Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dog Agility Blog Action Day: Measuring Success in Swedish

Today is another Dog Agility Blog Action Day! This time we're focusing on "Success" and whatever it means to you.

Ironically this falls prior to a weekend where I have three days to finish Dally's PACH2. She just needs one more QQ and a handful of points, and since I organize the Hoosier Kennel Club AKC Agility Trial, I'll be competing all weekend.

So does the number of MACH/PACH or championships determine the amount of success you have as a dog handler, owner, trainer, competitor? Or is it the little things?

Dally's first PACH--November 10, 2012

The competitive side of me would say it's the championships/titles. Those are how you show your accomplishments--those numerous letters preceding and proceeding your dog's name. In the horse show world, we judge the buckles you wear, the award chairs you sit in, etc.

In horses, success is measured in championships.
Training LaMesa has totally opened my eyes, though. Dally was "easy" in comparison to starting and training LaMesa--Dally is consistent. After I dropped her down to Preferred, things came so much easier because she no longer struggled to make time nor be constantly injured trying to jump 8". It took us a while, but we got that first QQ and then things just started rolling.

LaMesa is another story, though. I believe she has so much raw talent, and so much heart, that is can be a handicap. I know she can be so good, and that affects my mindset because I get competitive and know she's fast. So I push her...and we fail...or I perceive it as a fail.

I've learned to take the little things as a success. LaMesa used to struggle so much with weaves at trials. If we can nail the weave poles from any entrance on a course, I'm excited. If we can run an entire course without her knocking bars, that's a win. Have we QQd? Nope. Right now we average 1 Q out of 4 runs in a weekend. But that Q is always a big deal.

Happiness is running this silly girl.

I see so much potential in her that I want us to be successful, but I have learned not to push it. I've been identifying where we need to focus and I am learning how to run her versus Dally, which is a big success for me. I've learned "She is not Dally" and that's OK. She's fun to run (so is Dally, don't get me wrong). She makes you think. You have to be solid in your game plan from the very beginning or she can catch you on your heels.

But all that makes me a better handler, which, in turn, will make her a better agility dog. This will also help me with future dogs, horses, and handling people. That, in itself, is success.

So my mindset has changed...a little. I'm still competitive, but I've been checking myself and my ego at the door when we walk in and I look for the positives in our runs, and not always just at the negatives. I just want LaMesa to continue to enjoy running with me and doing agility. The QQs will come.


Read more from other DBAD bloggers on how they measure success: Success


  1. I agree they will come! At one point Meeker and I were 0 for 8 in Snooker (it might even have been Starters Snooker). I had been over thinking my handling - I had plans for every possible thing that could go wrong. Then I started thinking about what I wanted to happen - I had a plan - I ran the plan and ran Meeker and what do you know the Qs just started coming. I learned to love the game and we became a pretty good Snooker team! Definitely success for us!

    1. Exactly! I'm learning to love the game and the process now. It's not about winning or Qs, but I love seeing LaMesa give 110% every time and how she's learning.

  2. It's quite hard to imagine how different dogs can be until you experience it, isn't it? I also have to catch myself and think Java isn't Ruby and Ruby isn't Java :)

    1. Yes! No one understands until they do it!

  3. “Victory is sweetest when you've known defeat.” If every time we went to an agility trial, we came home with a QQ, what would be the challenge in that? It truly is all about the journey. It's just that some of us are on a short jaunt, and others a trip around the world! Jimmy and I definitely took the long route ;-)

  4. LaMesa sounds a bit like my Mufaasa. I've decided to take the pressure off with him for the next while, and I'm sure it's going to make agility a lot more fun.