What is success?

I have an ideal follow on to my last blog from just last week ‘Competing – It is never perfect

It has been an interesting week. I recently posted on my personal FB page that I am giving up competitive obedience for now, possibly permanently, time will tell and it was interesting to see the reactions that brought out.

I shared because I was frustrated, I had just finished another competition where upon recall exercise my dog didn’t recall but instead ran around play bowing at anyone that would pay her attention and generally being a loon. She gets this from her Dad, they have the same sense of humour, there is no malice and she really doesn’t get why I don’t appreciate it! We have lost lots of placements including class wins due to her ‘zoomies’ as we call them. She understands the exercise fully but finds it more rewarding to do her zoomies than to recall.

But here is the thing, I don’t ultimately care about the places, it is and always has been for me with my dogs, about going along and doing our best whilst having fun and we have completed lots of competitions where we have done badly but had great fun over the years! However, when something ceases to be fun I truly believe it is time to stop. I can go to classes and enjoy obedience training with Faith and we can have great fun. Competitions are not fun when you are worried that your dog might ruin someone elses winning round or that she might run up to the wrong dog and have a bad experience or upsets a space sensitive dog so much that it affects its future. So with that in mind it was interesting how many people still wanted to persuade me to fix things and carry on competing no matter how many times I tried to explain we were no longer having fun.

I know if I wanted to fix things I could but that involves time and effort on my part and right now I don’t have the time or energy to do what is needed, I am busy juggling so many other things in my life at the moment. I don’t believe in training half heartedly and expecting miracles, good training takes planning and forethought. Faith doesn’t care if she’s competing or not, she doesn’t care if she’s winning or losing, heck she doesn’t even know what place she has won or lost out on. Faith, like all dogs, just wants to enjoy her life.

Surely that is lifes biggest success, simply to enjoy it?

This is Faith and her Fathers idea of success,
her mothers idea is similar just not in the cold pool!

We ask so much of our dogs when we compete, they learn so many rules and things we don’t want them to do or do want them to do. They deserve our full heart and soul if we are going to ask so much of them, if we can’t provide that then why not just enjoy life with them doing other things, playing games, taking walks and catching balls or trying new things?

I might return to obedience competition one day, I might not but if I do it will be for the right reasons, not for the ribbons, rosettes and place cards but because it is right for me and more importantly right for my dog.

It will be because it is fun and my idea of success is having fun!