Jun 042014

by Doranna

cb.dogwalkbay.crop.0058Qualifying!  Winning!  Titles!  W00t!  Rah!

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.




Jean-Luc Picardigan had tremendous, life-altering Qs from his agility training and trialing–and as my first agility dog, he taught me a lot about setting goals and persistence. Brain injury as a puppy meant severe challenges that can most readily be described as a severely autistic condition. Agility changed all that. He was never normal, of course, but his life was vastly improved.(Cheysuli Jean-Luc Picardigan, OJP NAP OJC NAC CGC (1998-2010))


Belle’s personal Qs were about her confidence–she was a terribly soft dog, with the need to be perfect–and about keeping her back disease at bay. She went from partially paralyzed to being Lifetime #2 Preferred Corgi, and agility became both one of the tools and the measure of that success. This picture?  Massive personal Q!  (PACH Cheysuli’s Silver Belle, CD RE MXP5 MXPS MJP6 MJPS PAX2 XFP EAC EJC CGC (1998-2013))


Connery Beagle

ConneryBeagle has overcome so much; far too many of his personal Qs have to do with, “Look how good he feels today!” and “Look how happy he is today!” because between his health and trauma history, these weren’t things we could take for granted. But agility has taught him how to sing again!  That counts as a SUPER-Q!  (CH MACH3 Cedar Ridge DoubleOSeven VCD1 RE MXC MJG XF EAC EJC CGC)



Dart Beagle is an emotional little guy with more potential than the world. He tangles up in the combination, providing him with so many opportunities for personal Qs that it’s hard to keep track. Focus and connection are usually on the table…can you tell?  (Albedo’s Charter Member VCD1 BN GN RE MX MJB CA CGC)


Rena isn’t doing agility right now, because her personal Qs have been profoundly reset.  The first step for that is to get her health stabilized--and then to get her believing that her health is stabilized.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, we did get glimpses of what she can be, before the health situation escalated late last fall.  So like the rest of them...it’s a Q we look forward to.

Rena isn’t doing agility right now, because escalating health issues reset her personal Qs to baseline. In the meantime, we did glimpse the Joy of Running Q. So we’ll look forward to more of that as a primary goal! (Bellerena CDX RA AX AXJ CGC)


 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!