As a competitor, I like to be challenged. I enjoy being pushed to the next level, and training a new skill to add to my handling system. I compete in agility to showcase my skills, to see that my preparations and training make a difference in mine and my dog’s performance. When I see a new course challenge with “international flair”, I jump at the opportunity to try something new, and if it’s something I’m not prepared for, I’m excited to get home and add yet another new tool to my toolbox. These course challenges encourage handlers to be better, and for those teams with world team aspirations, these challenges better prepare those teams for big overseas events.
As an instructor, I want my students to be prepared. I want my students to be confident. I encourage my students each week to step outside their comfort zone and push themselves to be better. I love it when a student forwards me a video or a course map and asks “can we try THIS?!” and bring to my attention that they want to try that blind cross or that “fancy move” that they saw on youtube. It makes me a better teacher to problem solve with each of my students and work through their individual strengths, weaknesses, and overall goals.
As a judge, I enjoy bringing some international challenges into my design and watching handlers in different parts of the country problem solve and work through new challenges. I enjoy seeing the sucess of others and watching such great teamwork unfold on a course. There is nothing more rewarding as a competitor, instructor, and judge, than to see a team working at an elite level and showcasing such a strong connection.
So, the next time you see a new challenge, go for it! Take a risk, try out a new skill you’ve been training, go for it, and HAVE FUN.