Monday, November 01, 2010

Preparing to Trial - Part Six (Contingency Plans)

Let's recap the series so far...
Part One: How to find and enter trials (this "what height will my dog jump in AKC (USDAA/CPE/NADAC/DOCNA/ASCA) agility events?" post is an unintended companion to part one.
Part Two: Packing for an agility trial - what you need for your comfort and your dog's health and safety.
Part Three: Arriving on trial day - what you should expect and what you need to know.
Part Four: A Rules and Regulations Quiz (open book) - And the answers (NO PEEKING)
* Part Five: Are we ready to trial?
and that brings us to Part Six- Contingency Plans...

I'm a firm believer in self-fulfilling prophecies and the power of positive thinking - I highly recommend Jane Savoie's book "That Winning Feeling" to anyone who is trialling or getting ready to trial....sometimes though we need to step back and re-evaluate our goals - particularly with a dog new to the trial atmosphere, new exhibitors and every other variable you can think of - if it can happen it probably will to you at some point...So as much as I don't like to think about it - we need to have in the back of our minds a Plan B - Option #2.

Plan B
You're not always going to get "there" for a front cross - heck you might find yourself someplace completely different. When you're walking your courses walk your plan but visualize and walk other options if things change in the rush of the moment...

Plan C
Lets say you get to the trial with your green dog and she falls off the dog walk. Thanks to the September 1st 2010 rule changes, you now have two options. You can put your dog back on the dogwalk again, hope for a good experience and then be whistled off course. Or you can continue on and complete the course. Either way its an NQ - but one of the options is going to be better for YOUR dog - you won't have time to think about it on course so have a plan in the back of your mind.

Plan D
Your dog arrives at the trial, walks into the ring, gives you three great obstacles and then gets a case of the zoomies. I've seen this a lot at the weaves - dogs have to stop and think, thinking gives them time to stress. Your dog's career is not THIS trial - it's THIS trial and every other training, trial and sequence in his future - keep that in mind. if you need to get out and end on a successful note do it! Party out of the ring on a good note.

Plan F
Remember, you're the one who filled out the entry form, you're the one who got into the car to drive to the trial, you earned the money to write the check for the trial...We do this for fun. Your dog does this (mostly) because he loves you. Remember that whatever happens in the ring you still get to bring the best dog home with you....

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