I think one of the hardest parts of feeling like everything is going wrong is that you have no idea if things will ever get better. Maybe one day it will all make sense and I'll understand the reason why this has all gone so wrong. But that is hard to keep sight of when your smack bang in the middle of it. I read inspirational stories other people have written that say everything happens for a reason and you get the dog you need at the right time. That is pretty hard to believe when you are constantly asking yourself why. Is it my fault that he has all these issues? What did I do to cause this? When you fail how do you stop yourself from feeling like your a failure? Why do I need a dog in my life that challenges me constantly in every part of his training and who I can't compete with? What lesson is it that I need to learn? Watching everyone else compete from the sidelines is not so easy. But somehow I have to grab onto that there must be a bigger picture and that one day I'll be able to look back and know this had to be my story at this time. To have faith that I'm being sent down a certain path for a reason. And ultimately to remind myself that I should never rely on success to determine my self worth. Is there more to life than agility trials? Of course there is, but that is what I love to do. It's part of who I am.
I've made a commitment to Veto. I've realised that while I do know a lot about dog training my true understanding of applying it correctly is a work in progress. Things that I thought to be a certain way are at a different point of consciousness now and have clicked into place in a totally different context. Changing behavior is not about racing forward and making things harder all the time. It is about creating a change in emotion so that whatever Veto is worried about becomes so boring and easy that he doesn't feel like he needs to worry about it anymore. My dog training world is no longer about how fast he can go, how many backsides he can do or how perfect a contact behavior can be, its how he feels about where he is and what is around him. It's about finding an okayness that makes him feel he can do anything. Then hopefully one day Veto will feel that he and I can do anything together and the world won't be scary for him anymore.
In the papillon part of my world Cassie has strained a muscle in her neck so right now she is mostly resting with some rehab to help the muscle heal. I want to do Sarah Stremming's Worked Up course with her which starts in December but I'm not sure how I'd go doing two courses at the same time and do them both justice. So I may have to wait for the Hidden Potential course instead. I have long wondered if some part of her ring issues have tied in with extreme over arousal when she's running. I never really understood how she can run flat out around an agility course and look to all the world that she is having a great time. But afterwards she will refuse to run in any other events which would indicate otherwise. So is the over arousal so great that it is causing her distress? I can't help but think yes. I have accepted the likelihood of trialling her again is low and I'm OK with that, but I would like to understand her and know what she needs from me. I believe that she has many lessons left for me also, just in her own crazy pappy way. Never give up, never give in.
At the end of October we had Jan Eigl Eide a top European handler here to run a series of seminars. What made it all the more special was that Jan is also a top European judge who's courses I was already a big fan of. They are big and open and allow dogs to run fast, without compromising safety but with plenty of challenges. The sorts of courses Jan designs is what I have aspired to and I think I was maybe some of the way there but as is me, I wanted to learn more and know that I can be much, much better. So I asked him to present a course design lecture while he was here which he jumped at being super passionate about the topic. The upside of not competing the weekend he was here was that I was able to spend time talking to him and observing his course design. Although I would have loved to run one of my own dogs on his courses. Jan has also kindly offered to have a look at future courses I design and provide advise and suggestions which is so cool! Never did I believe that I may have a European judge as a mentor. It has definitely given me a renewed passion to judge and design courses. I think that confidence in what I design will go a long way to letting competitors comments and opinions slide right off. It's amazing how easy it is to let doubt seep in when you are feeling unsure or uncertain. So I'm feeling refreshed and ready to get back out there and see what I can do.