Because hey, that stuff is fun. It’s lots of fun. The green Q ribbon is a revered thing. Add a bit of placement ribbon color and…you know…
But if it was the only marker of success, I can’t imagine many of us would keep training, keep entering…keep running. Keep on with our little public humility lessons. Because with some dogs, those placement ribbons never come, and with others, the Q ribbons are a rarity, and with still others, the lessons in humility are ongoing.
My big picture goals are for each dog to train or to perform up to its potential of the day. Not what I wish that potential would be or what I think it darned well ought to be by now and what ARE YOU THINKING DART BEAGLE–! But just to know who they are and what they are and where they are with things, and to listen well enough to I can set accurate expectations. (It is, after all, easier to find success if you aren’t trying to do the unreasonable.)
To that end, I have small picture goals all along the way. First for the training–skills, drive, and the ever-increasing glimmers of joy and confidence–and then with targets for each course, which may or may not include qualifying. Sometimes–as those who have been following Dart already know–they don’t even include running the whole course, because sometimes that’s just asking too much.
These are all what I call Personal Qs. Everyone has them…you can hear it in the chatter before and after the runs. Hitting the contacts, making that tight wrap, leaving all the jumps up…whatever we’ve each been working on in particular, including less tangible things like honesty and joy and connection.
All of those things add up to Personal Qs, if we let them. And that’s where the success comes in–little Qs layering on up to big ones. And defining our own successes for our own dogs, and not worrying about what anyone else with their other breed, their other-personality, or their other-maturity dog has to say about it (or how they define their own successes).
Though I strongly suspect if we’re truly focused only on the qualifying, and the winning, and the titles, we’ll never actually see our personal Qs at all.
(Although…seriously…WHAT ARE YOU THINKING SOMETIMES, DART BEAGLE?!)
This has been a Dog Agility Blog Event post! There are lots more blogs on the topic…I’m heading to the event page to see how many people feel the same way I do. Let me know about your personal Qs with your dogs, too!