In the face of a dog who seems a little off, or a handler who has a headache it can be awfully hard to withdraw your entry or scratch from an event or trial. What will people say? What will people think?
To quote the adage “what other people think of you is none of your business”. Do what is right for you. Do what is right for your dog. Please.
Rehearsing failure and stress does not do any one any good. (Yes – me, the Queen of We Learn From Errors, Mistakes Just Give Us Information – I said that.) Stop making mistakes for the sake of making errors. Set yourself up for success. Not for disappointment or heart ache. Those things happen often enough without us trying to make them happen.
Understand that struggles are part of the game – that we need to accept that life, and sports, are sometimes challenging and frustrating. Things can, and will, make us sad. But there are times (I would say most times) that taking care of yourself and your animal partner is of paramount importance.
I have been pulling together a webinar on resilience this week – it’s pretty much ready to present. YAY me. As I have been drawing connections between people and dogs and then back to people again one of the things that keeps striking me in a wide variety of ways is that resilience is something we need to cultivate and nurture.
It’s a skill, it’s an awareness and it’s oh so much more. Resilience may mean accepting and working with disappointment in a moment but it also means stepping back and looking at the big picture and protecting ourselves. Sometimes that means curling up on the couch and letting the headache fade. It may mean turning off the alarm, or leaving a trial early.
It’s preservative in nature. By that I mean it protects you, and those around you. There has been some amazing research done around the topic and, as usual, I am very excited to share the connections between the research and the practical applications in our various animal sports fields. There is so so much we can take away and USE in the work, and play, that we do!
The first step of Think, Plan, Do is THINK … never be afraid to return to that stage to regroup and rebalance yourself!
I just got back from FDSA Camp in PA a few days ago. (It was wonderful even though I wasn’t there nearly long enough!) An unexpected family crisis had me heading home the day after I arrived. Sigh. Resilience in action as it turns out. Grateful for the opportunity, yet again, to practice what I teach.