Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Serendipity and Agility Class

Sometimes the universe really does conspire to give you the life lesson you need.

I started classes with Kathleen 4 weeks ago to help get Bug acclimated to non-rubber contacts. In October I realized that my dogs were running at my speed when both Carmen and Bug had the EXACT same time in a Tunnelers run. I decided I would change the way I run and try to run less conservatively.

One of the first things that Kathleen said when I started classes with her was to stop feeding Bug from my hand – I was ensuring he would be slowing down and running at my speed because he would be concerned about getting his reward. Ohhh…

Last night we had class and while Bug’s class was excellent (he continues to drive over the A-frame, I realized if I give him more lateral distance at the tire I don’t push him around it, and he began to conquer his teeter fear) – Ike’s class was truly stupendous.

Last week Kathleen commented that Ike is very precise but we want him to be acting more like he is chasing rodents or attacking teenagers than worrying about being precise. We worked a lot on “go” and really got him hyped about that game. Kathleen noticed that Ike slowed down when I used the phrase “C’mon” which has obviously become conditioned to mean “go slow” – I made a pledge to Ike that I would try very hard to drop that phrase.

Last night I did not use that phrase once, I rewarded frequently with tossed food, and I had a very speedy and SUPER happy Schnauzer. The Schnauzer grin was out all night!

Kathleen commented that my energy is different when I run Ike versus Bug. She said it might be because I have decided Ike is “retired” and class is for him to have fun and me to work on my training. Either way we agreed that I need to run Bug more like I have started running Ike.

To top off yesterday’s classes was Susan Garrett’s post this morning, Aiming for Perfection where she discussed her recent attendance of a Tony Robbins seminar.

TR said:
“Perfection is the lowest standard a human could ever take on because it is unattainable therefore you ultimately have no standard at all. You are preparing for failure, because that is your ultimate expectation.”

She said when she asks students what they are aiming for with ______ (fill in the blank), they often reply perfection. Now, I would never say that. I would say having fun with my dogs, a better performance, etc. But guess what? I think my mouth would say that – not my actions. It is true I am a perfectionist - and it can be a serious fault.

Do you know what EVERYONE who has seen Ike run in a trial says? “He is so precise – just slow.” “He is so perfect – just slow.” "He has the skills - he is just slow." Yes, very slow in a trial situation because apparently I have been aiming for perfection at the expense of fun without realizing it.

Susan said, ‘I tried to inspire people to exchange “perfect” for loads of fun and “roughly right”.' And boy does that hit home for me. It has not been a conscious decision, but I think unconsciously I have been aiming for perfection. Read the post, it is well worth reading even if you are not an SG fan.

Is it too early for New Year’s resolutions? Because I think I know what mine is, give up perfection and embrace roughly right.


Katrin said...

I think that's a very good resolution! Nice post! Also glad that things are going well in class.

Jules said...

Thanks, Katrin. That SG post really drove home what had started to click for me.

penni said...

It's really what we all need to internalize -- or else, perhaps, we shouldn't compete at all. Super post. Thanks, Jules.

Jules said...

Thanks, Penni. I am really excited to have had this epiphany.

Sara said...

What a great post.

You gave me a lot to ponder about myself.

manymuddypaws said...

good post! i haven't read SG's blog in a while, I'll go take a peek!

Sam said...

I need to get into the habit of throwing my rewards, too. I can't seem to bring myself to do it with food, though I frequently throw a toy for Marge when we practice weaves at home.