Finding Inspiration

So, I will admit my training has been somewhat…unmotivated lately.  So much of my focus has been on the health of my dogs, that I haven’t really felt comfortable focusing on skill training.  My whole focus was on Trip and Nationals, and since I decided NOT to go to Tryouts, I didn’t have that extra push to keep working hard heading into Tryouts.  So while with Trip, my focus is going to remain on having fun, rewarding lots, and staying stress-free, it’s time to get down to it with Ticket.  I have a list of things I know we need to work on.  The first two things are for ALL agility courses–jumping, and weave pole entries.  The rest is all pretty specific to saving hundredths of a second, mastering international challenges, and doing whatever is necessary to win Nationals and the World Championships.  No small goals for us 🙂

I think it’s easy when you have a young, talented dog, to just take it easy, work your basics, and gain a false sense of security when you run your average AKC course, and find very few that offer much challenge.  I’m not saying you necessarily Q everytime, just that it’s rarely the *course* that beats you.  You don’t walk out onto a course and say, wow, I have no idea how we will do this.  The BASIC skill set is there.  But since US courses don’t require winning to advance, and don’t contain some of the same challenges that international courses do, you don’t have the same incentive to work on more advanced skills.  There is no immediate reward for doing so–you’re never “tested” on that knowledge.  I think that’s the rut I’ve fallen into.  Ticket definitely has more foundation in those type of skills then previous dogs, but working them has been put on the back burner.  It’s time to turn up the heat.

Watching World Team tryouts this weekend was bittersweet.  I missed being there much more then I thought I would.  It was the right decision to make at the time, and probably would still be now.  Trip didn’t need that stress at the point–she’s started running like her old self, but every now and then I see a glimmer of ring stress when a mistake is made.  Better to take it easy for awhile, and focus on fun.  Even knowing that, it’s hard though.  On the plus side, watching was inspirational.  The courses had some amazing challenges, and most were pretty brutal as far as Q rate.  And the thought came back–“I can DO that.”  OK, maybe not yet with Ticket.  But she sure has the potential to be there.  So, add that to the Tulsa goal–Minnesota, 2012. 🙂  Lots of work left to do yet, but I seem to have found the motivation to get it in gear.

Congrats to the new Team members, and to those who will get that phone call later this month!  The US will field another amazing team–here’s to Gold.


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