Friday, June 8, 2012

Blog Action Day Takeaways - "Attitude"

Having read all 54 posts sent in by agility bloggers on June 6th on the subject of "Attitude", the main point made seems to be that everyone struggles with developing and maintaining a good attitude, most people have had experiences with rude competitors at trials, and most people approach agility as "fun".  Here are my favorite takeaways and links to some full articles.  A list of all the articles can be found here.

“Attitude controls Altitude.” ~unknown

"If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it”. ~Mary Engelbreit

"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right." ~Henry Ford

"There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate." ~Robert Brault

"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." ~Oprah Winfrey
I don’t think a one-size-fits-all approach to dog training works. Dogs, like people, bring different personalities to training. One dog can be resilient, another slower to bounce back.
I have been taking a Control Unleashed course from Greta Kaplan, with Dancer. It has taught me a lot about reading the very subtle signals. . . . .
There are plenty of attitudes in agility; some good – some not so much. For some reason, there are people in this sport who . . . . . think that being able to get a dog around an agility course successfully, gives them permission to treat those they perceive as less worthy, poorly.

I love it when something goes wrong in a run, but the handler smiles and never blames their dog. When the run ends, they smile at their dog and their dog smiles back, never knowing anything went wrong. Now THAT is a great attitude!
Your ability to be persuaded to change your attitude is directly linked to your intelligence - low intelligence and high intelligence are struggle to change; whereas, average intelligence are more able to be persuaded one way or the other. Same goes for self-esteem. Those with super high self esteem or low self esteem find it more difficult to move the needle on their attitude; whereas, those with average self-esteem are more open.
Life is too short to be an asshole or to let one under your skin.
While we put a lot of emphasis on how dogs read our motion cues (forward, deceleration, lateral, etc), something I believe comes in a very close second is our body cues and specifically, emotion cues.
For me the most important aspect of handling, next to using Proactive Handling, is bringing an intensity to my execution.

When it is time to run the course I try to push everything else out of mind and have a narrow focus on executing, closely watching/cuing my dog and really driving myself to those points where I need to be. Handling still must balance where you need to be with providing the cues your dog needs when they need them. But as soon as my dog knows what is needed; I try to be unrelentingly driving forward to my next spot.
A positive attitude isn’t something that comes naturally to all of us.
But I have practiced the journey to that happy place often enough that I can easily find my way. I just have to want to make it so, and I do.
It’s hard to make a case for being passionate about not giving a damn (it’s only a game) without it sounding slightly discordant. That being said, I’m a student of the game, and a coach in the game. But on a very personal level, it’s just a game I play with my dogs.
Lots of poetic affirmations on this post, such as:
When I’m 74 years old, I will wake up each morning with an attitude that says, “more please”. I will lift my body from the sheets, display a few downward facing dog yoga poses to alert my joints and muscles that the day has begun and shake my body with a vigor that leaves my checks nicely smoothed out from the creases left by pillow. I will venture forward to void yesterday and make room for today’s surprises.
As Samurai took a U-turn to check out the trash . . . . . Daisy Peel (my trainer) calmly said,"No, just wait for him. Sometimes when I do this, I just pull a chair to the middle of the ring."  And as she said it, she pulled two chairs into the ring. And sat.  After awhile, Samurai, apparently bored of his explorations, came flying back, taking a jump for kicks. . . . Daisy clicked it. His curiosity piqued. He circled and ran toward us. Clicked again.  Sam sensed it and began to offer more behaviors. Soon he was acting as if he must surely be the smartest and most charming Papillon in the world.

We must honor, respect and find joy in a dog's endless ability to be uniquely and utterly itself . . . . . To realize, allow and accept this fact in total is to open a font of positive energy that can be channeled to many things. It surpasses control because it is a response that is freely given and grown in an attitude of openness.


Plenty more worth reading and remembering, but these are the ones that struck me the most.

Upwards and onward,

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