2009- from good to great

January 3, 2009

It always seems that in the sport of dog agility, and probably most sports out there that there is such a small jump from being average to being good at what you do.  Most people in the sport of agility will make it to the masters class, obtain their ATCH and possibly compete at a regional or national level.  Assuming you work hard and are given decent information you can do well in the sport.  On the contrary it seems the ascent from good to great is monumental; it is the difference between a sport or hobby verses a lifestyle. 

I believe agility or any kind of dog training is all about detail.  Whether it be foundation training, obstacle performance or handling, in order to gain greatness it must be all about the details.  I have never been a detail person, not any part of me has ever cared about details.  Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you the only part of my life that I pay any detailed attention to is my dog training.  Ironically a huge part of my life has become about dog training therefore I have learned to become a detail person – at least when it comes to anything that may pertain to my success with my dogs. 

I follow the Say Yes program of training which is based on component learning and is oozing with detail and many small but important elements that help to build a strong foundation for any dog sport.  Even with a program that is so progressive and dynamic, it is so easy to simply train the exercise and move on.  Of course you likely don’t need to train each skill until it is 110% to have success, but just imagine how much better you could have been had you trained that last 10%.  When Susan Salo was here in November she said something that rung so true to me ” you either pay up front or you spend a lifetime paying back in interest”.  Dog training is so easy when you put forth all your effort and pay everything up front, the difficulties come when you cheat yourself by moving too quickly and a year down the road you become swamped with interest, always having to go back and fix as everything begins to fall apart.

I have come to the conclusion that great dog trainers not only have to focus on the details but they must also find joy in the details.  It is so easy to become smothered by all the details and that is the main reason I find myself and those around me moving on too quickly.

I am not a very goal oriented person but I am going to try and make year 2009 to be all about finding joy in the details, moving from good to great.


4 Responses to “2009- from good to great”

  1. Fanny said

    Good luck with details in 2009! But don’t forget that you need to RUN as well if you want to be great 😀

    Happy New Year!

  2. Melissa said

    Thanks for that post! It’s just the reminder I needed for myself as I am new to this sport and to dog ownership and training!!

  3. amanda said

    great post. very true.

  4. Julie Rice said

    Excellent post!

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