January 9, 2024

Episode 328: Navigating your Agility Ambitions in 2024

In this episode (39:04)

In this episode, we share our personal agility goals for the upcoming year, as well as strategies for successfully reaching your own goals. We also discuss the importance of separating your self-worth from your agility accomplishments and failures.

You Will Learn

  • Effective strategies for setting and achieving agility training goals.
  • How to maintain consistency and motivation in dog agility training.
  • The value of community and connection within the agility world.


I'm Jennifer. I'm Esteban. And I'm Sarah. And this is episode 328. Today's podcast is brought to you by hit aboard.com and the new Teeter TeachIt, an easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter. So you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go to HitItBoard dot com for the new Teeter TeachIt and other training tools and toys.

Use discount code BDA 10 to get 10% off your order. That's hit aboard.com. Hey everyone, happy New Year. Happy New Year. And to Jennifer in Ohio. Yes. Here's to a great start to 2024. That's right. This is the first podcast for 2024, and we are going to kick it off by talking a little bit about New Year's resolutions goal setting,

but not just about that kind of a, I think it's gonna be a little bit philosophical and maybe a little bit personal. But first, let's start with the big picture. And I think this is the perfect time to share our plans with you for Bad Dog Agility. And I think there's two big things that e everyone really comes to the podcast for,

right? And so number one is the podcast. So this year one of our resolutions is going to be to get the podcast up in a consistent manner, a little bit more consistency to it and in a predictable way. So, Sarah, tell us what are we doing? That's right. We, we actually started this resolution about a month ago, and we've been doing good so far.

It is Tuesday's noon is when the podcast is going out, so hopefully that's our Goal. There's no guarantee That's true, but we're, we're, we'll do our best on a streak. So the last three or four podcasts all gone out Tuesday at noon onto Facebook and you know, out to the world. So that's, that's what we're doing. That's Right.

And the second one is the Wednesday wrap up. So I think I will be resuming that either. No, it's probably gonna be this week, this week or next week. I'm not a hundred percent sure, but that of course comes out every Wednesday. That's part of why I named it the Wednesday wrap up. Hey, good name. So I Have a little bit of incentive there to get it out on Wednesdays.

So some point on Wednesdays last year, a lot of 'em were coming in like right at midnight Central, central Standard time. But I'm gonna try and get 'em out a little bit earlier in the day so you, you can read them, but I think most people are probably reading it Thursday morning. So that gets emailed out to everyone who's on our mailing list and also posted as a,

as a blog article to the website of course. And I would encourage anyone who thinks of interesting things that they see out in the agility world or, or at a dog agility trial, anything like that or, or has questions to get ahold of me for the Wednesday wrap up. And what is the email they should reach me at Sarah Team@baddogagility.com. That's team like TEAM team.

Perfect. Perfect. Okay, so now we've gotten all the bad dog agility stuff out of the way. Oh, Jennifer. Well, and I also think since we're talking emails, if there's any ideas, suggestions, questions people have that they wanna throw at us for podcast ideas, I think we're pretty open to that as well. I find that part of the reason we may be slacked off a bit at the end of last year was having topics and fresh ideas.

And we've worked hard to come up with a good educational and entertaining list. But if ever you guys have questions or things that you wanna hear us chat about, let us know. We're always open to suggestions from our listeners. That's, Yeah, 328 episodes every once in a while we get writer's block. No, I mean, well one thing that we had talked about that I think our audience would be interested in is redoing some of the podcasts and not redoing it in a way where we take down the old ones.

But dog training has really gone through a lot of advancement, especially as it relates to agility and handling over the past, you know, what is it seven or eight years whenever the, the podcast first started coming out. So I think we're gonna revisit some topics and give them an updated kind of perspective. And remember for the very beginning, early first year or two podcasts like Jennifer was not part of Bad Dog Agility yet,

right? So now we have that perspective, Jennifer's perspective and experience to bring to the podcast as well. So I think we will be revisiting some of those topics as well. And I think people will find that very, very helpful. Okay, so first we're gonna go around the horn. I'm gonna ask each of you if you've made resolutions or, or goals.

I, I kind of think of them as synonymous, a little bit interchangeable. And let me start with Sarah, what do you have for 2024? All right, so I'm, I'm not a fan of of resolutions per se, but I do have focus areas for the year and, and my only reason that I, I don't like resolutions is 'cause I feel like once they're broken then they kind of lose some of their power.

And so I, I, I like to kind of, I, you know, I know I accept that I'm not going to be perfect and so I have like a focus area where I wanna do better in, in a particular area. But for me this year is really important because I have a young dog. This'll be the year that, that he is of age to compete.

