So I totally missed the Dog Agility Blog Action Day regarding attitude, but it's something I think is important so here's my quick thoughts about it before heading off to work.
Kobi has been making leaps and bounds in his progress lately and part of that could be due to him maturing, but part of my likes to think it has to do with my attitude towards him. For so long I was so convinced he would be the best Therapy Dog there ever was even though he's so far presented all the signs of being the worst Therapy Dog. I kept comparing him to Scout and thinking "If only you were more like Scout". Well guess what, Kobi is not Scout. Obvious to most other people, but it was hard for me to accept that. Scout it Scout. Scout is amazing and truely one of a kind, why I thought I could magically conjure up a mini Scout was ridiculous. Kobi is Kobi. Sure he can be annoying and frustrating, but I wouldn't trade him for the world.
Kobi is an amazing little guy and he makes me happy. Scout does to, but in a different way. Scout is my calm compassionate side where as Kobi is my fun goofy side.
Learning to accept Kobi was huge, lowering my expectations of him was another huge step, but the efforts are paying off. We've just gotten started in agility and I am amazed with him. I see the others in class clearly struggling to get their dogs to even just play with a tug toy while Kobi does it with gusto. I can sometimes see the jealous faces gazing our way with the interior monologue of "why can't my dog be like that". What they probably don't realize is that the second the exercise is done and we go back to relaxing, I'm the one looking around in jealousy. The class doesn't really see the ridiculous side of Kobi until the trainer attempts to use him for a demo then has to switch to another dog because he's just soooooo excited.
My attitude so far in agility has been a pretty relaxed one. I'm letting things be, I'm having fun. That's what matters. I still really really want to do Therapy Dog with Kobi, but I'm not ready to try. I know I would fail him because I would expect too much from him. With agility though, I'm doing it for fun.I'm doing this for Kobi as a way for him to have a job in the hopes that he learns some of the focus and skills he'll eventually need for Therapy Dog work. I constantly see that jealous face on people at classes, seizing each other up and trying to determine who has the best dog. There seems to be a real competitiveness involved in agility. I honestly don't care about that. I'm doing this for us, all that matters is me and Kobi (and Scout). If he struggles with something, I'll make an effort to work harder on it, not get mad at him. If he has a reaction, I asses what I could have done to prevent it. Right now my agility world is a little bubble that consists of me and the work I'm doing with Kobi, no one else matters. I'm having a blast with training and I want it to remain that way, the second agility isn't fun anymore, what's the point?
I look forward to all that we have to teach each other in the up coming years.