I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about why I compete and what I really want out of my dogs and competition. I've learned a couple of things about myself too.
First and foremost, competition, for me, is always FUN first. Of course I like to win, but the training and the events must be fun for me and my animal (horse, dog,) above all other considerations. When training gets to the point of having to be repetitious or exacting, I totally zone out. It is just not in my nature to be this way. I am the spontaneous fun person who likes doing things on the fly, and doing things creatively with little regard to rules. I can't change this. This is who I am. And I actually LIKE the fact that I am this way. (Although it has taken me years to realize this).
I've always held the opinion that for me, personally, titles such as OTCH or MACH are nothing more than spending money. I could never justify doing either of these. I would rather finish my dog through a UD or Excellent/Masters levels and then begin again with another dog. For me, I would rather have 10 dogs with a CD than one dog with an OTCH. To me the real fun is teaching new dogs new skills and dealing with all the new personality quirks that come with that.
So I guess I am not a competitive person at all. Yes, I am not competitive. I am a competitor, to be sure, but I am not competitive, if that makes any sense to you (It makes perfect sense to me).
I don't think I'm in the minority. I can count on one hand (even half a hand) how many people I know who compete for OTCH or MACH titles. When I hear that so and so just got their 4th or 5th MACH I just smile and congratulate them and wonder why they don't start a new dog. That's just the way I think and approach things.
So with all that said, I realize I may never get a UD on my dog. I'm sure he has it in him, but I don't have that mindset in me. We will keep working toward that goal, but if it doesn't happen, then it doesn't happen, I'm not going to suddenly change who I am in relation to my dog(s). I can't.
Is 2nd place good enough? For me it is. As long as we had fun earning that 2nd place, and we arrived at the show and home again safely and in one piece, I am a happy camper.
In the big scheme of things titles and ribbons don't matter. It's the adventures along the way that really count.