I’ve had a little break from my blogs due to another local trainer ripping off my content and steeling ideas etc.
I originally thought that if I stopped writing and took down my blogs, then this person wouldn’t be able to rip them off. Then I sat back and thought about it and decided that by me not putting my content out there, I am not able to help who I want to help!
2022 has been a funny year for me, my dogs, and the business. I’ve had to really think hard about what I’m doing and why!
Running a business is hard at the moment. It takes a constant push and effort to keep going, keep marketing yourself, and keep driving to engage with the people who you want to help.
Then there are my dogs. Since the 2 competition dogs won into grade 7, I was a bit of a loss at what to do next. Competition didn’t appeal to me all of a sudden, and my work seemed to pull me away from my dogs as I was spending so much time helping clients with their dogs. My young dog wasn’t getting the training he needed as I was working so much. That coupled with the fact that as a trainer, I felt quite undervalued and almost invisible, it made me really assess what 2023 is going to look like!
Agility as a sport is such a hard one for me, don’t get me wrong I love the game as an outlet for a working dogs focus, for building a partnership between a dog and the handler and for giving people and their dogs a hobby and a focus to take them out of their day to day life for a while.
The problem I have with it is that it can still seem so far behind when it comes to truly looking at how the dog feels about the game!! I was going to competitions and seeing stressed dogs, upset dogs and ones that were so excited they simply can not focus.
There still is such a gap between dog behaviour and agility training. Don’t get me wrong there are some fantastic agility trainers out there, ones who train skills that you can only dream of when starting out, but there are are also trainers who just focus on kit and let people train despite the dog not being in a good emotional place to do so.
You don’t get this so much in general dog training, but for some reason agility has this fabricated idea that it will suddenly calm down a dog or by doing agility it will make them better behaved at home! Then there is the other end of the scale, where a ‘crazy’ dog is seen as a good thing, that it will be faster if it is a little bit wild!
This is what I want to change!
When you understand dog behaviour, you can work on ALL of these pieces and they will make your agility training and competing EVEN BETTER.
If a dog is continually practising things in the environment of agility, you will get more of that behaviour. It won’t suddenly or magically just get better I’m afraid!
So, going forward, this is what my aim is for 2023, to help more agility dogs to be happy, focused, confident, and calm when needed, both in agility training and competition.
Milo taught me all of this first hand, and I have followed this up with Flash having the success he has also had. This is also the reason that Quest isn’t being rushed into the ring!
I want to help handlers to realise just how important ALL the pieces are when it comes to agility, and in turn, that will create a more focused and happier dog in competition. The success will just naturally follow if the dog is happy and the skills are there.
As handlers we need to REALLY be looking at our dogs to see if they are really happy when competing, are they engaged and wanting to participate WITH you?!
So back to the copying lady, enjoy! My blogs are back for you to copy and paste them, but please ensure you are actually following up on what you are plagerising in your practical training! Please ensure your kit is safe (tunnels need way more sandbags than you think) and that your beginners have the best start by not just focusing on kit. I know that is what sells, people want the sexy stuff, but if you truly believe what I am typing then let’s change how we introduce beginners to the sport, be the change with me instead of copying what I write but doing the complete opposite 😉.
So 2022 thank you for the lessons! 2023 as a business I’m ready! Not in the way I originally thought, but in the way that I believe is the best one to compliment my personal values and ethics and to continue to spread the message Milo is here to spread!
Milo’s book is available via the link below if you aren’t familiar with his story!