Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Defining Success

Gracie here: Last weekend, someone came up to mom and asked how we were doing. She answered, "we've gotten 4 Q's today". This person replied, "well, that's not how I define my success. Too bad for your dogs that you do".

First of all, my mom didn't know this person very well - kind of a "hey, how ya doin" kind of thing. Second of all, my mom doesn't define HER success by Q's either. But she realizes that a) most people DO define success that way, especially when they don't know us very well, and b) Q's may not be the definition of success, but they are a measure of success. Since this person doesn't really know the trials and tribulations that mom, me and Arnie have been through, telling her those details would have been pointless.

So to set the record straight, here's how mom REALLY defined my success last weekend:

1. I did my contacts quickly, accurately, and without fear. I get a little worried the first time I get on new equipment, so mom worries about that with me.
2. When I did a HUGE teeter flyoff, I went right into the next ring and did 2 more teeters without fear.
3. I sat at the startline. I didn't sit/stay - don't get crazy now. But I was able to concentrate long enough to sit when I really wanted to run.
4. I hit my weave pole entrances about 80% of the time. It would have been 100%, but mom's still working on her timing with me.
5. I got a really hard jackpot. I had to go into a tunnel, send out to a jump (which I went past, so mom had to call me back and send me away again), then come to her and go into ANOTHER tunnel far away, and pick the right entrance out of 3 choices.
6. I made really good time.
7. I went through all of my tires, getting better and better every time.
8. I paid attention to mom every minute.
9. I didn't attack any other dogs.
10. I peed and pooped outside, when mom told me to, even though it was cold and wet out.

This is how she defined Arnie's success:
1. He only lost focus twice the whole weekend (10 runs).
2. He did the same really hard jackpot that I did.
3. He stayed motivated, even though a lot of the time he had to get a few treats on the fly, then tossed into his crate because I had to run next.
4. He learned 2 new tricks waiting for his runs: Look Pitiful, and Stretch.
5. He was able to heel through lots of dogs and people, without getting distracted.
6. He did really hard tunnel/dogwalk discriminations - which are REALLY hard for him, since he LOVES tunnels.
7. He hit his contacts every time.
8. He got most of his weave pole entries.
9. Once he was in the weave poles, he never popped out until he was finished.
10. He didn't drop any bars.

Things mom DIDN'T do all weekend:
1. Treat us any different after a run that we screwed up on.
2. Blame us for any screwups - she said it was her fault EVERY TIME.
3. Check to see our scores or Q's until the very end of the day.
4. Forget to give us treats, or forget to pay attention to us - we got lots of walks and play time.
5. Pick up any ribbons - she doesn't really care about the placements or Q's, compared to how WELL we did.

So you see, Q's aren't a big thing with mom. But since most people know what those are, and could care less about all those other successes we had, she tells people our Q rate. But Arnie and me know those aren't that important.

Like mom says to us EVERY time she loads us into the van just before we head for home:
"Thank you for being the best pugs anyone can run agility with. Thank you for being my dogs."

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