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The Winning Attitude for 2014

Jo Unbehaun shares her thoughts about resolutions and goals for the new year.


Here's a thought about your New Year's resolutions. It doesn't matter whether your goal is simply to get your dog to run a course without running out of the ring or to compete in the Nationals. Practice hard, work for that goal, but most important of all, have fun with your dog!

If agility is what you love to do, embrace it with a passion. Practice and keep working at it. Don't let failure deter you; it's just a temporary setback. As Zig Ziglar puts it: "If man can take moldy bread and make penicillin, just think what you can do!"

Once you decide on what your resolution will be, make a plan. Break it down into realistic goals. Write down your resolution and put it where you will see it the most (on the fridge, mirrors, and so on). You'll have a constant reminder of your goal.

Goals need to be big enough to push yourself beyond what you believe is possible for you, but broken down into baby steps. The smaller the steps you set, the easier it will be to meet, the better you'll feel about yourself, and the closer you'll be to your ultimate goal.

Create a winning habit. It is the habits you have on a daily basis that will help you achieve success. There may be some habits that you currently have that you may need to break, and others you need to make. Create the habits necessary to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Be positive, enthusiastic and willing to fail your way to the top.

A high level of enthusiasm can be your secret weapon. Ralph Waldo Emerson was quoted as saying "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Put your heart and soul into training. 

Surround yourself with positive people in your training program. Believe in yourself, trust your dog, and stay focused. Don't think negatively when you come up with a difficult sequence or course. 

If you have trained another dog in the past, remember that your current dog may be different. What worked for you and your other dog may not work with this one. 

No matter what happens on course, remember, you still have won; just look in the eyes your pal. He doesn't understand "Q," but he does understand pleasing you. And above all, remember that win or lose, at the end of the day you are going home with the most wonderful dog in the world... YOURS!

Send your agility resolutions for 2014 (along with your name, dog's name, and your location) to bfender@usdaa.com and we might print them in a future article! The deadline is Wednesday, January 8th. 

Jo Unbehaun has been involved with DAWG since 1991 and, with computer help from her husband, Chuck, has been the editor of DAWG's newsletter, The Scoop, for 15 years. Jo lives in Plano, Texas, and has one daughter and three grandsons. She runs her two Westies in agility.

A version of this article first appeared in the DAWG Scoop and has been shared with permission.

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