And so all of my agility goals are around like, you know, debuting him, getting the running contacts, going to a big event. So, well I guess I'll just put it out there and say nominally my goals are number one to debut this dog. Number two, kind of the, I guess the stretch ish goal that I'm setting for myself would be to take him to the US Open because we just recently were talking about the US Open and its growth.

But one of the things about it is that it is an open event. You don't have to qualify. And so that means if you have a, a talented dog who doesn't really have time to work their way through the ranks, you can show up at this open event. And I also find that for a subset of dogs, some of these bigger,

more advanced courses can actually be a little bit easier to accomplish because they're not so speed circley, right? Like I, I find that with inexperienced dogs sometimes when you go into novice and there's never a reason for them to check in with you 'cause there are like virtually no turns, you can sometimes lose the connection. But when you have a more advanced course,

which is like a series of four to five obstacles, check in with some hand laying four to five obstacles check in, that can actually keep the connection with the dog a little bit easier. And so I think that for this particular dog with his speed and his drive, my initial thought is to jump right into ISC jumpers, nice big spacing. He's a big dog with big stride.

And I think that the US Open would be the kind of courses that are really going to play to his strengths as opposed to putting him in something that might be a little bit more constraining on his, on his stride and things like that. Yeah, I'm excited to see what, what y'all are able to accomplish and get started this year. Certainly as a lot of people know,

we had the, the Golden and the Poodle, they're, they're now four that we had gotten them and they ended up being big time covid dogs, right? So that Everybody knows everybody who has a Covid dog knows what we're talking about. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, they just didn't get the socialization and I just kind of took for granted,

I think we took for granted, oh this is a golden retriever, this is a poodle. They're very good with people and other dogs and things like that. And you know, I think a little bit of innate personality, character of the dog in combination with I think a brutal lack of socialization given what was happening in the world at that time. And so I,

I don't know that actually showing up at a trial is gonna be in the cards for either of these dogs May maybe the golden. So you know, we're working on some things, you know, as we do and so we'll, we'll see what we're able to come up with them. But I like that you've got this new dog, this young Malis Malis And I feel like it also helps take a lot of pressure off the other dogs as well.

Okay. So Jennifer, what do you have for us? Okay, so if we're talking agility specific goals, resolutions, things that we're focusing on for 2024, I'm at a point where I, my dogs are kind of at a getting a little bit at like a maintenance age, right? So B just turned five high, five is five, surprise is four.

I do have my young puppy, but he is predominantly gonna be an AKC only dog. So the skillset is not gonna be as detailed. He doesn't need to learn as many things. So I feel like I'm at a little bit of a like maintenance stage. And I hate to say that 'cause it makes it sound like we're plateauing on, we're tr on our training and that's not my goal.

But where I'm going with this is I really am gonna focus on their conditioning and their fitness and their strength and their endurance this year more than I have in the past. I feel like when you have like a two-year-old dog, a three-year-old dog, even a four-year-old dog, it's like you're teaching 'em all the things and they're getting a lot of activity because you're constantly training something or proofing something or working or running the sequence or doing their,

that seminar. And like for High five, I feel like her skills and, and, and for me as well, their skills are pretty good. They're not great but you know, we'll keep working on this. But now if I wanna keep that edge, if I wanna keep my five-year-old competitive against the up and coming two-year-olds, if I wanna make sure that B is running as good when she's eight or nine as she is when she's four and five,

I feel like I really gotta buckle down on the fitness aspect of it. So I've really tried to make it my goal. I actually started back in October with their conditioning and having more of a structured program that I'm following and we work out this many times a week in isolated drills to focus on different things. So that's kind of my big goal for my dogs specifically.

I think if we look more broadly in terms of performance and shows, I have shifted my schedule, my plans for 24 different than 2023 and I'm gonna dabble in doing a little bit more UKI than I did in the last year. For a while back I did a fair amount of UKI and then I took a couple years off mostly because I was pursuing the Invitational and it requires a decent amount of showings,

specifically in AKC. So I have not gone to the US Open in the last couple years. And this year I gave up trying out for the EO team so that I could take the dates and the time spent traveling and prepping and away from my family and try to apply that to being able to go to the US Open. And so in addition to planning for the US Open,

like Sarah said, I'm gonna try for the US Open in the fall. I'm also doing the UKI Invitational, so kind of getting two big UKI events in this year and then doing a little bit more locally, maybe dabbling in some ISC as well. So it doesn't necessarily mean less AKC. I'm still planning to do AKC nationals. I'm still gonna try out for the A WC team,

but I've kind of shifted from last year, which was very heavy on the AKC world teams and AKC events to taking a break from eo. I still would like to try out for AKC and going in towards more UKI stuff. So I've got the three dogs that I mentioned, the high five and surprise all prepping for those events. So a little bit of a shift in like kind of what shows I'm doing,

what my travel schedule looks like, what skills I'm training this year than what I had the last couple years. Very cool. And for myself, I obviously have like personal goals I guess and resolutions, but you know, we're staying a little more dog agility focused, although there can be some overlap. And a couple of things for me, I guess as far as running a dog,

