such a plan, make sure you design something you are going to be able to follow through with. I mean, no need to plan on repeating the seesaw if your dog comes off the contact if you trial only in AKC (a venue that doesn’t allow that).

Personally I am not in favor of giving dogs a second chance in the ring, even if the venue of your choice allows it. An agility trial is a place of evaluating skills. So no hopping the dog up on the end and asking for a good contact position once the dog has blow his contact. You only get one chance to make a first impression and where contacts, weave poles, tables and start lines are concerned first impressions are the lasting ones!

Today I am grateful for all of the break throughs I saw with the TSS participants. Some highs, some lows but lots to move forward with.