I’ve used this phrase for many years and the longer I train and trial with dogs the more it comes back to me.
I was the trial secretary for our Schutzhund club’s recent IPO event. It’s not hard, really, you just need to keep on top of the details from track layers and tracking articles, who is going to go first, collecting score books, field help during obedience, who will fire the gun, who will ride the bicycle, etc., etc., along with making sure all the paperwork is handled.
Schutzhund/IPO is a sport with three phases: A=Tracking, B=Obedience and C=Protection. Each one requires a great deal of training and preparation so when it comes to being “trial ready” there are a lot of parts that need to come together for a successful performance. Each phase is scored separately: 100 is a perfect score, 70 is passing and you must pass all 3 phases to earn a title. I have trialed many times where I was grateful to receive that 70! 🙂
One of the things that struck me this weekend is when more than one Handler exclaimed, “My dog’s never done THAT before!” (Ha-ha! Been there! 🙂 )
Some things are obviously in need of better preparation, others are hard to predict: Gopher pops up next to the dog on the long down; Dog really has to potty during part of an exercise; Dog can’t find the toy at the end of the field that is “always” there in training the send-away; Dog decides not to release the dumbbell on a retrieve; Dog just plain loses his mind when in drive; Etc.
Things happen! Get a little cocky and guess what? That dog will serve you a bit of humble pie in front of your peers. Many in the audience will secretly remember when they were in the hot-seat and their dog did something unexpected for the “first time!”
Dogs were put on this earth to humble us… We’ve all been there in one way or another, but the bottom line is that we tried! We took the risk. We trained and prepared and gave it a shot. And that’s more than many will ever do.
It was a beautiful day in Southern California and we got to spend it with our dogs. Congratulations to everyone who stepped onto the field. 🙂