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.
I think you answered your own question - 2nd is quite good enough if you had fun along the way I also don't have the "precise mindset" to do the best in obedience. I do like to do well in our competitions, but the only reason we've placed in most of our classes is because we are still in "A" classes and the classes are usually small. I can see myself requiring even less of Skippy to have a good time in shows than I do of Emilu, because I'll truely be happy if he does the best he can and has a good time with me.
There is nothing wrong with not caring about OTCHes and MACHs, in my opinion. We're all different. I am the complete opposite of you and strive for precision in our performance. It might be a misconception that people who train for precision drill their dogs into boredom. It's not the case with me. I make our training sessions short and fun. Scotty is progressing nicely and might get his UD this year or at least start showing in Utility. I honestly cannot see myself retiring him at the ripe age of 3 or 4. I see so much improvement still possible in both of us and I will keep going with him until he tells me otherwise (if his ED kicks in or he's just not happy training and trialing anymore).
I think the key is to respect the others for their training philosophy.
Tatyana, see what I would do (if I got a UD on a dog that was only 3 years old) would be to expand and show in other venues, like agility or hunt tests, etc.
I am in no way knocking anyone's training/show philosophy. Simply writing a little essay about what goes on within me. I think it's interesting to know how other's approach competition. I can't be like you. You probably can't be like me. That's what makes life interesting
I don't care about the placements or the scores as long as we do our best each time we go out. I set goals for us each time we step into the ring so we are only competing against ourselves. Of course it's nice to be recognized for our efforts so I certainly don't mind getting a placement or award along the way. I think the reason a lot of people get nervous is because they put so much pressure on themselves and their dogs because they want to win. I don't ever walk into the ring thinking we must win, we must Q. That's way too much pressure for me. As long as we do our best for that given day, I'm very happy. I'm sure you've seen it in my posts. I'm thrilled when Murray gets his go outs even though he blows something else. I'm extremely disappointed when his attention flakes out on me in agility, for example, and I say it because I know he is capable of better. I'm not upset because he knocks a bar or goes off course. I'm upset because he didn't pay attention like I know he can.
I too like the precision of obedience and try to train for it. Murray could be an OTCH dog but I don't have the time/money to put into it. I, like you, compete in lots of different events so training time/money is limited. However, I do want us to do the very best we can in each venue otherwise why compete?
I have several friends with OTCHs or OTCH quality dogs. Each are individuals. Some drill and drill and drill and fret over every 1/2 pt even though they score 199 1/2 most of the time. Others have fun training, help others improve, and are positively thrilled with their 199 1/2. They are just different people like each of us here on the forum. I don't know how the former person could possibly have fun stressing over every 1/2 pt like that but to each their own.
Same here (and we've got the 2nd/3rd/4th place ribbons to prove it! LOLOL!!)I don't care about the placements or the scores as long as we do our best each time we go out.
A wise woman once said to me that we choose this for our dogs, so, it is up to us entirely to make it fun and enjoyable for them. This is going to sound super corny but I made Henry a solemn promise when we started this whole thing that we would stop if one of us wasn't having fun.
Linda, we have the same plan. Scotty, unfortunately, cannot do agility because of his elbows. He has his tracking dog title and we're training for TDX right now hoping to take and pass his TDX test this spring. I've been training him for hunt tests as well and hoping to run some junior tests this year. It does take a lot of work and time, but so far, I've been able to do it all. We'll see what the future holds.Tatyana, see what I would do (if I got a UD on a dog that was only 3 years old) would be to expand and show in other venues, like agility or hunt tests, etc.
When I got Caleb my goal was the UDX and not an OTCh. I had all ready trained to a UD with Becca and even got her Canadian UD as well so the UDX would be different. Then it happened. I got not one HIT but another and another! Then I got my first OTCh point and then another and another. When did it change--I don't know. Would I like an OTCh--I have to be truthful and say yes, I would. I would just to have experienced that level of competition. I do compete against myself so I am different from a lot of OTCh people I know. The UDX is still my primary goal though. Plus with now owning an obedience training center, it does look good to have that UDX and/or OTCh. We'll see. Still have to get those go-outs!
So is second bad? No it isn't. As all ready said we all have out own goals. I never dreamed I would have a HIT dog much less have OTCh points. Linda, remember the look of shock when I got my first AKC HIT at your show last year? And now he has a total of 12 and a High Combined. We'll see. I do look forward to that next Lab to train to learn more things.
And, no second isn't bad--there are OTCh points for second places too often times! ;D ;D
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
I have really enjoyed the journey Kona and I have taken on this obedience road ....... The ribbons are great, but the titles are a testimony to the time Kona and I spend together learning to read each other and to work as a team. I can honestly say that I am not disappointed if we are not in the ribbons but had improvements in the areas we were trying to fine tune.
I look at the competions in the ring as a dance that we both need to do correctly in order to have fun. The more confident each of us are with our individual parts the better our partner can be also. What I try to get from both of us is consistancy in practice and in the ring.
I'm am with Felicia with thisI say the same thing ........ if Kona quits wagging his tail in the ring, it is time for this team to retire.This is going to sound super corny but I made Henry a solemn promise when we started this whole thing that we would stop if one of us wasn't having fun. Wink
I am enjoying teaching Bo obedience, but I want to give Kona the chance to go as far in obedience that he can. Hunt tests may or may not be in Kona's future but he does enjoy the training for field. I would like to get a WC on him this fall if he can't handle the long retrieves.
Bo will learn retrieving this spring with a friend of mine and her group of training buddies. Because of Kona I have some ideas how to proceed and things not to do also. Kona has also changed how I want to train Bo for obedience also.
To answer your question ..... any place is good enough if you and your dog enjoyed the road that go you there. It really is the journey!!
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
Ha, second is GREAT. Maverick (Gabs' "older brother" that lives with us part time, and my parents part time) enjoys dragging people down the street in pursuit of small animals. Most days, though I am a little irritated with Gabby right now because of a scarf up feces on the walk this am incident, I am just thrilled to have a polite dog, let alone a titled, smart dog.
Plus, I have a lack of focus with her that prevents a total pursuit of perfection in the ring. I want to try so many things with her because she is so smart and fun- any day can find us messing with weave poles, messing with tracking (up to 80 yards! we're getting there!), messing with birds (working certificate/started hunter here we come!)- i just adore this dog and what she can do, even when she drives me nutty.