Trans·for·ma·tion /tran(t)sfərˈmāSH(ə)n: a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

Who amongst us wouldn’t want a “transformation”? Maybe a transformation of our fitness level, our cluttered house, or yes possibly even our agility abilities. Transformations require the desire for a change. That desire may come from a place of frustration, pain or maybe even a drive to just progress forward. It could be an external struggle, like not being able to execute handling moves with good timing, or it could be an internal struggle like wanting to be better for your dog or wanting to achieve goals on a more accelerated timeline than you have in the past.

Over the next week we are holding a video contest for the members of my online agility handling class, “Handling360”. Eventually you will see the top 15 videos in our contest but I thought I would share this one here today.

This is the story of Levi, a rescued Beagle cross.

IMG_3623_3738Levi came to live with Shelly Diehl and her husband Steve, when he was 8 weeks old. He was unlike any of the dogs they had ever previously owned. He would run off, and chase their horses. He had drive for everything and everyone one other than his owners. In short, he was a pain in the butt for this unsuspecting couple.

At one point Shelly took Levi to an animal behaviourist for help. She was told “rescue hounds, can be highly inbred leaving them with a brain that isn’t fully developed resulting in the dog being untrainable.” Shelly was heartbroken but she pushed on and one night while googling ‘dog training’ she happened upon our Recallers classroom and joined immediately. From there she continued on to Handling360. In the video below she shares the story of her transformation with Levi.

Some may look at this video and think “yeah but she has a big back yard” or “Shelly is able to run with her dog” or any other number of things that this video portrays. However, comparing what others have and you don’t have is a pessimistic outlook towards your challenges. With that mindset a transformation of your own would be difficult if not impossible.

IMG_3795_3881Shelly is almost 50 years old, and she has never trained a dog in agility before, as a matter of fact, she has done very little dog training at all other than what any other “average pet owner” would have done. She has two other dogs at home in addition to six indoor cats, three horses and her chickens. She trains alone guided only by the lessons and inspiration of Handling360. That, and her determination to bring a better life to Levi has brought her to where she is today. That is a point of a total transformation. I hope you are as inspired as I am.

Today I am thankful for Shelly who doesn’t see what her dog isn’t, who doesn’t look around at the resources she doesn’t have, and who looks only at what lessons she can teach Levi today in order to progress their relationship one step beyond where it was yesterday.