Saturday, December 31, 2011

Obviously Obvious

I am one of those people, where the obvious...just ain't that obvious.  My kids used to call me Captain Obvious.  It took me a while to figure out they were being sarcastic.  

Have you ever had someone tell you something, drill it into your head and  for whatever reason, it just didn't stick?

Kind of like when my parents warned me what would happen if I climbed the scraggly tree in the back yard.  Did I listen?  Oh no.  Not only did I climb that stupid tree, but when I got to the top I decided to play "Super Lumberjack" and start swaying the top back and forth, until it snapped.  

It didn't occur to me they might be right, until I was on my way down, breaking every branch I hit along the way.  

After I hit the ground, my friend looked at me with an utter look of horror, and said "You weren't 'spozed to be up dere" then turned and ran screaming back home.

It pains me to admit this, but I think something else has finally sunk in. 

It is not how often I work my dogs. 
 It is how often I work them PROPERLY


Too often I am out in the field flailing around, looking at my cuticles, scraping mud off my boots or gazing at the pretty mountain in the distance. Or thinking "Oh what a pretty dog, I love the way she runs.", or "Look at the fleece on that ewe, I can't wait to spin it."  

Suddenly the sheep are at my feet.  How did that happen?  Whoops, I guess I was distracted.  


If I am consistent, expect proper work all the time, instead of letting them slice a flank here or there, cheat a stop, blow off a steady - we will progress faster - even if we only 'train' twice a week.  


Conversely, if I am working my dog every day and I am confusing the crap out of her, we will progress slower.  If I allow them to get away with shoddy work, every other day, then how can I expect them to be correct at a trial? 


You'd think this would have settled into my head by now.  Even though I am thinking it, writing it, typing it, etc I will still go out there at some point in the next few days, get distracted by the alfalfa in my bra, or a duck in the water and forget what I am doing.  

I call it the Menopause Training Technique.  
Every day is a wonderful new beginning! 
Because you cant remember shit from the day or minute before.  

What was I saying? 

I have made some decisions about trialing. 

I am only going to enter trials that will benefit my dog & me as a handler.  There is absolutely no reason why I need to be trialing my dog every two or three weeks during the winter training trials, running on the same sheep, same field every time.  I am not going to enter every single trial near-by in the summer either.   It does not help me and I am burning my dog out.  Besides, it costs lotsa $$$ 

So, I am going to choose our trials wisely in this New Year.   I will combine them with opportunities to train in different places, visit good friends and make it a positive experience for us all.  I will expect nothing, only to use the trial as an opportunity to focus on a specific area of training & to build our confidence.

This is supposed to be fun!  Right? 


I am tired of taking trials and myself too seriously.  This is just a measure of where we are in training.  Nothing more, nothing less.  


In the big scheme of things, it just ain't that important.  :)

It is nice when perspective allows for a little attitude adjustment.  


Happy New Year everyone!  May this year bring you, your family and pack bountiful happiness, riches of love & bottomless bowls of joy. 

(Thank you to Kelsey Nichols for shooting these pictures of Brynn working while I was in Idaho.  What a great surprise, I had forgotten about them and found them on my memory card while processing the rest of the shots for everyone else.  You did a great job!)


Ann said...

Maybe I should print this one out and tape it to the bathroom mirror! :)

Kathy said...

I wish that there was a "like" button for this blog entry.

"It is not how often I work my dogs.
It is how often I work them PROPERLY."

You are so right in saying this. I must remember it too. Thanks.

gvmama said...

Happy New year Carolyn. Your photos as always are breath takingly beautiful :0)

LauraK said...

I love this post. Although I don't do herding, I think the same principles apply to any dog sport. I definitely started taking agility trials way too seriously and would get down on myself when something went wrong. Now, with the "it's supposed to be FUN!" attitude, if something goes wrong, it's OK- I'm just out there to spend time with my best friend and it's not the end of the world if we mess something up.

Thanks for sharing this "obvious" information- it's a good reminder :) Sounds like you've got a great perspective on things, and some awesome goals for the coming year!

Ferreh Hiatt said...

Loved your line of thought for 2012... I've kind of come to the same plan for Savvy this year: more training, BETTER training, visiting friends, and only trialling here or there.

On the line of Captain Obvious, it totally made me think of the Mr. Obvious skit on The Bob and Tom show! If you've never heard one, here's a clip for a short one on YouTube:

Patty in NM said...

My best friend used to call me "Otto" (actually she still does!). It stands for "Oblivious To The Obvious". I am glad to know I'm not alone!! :)

Pat A said...

I am a little late in catching up on google reader posts. "LIKE"