Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Whenever I look at Bear, I don't just see the dog, I see the events that mark his life and mine. From companion to my Novice A dog- we have climbed the learning curve together. The greatest compliment I ever got was when a fellow exhibitor told me, "you make it look so easy."  Of course, we had our failures--the times I thought I wasn't cut out for this--but we persevered.
So, I wish for my boy, many more happy dog years enjoying simple pleasures; a slice of watermelon, a piece of Cabot cheese, a leisure walk. Though retirement calls and we may never step in the competition ring together again, I will keep those memories close to my heart.
Happy 10th Birthday to my special boy! What an amazing journey it has been, my friend.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mental Toughness

With the buzz about Mental Toughness and its role in success in both business and sports, I wondered how it could be applicable to the world of competitive dog sports.  After all, we are a unique group, but there are principles that foster mental toughness in the show ring that we can practice now, before we fill out the next entry form.
1. Adapt to Change- Rules & Regulations change constantly in each venue; obedience, rally, field, breed and agility have all undergone change. Embrace the new!  Face major life changes head on- view your training sessions as a safe haven where you will grow mentally & spiritually.
2. The Art of Failing- I have failed and live to tell about it. Picture yourself five years from now and still competing. Repeat the mantra," I am not going anywhere- I am here for the long haul. I belong here."
3. Physical Fitness- You can't deny the mind/body connection. A toned, fit body exudes confidence and lowers the resting heart rate. Although easier said than done, just take one step at a time. You will get there!
4. Ring Zen- Ever wonder how a mother can carry on a conversation with a friend, but still see her child standing in back of her? This is what you will do in the ring with the judge, but you will do it in a Zen state. You will have the vision of an owl, but you will be in a meditative state with your dog. Practice learning to read your dog's cues and communicate using energy & body language.
5. Train Hard & Consistent- You cannot short change or circumvent this step. Be willing to put in the hard work and do whatever it takes to succeed as a team.
6. Live in the Present- This is a lesson you have already learned from your dog. Now fake it until you make it! Imagine all previous NQ's have been erased from the record books. Today, both you and your dog have a fresh start. Make the most of the unique talents you & your dog have been given.
Whatever your passion, find your niche. Live each day with determination, resiliency and purpose.

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