A weakness sounds awful, doesn’t it? Not strong enough, not big enough or something that is less than something else. Sometimes in our dog training, we can find we have weaknesses. Maybe we show a few weekends in a row and realize that our heeling isn’t as strong as we thought as our dog sniffs the mat on the about turns. Or perhaps you get to a trial to find that your rock solid stays aren’t so rock solid as you leave your dog on a recall and look down to see them walking with you (been there!). You have a weakness in your training. You have something in that performance that is not as strong as the other behaviors. I say let’s celebrate that and get to work!!!
If you are going to survive showing dogs (mentally and physically) you are going to have to roll with the punches and realize that you and your dog are both animals in a moment of time doing stuff and you know what? It may not be what you expected or even wanted. It may even be you! You may turn the wrong way on a judges command to turn or forget and give both the verbal and signals on the DOR exercise, IT IS OKAY! Guess what? It gives you something to work on and how boring would life be if everything we did turned out just the way we wanted.
I have found over the years that when I have a problem with a behavior or chain in my performance, my weakness at that moment, it inevitably becomes my strength. Actually by necessity since I hate having my training look good and my trialing look bad. If something happens that surprises me, or even persists despite my best training efforts to solve it, I know that I will keep seeking the answer until I find it and then my weakness will be strength, that problem is now my solution and I know more than I ever did about training a particular behavior.
I find that life is really the same as training, constant problem solving of things that come your way that you didn’t expect or that you thought would happen a certain way and they did not. This is constant feedback to you and you know what you can do? Change what you are doing! Try something new, do it a different way, in your life what about responding differently to something?
I remember when I was younger, out on my own, and I would call my mother and talk to her. We would have a great conversation and then at the end she would ask me a question, always the same question, perhaps said in a different way and it would make me upset and I would answer shortly and our nice conversation with the woman I loved would end in the same way, terse and with a bad feeling. When I was 26 I realized this has to stop. So when we got to that point in the conversation and she would ask the question, I would pause, and then tell her I loved her. That was all it took. I changed what I did, and she changed what she did and guess what? We had nice conversations the ended with us saying I love you. She died unexpectedly when I was 27 and that taught me a great lesson, do it now. Change it now. In different ways during my life I have put that lesson to good use, and I am glad. Our previous conversation ends were a weakness, but by changing what I did, they became a strength.
So stop looking at the things in your training and your life that are making you crazy as weaknesses, these are your future strengths, IF you change what you do and seek a different answer.
May your weaknesses become your strengths.
This was a great post. So true, thank for putting it into words. The time is now to change things.
Thank you for the post! failing and getting back to the drawing board is all just a natural part of life. Its refreshing to see others share the same view.
Great read so true life like training a dog has its ups and downs. You think you got it figured out then the hole thing changes. But it is how you handle the set backs that will define you as a trainer and a person.