Chaos Crew

Chaos Crew

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How do YOU measure your Success?

This time for agility blogger action day, people are writing about "Success" (

The subject is open to interpretation, and of course, success will mean something different for every person out there.

To me, in order to have success, you must have some goal that you are trying to reach, no matter how big or small that goal might be. In an agility run, I might have a goal that my dog will stay at the start line and let me lead out two jumps. He may knock every bar, miss every contact and have a couple off-courses, but if for that particular run, I set a goal for my dog to meet his startline criteria, and he did, then I can view that run as a success!

Ah-ha! So to me, success is indeed a measurement against your goals. The same could be said of failure, or not meeting a goal that you've set, but it's better for the human mind to focus on what it will take to meet your goal, and not dwell on the failures along the way.

A bit more than a month ago, it was time to start training Envy on her weaves. Previously I had introduced her to a 2x2 weave in an attempt to get her to understand how to find an entry. This went pretty well. I had decided that I wanted to train her actual weaves using the channel method, as I feel like it encourages speed through the weaves, vs. the 2x2 method which encourages thinking. Rip was trained just on 2x2's and though he has good entries, everything else about his weaves (footwork, speed, confidence) is really lacking, so I didnt want to go there again, but I digress....

So, I set the channel weaves fully open and brought Envy out to them for our first session of backchaining the open channel. She was really freaked out about this! She wanted nothing to do with these weaves and was really concerned about being near them, and I was just asking her to run through 3 open poles!
Ok, don't panic I am thinking to myself.

What the heck does this have to do with "success"? Well now my success is not going to be measured by "Can Envy weave 12 poles". No, not even close. My goal for the next session was: can I get Envy near the channel weaves without her getting freaked out by them! I went out with her to the channels and we played tug nearby, and then I got out some tasty treats and tossed them near the poles and she happily ate them, moving around the poles to eat those treats. That was it - then we went in the house. Success!

Your goals need to be broken down into the little bits and pieces that it takes to achieve your ultimate, bigger goal. I've always been of the mindset that you not only need goals, but need a plan on how you are going to achieve them. I could throw out a goal of "I am going to win the 20" class at AKC Nationals", but what good would that be without a plan to make that happen? Break your goals down into the smallest pieces you need to in order to have success along the way, and keep you striving toward your ultimate ending goal!

Where is that tennis ball???



Karissa said...

What fun would dogs be if they didn't make us completely rethink our entire training plan on a daily basis? ;o) I had no idea Envy struggled with the channels in the beginning, how interesting. She has always come across as a very bold and outgoing dog in my eyes for whatever reason. Glad she was able to move past it so easily for you!

The closing pictures are epic.

Mufaasa's Mum said...

I've had a lot of goal reassessments lately. The hardest part is not viewing that as a failure, but as a chance to become a much better trainer (and friend to your dogs).

Doranna said...

Just when I think Dart finally has an understanding of certain behaviors, he flips his understanding upside-down and I get to start over. We did much the same routine with the transition from 2x2s to channels. He wasn't afraid of them...he simply rejected them! I definitely made a hasty reassessment of what constituted success for that transition...

Sally Burch said...

YES! Lots of small successes is the way to go - and constant re-evaluation of where and how we regard that success too!

Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. I am enjoying reading all these SUCCESS blog posts. Great topic.

Agility Boxer said...

I agree small goals are the way to go. Setting goals too high or too fast can often lead to discouragement when not obtained.

I used channels with my first Boxer,she has very fast weaves and very seldom ever misses her entry.

Gaia said...

Success is when I don't let my dogs down as a handler or a trainer. Because I have the easier job.