How many times do you watch your runs from a trial and pick out all the things that went wrong? Instead of all the things that went right?
I am very guilty of this and I have been trying to focus on the positive things that happened during the run instead of just focusing on everything that went wrong. And I will be the first to say, its hard!! I have to make sure and make a conscious effort to list all the good things that happened, but it has definitely helped my mental process during trials.
This doesn’t mean I ignore the things that went wrong, I will think about them, what happened, what I maybe need to go home and train, or maybe handle differently. I let those thoughts come into my mental space, and then I let them go.
I don’t want those thoughts of “all the things that went wrong” to occupy my headspace for the rest of the trial. Because if I let that happen, it will continue to loop for the rest of the day and each run could continue to loop those negative thoughts.
And what happens when those thoughts loop?
Well something happens on the next run, and “confirms” to us all the bad things, and that continues that negative loop.
And again, being honest, it is hard to let those negative thoughts go. But here is the thing I have learned. Let them occupy your mental space, sit with them for a certain amount of time, I give myself 5-10 minutes. And then move on, focus on the good things that did happen, and I mean ALL the things.
- Stay at the start line? YAY!!
- Hit their dogwalk contact? YES!!!!
- Did that 180 sequences from 10 feet??? WOOT!!!
So for your next trial, try this, mull over those bad things in that run, give yourself a time limit, put a timer on your phone (thats what I do!) 5 or 10 minutes, and then shake them off and start going over all the good things! Take your dog for a walk, go hang out with your friends, whatever you need to do to shake off those thoughts and focus on the good stuff.
Its hard to do, but worth it!!
One thought on “Practice the Positive!”
Boy, this is timely! We ran a trial this weekend and consistently NQ’d in every single run. My frustration is that she visits ring crew and the judge, negating our chance to do a smooth, completely, connected run. So, trying HARD to remember: she did almost all of the obstacles well and as I directed her, and she ended up happy. She held her contacts. She was happy. She held her startline stay. She was happy. She ran without sniffing around the ring avoiding obstacles, which used to be her stress behavior. She ran a jumpers course in 22.7 seconds, including the off course obstacle. She was happy. She was happy. The most joyous run we had was a jumpers run where she was like a rocket, running smoothly, efficiently, responding to my cues, When we ended the run, got her leash on and walked by the judge he said, “you ran the wrong course.” I yelled, “I DON”T CARE!!!” We celebrated. Later kicked myself, but you know, she was happy. Please keep reminding us what is important in running our dogs.
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