10 Obedience Trial Tips for my Students this weekend!
1) Consider today the day to show your Judge just how fabulous your dog is. Show him off. You've paid for the honour, so use it.
2) Trialling is your reward. We are blessed to be able to trial our dogs. Our lives are so perfect that on the weekends we can sit around, hoping to prove that our dog is indeed the best. We are so very fortunate.
3) While trialling is your reward, it is nothing compared to the joy of training your dog every single day, living with your dog, hiking your dog etc. The Journey is the reason that we do this. Trialling is just an added bonus at the end.
4) Remember your jobs in the ring. You need to handle your dog from the start, until the end. This means that you need to know your routine, and have rehearsed it all in your head in advance.
5) My favourite judges are efficient judges who move you quickly around their ring. However, sometimes I'm excited in the ring, and the speed of the judge, mixed with my own emotional level, means that I race through everything and forget to do my jobs. Before you agree to the start of an exercise, take a deep breath, remind yourself of what you must do, then agree. Taking this moment really helped me to focus.
6) Stay in the moment. Yes you just screwed up, let it go, and be determined in the 'now'. Nail the next challenge. Then nail the next challenge. Then be determined to nail the next one. Never jump ahead. Stay right in that moment.
7) Be determined to get your dog through each and every component of each and every exercise. Don't abandon them by jumping ahead, and assuming you passed. There is no quicker way to fail. It is not over until it is over, so do not rejoice until your leash is handed back to you, and you have been told that you qualify.
8) Mastering the right warm up for your dog can be a huge challenge. If your dog is green and you don't know what they need, experiment and take notes. Generally less is more.
9) DO NOT DRILL before you go in the ring. Keep it fun. Keep it short and sweet, and be precise in your goals.
10) Take notes about your routine. Were you in control of yourself mentally? Physically? What did you do right? What do you need to alter for your next class? Does your dog need more energy or less? Do you need more energy or less? What job must you remember to do in your next class to help your dog more?
Happy Trialling folks. I wish I could be out there with you.