Clean Run - March 2013 - (Page 35)

Busting the Myths Set Goals? Or Just Enjoy the Moment? By Silvia Trkman, photos by Maja Rokavec Talking about goals, setting them, and working hard to achieve them is a very popular topic these days. And, “When winning the World Championships became your goal...” is a common question I get in interviews. Well, it never was my goal to win the FCI Agility World Championships. I started agility in 1992 as a 12-year-old with a Samoyed in an ex-socialistic country that most of you never heard of, and where dog training was hardly done and limited at the time to jerking the dogs around. Now, that same country has the most medals from the FCI Agility World Championships per agility dog. And an average dog here probably knows more tricks than a dog in any other country! We only have about 200 dogs running agility here, but the average level is higher as in any other country I’ve been to—and I’ve been to most countries where agility exists. But back then, dreaming of winning the World Championships would be crazy. All I ever wanted to do was to keep that Samoyed—a passionate, passionate hunter—with me in the ring and running March 13 | Clean Run agility with me. If you started agility with a Border Collie, that might sound simple to you, but it took me years and caused many tears of frustration. But the experience taught me a ton! Among many, many other important lessons he taught me, he taught me to be modest. To know that no matter how good the run might go, he might as well leave the ring to say hi to another dog or chase a bird somewhere up in the sky. He taught me to not set goals and just enjoy the moment when the run is still going well. I don’t train to win. I train because I love it and because my dogs love it. And I try to train better and to get better because I love to learn, to progress, to improve. I find that it's boring to only do things I know I can do when training. I always set things that I think might get me in trouble—I don’t even bother running something that I know we can do easily. I just love challenges and my favorite courses to run in trials are the ones where I’m not quite sure if I can do it—and, because of this attitude, I usually do those best! If you ever hear me complain about the course, it’s because it’s too easy. It’s through challenges that we learn, and I’m always on the hunt for something new to learn myself or to teach my dogs. I often hear, “But my dog is too old to learn cik & cap.” Your dog is never too old! Learning something new keeps him young and happy. Lo was 11 when she learned my cik & cap program—why not! That’s also why I love training tricks so much; there’s always something new to train and always something new to learn about how dogs learn. Still, I never go to the agility field with a goal or a plan what to work on. My planning and organization skills are close to zero. So no, you guessed it, I don’t have any goals hanging on my refrigerator. I also don’t keep any trophies from trials—and no, not even one, not even from the World Championships. Sure, of course I’m proud of our achievements and I think my dogs are the best dogs ever. But I would think that no matter what, even if we never won anything. And while our achievements are a great testimonial that my methods work and keep producing champion after champion, there are 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - March 2013

Clean Run - March 2013
Editorializing: Would You Treat a Dog Like That?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Knowledge Equals Speed! Teaching Verbal Directional Commands, Part 1
Power Paws Drills: Gnarly Rears
Ultimate Instructors: What Makes a Really Good Instructor?
Can You Handle It?
Head-Turning Turns, Part 3
The 10-Minute Trainer
Busting the Myths: Set Goals? Or Just Enjoy the Moment?
Out Spot Out! Five Required Skills for Successful Distance Work
Living Room Agility: Front & Rear Crosses
Nutrition for the Canine Athlete, Part 2
Puppy Agility Games, Part 1
Training with the Stars: Greg Derrett
The Judge’s Debriefing
Foundation Jumping, Part 1

Clean Run - March 2013