I don't have a dog per se that I am running given our, our current dog situation, the malise is, is definitely going to be in Sarah's hands. I'm sure I would love to run him from time to time. That would be, that would be interesting once he Knows all the Things, once he knows all the, the things, sure,

sure. Saved me the, the trouble of teaching him those things. But I may be getting out there and I guess this is the, the, the early sneak peek. I could be out there possibly running someone else's dog as the handler is rehabilitating from, from serious injury. So, we'll we'll see in the coming months. If I'm out there,

I'm sure that you will hear about it at some point. And on the more personal goal setting side, I think building connections in dog agility specifically, I think this idea has become really important to me in the past few years. And it's something that was not on my radar at all 20 years ago or 15 years ago, right? I think back then I was very much focused on the actual performance of the dog,

right? And, and I think as we matured and we're in the sport longer and, and you make friends, I think that started to creep into a lot of what we would talk about on the podcast or in person, right? Or with our VIP members, right? The importance of the social aspect of agility. And we all have friends that we have and we came into agility with either together or you came into the sport and you didn't know anyone and then you made friends,

right? And then you built a community. And I think that is such an important part of the sport, even for people who are actually introverts, right? Are quite introverted, you know, obviously sometimes you need some space, but I, I think this idea of social networks building a community is so important in our sport, maybe even more so than in,

in many other sports, right? And I think it's kind of mediated through social media. So for me it's to be, I use a, a buzzword to be intentional about building these connections. And that was one of the reasons that I agreed to do the livestream commentary for the US Open this past year and made the trip from Houston to Jacksonville, Florida,

even, even though I wasn't running a dog, right? So it's the first time I'd done anything like that and it was super enjoyable. It was great seeing people run in person. I think that also adds a little bit to the experience as well. So for me that that's like a big goal. And it's interesting because in sharing this with you,

our audience, right? We're gonna talk a little bit about now resolutions and goals and the pros and the cons. We had our kids go through the exercise. And so our daughter Hannah, who's 13 has, she's very interesting, she's got a lot on her plate, she's involved in a lot of activities, you know, like her brother, she's like this,

this very academically oriented kid who has a lot of different interests including a sport that, and for her, she does two sports swimming in water polo, but in in water polo. And she's very good at both, but in water polo, she's like exceptionally gifted, right? And so for everyone who's listening to the podcast right now, you're all dog agility trainers.

And let me tell you that in the dog training world, you are all exceptionally gifted, right? If you think about the average dog owner and what they know about dogs and how they interact with their dogs and what they're able to teach their dogs and the relationship they have with their dogs, i, I, I think in general, right? Even the most beginner dog agility person is,

is like a top one percenter in terms of what they know about how to teach things as basic as sitting as complex as weaving, right? And navigating a course that you and the dog have never seen before you got to that walkthrough, right? It's really a remarkable thing if we all take a step back and you think about what you are doing in the sport of dog agility and how different it is from things like dog diving and the prescribed obedience routines and other dog sports,

right? Agility is very dynamic, it's very complex, it's very difficult. And no matter how good or bad you think you are, trust me, you're definitely achieving at a very, very high level. And so I expected when, when she showed us what she had come up with my daughter, that she was gonna have a lot of stuff around maybe what grades she wanted to do or what she wanted to learn,

or achievements, accomplishments that she wanted in water polo. And it wasn't that way at all, right? Her big emphasis, the thing that was most important to her and she really wanted to focus on was social connection. Right? And so what, what did you think about that Sarah, when you saw that? Well, I don't know what you were expecting.

I, I thought it was really interesting and, and I wanted to point out, because you had just talked about how your focus was, you know, was going to be connection that the two of you did this completely independently, right? I had, so it's not like had no influence on it. She heard you talking about it or anything like that.

So I thought it was, it was really great. I thought it was incredibly insightful for a 13-year-old right. To be like, I wanna focus. And it wasn't just that she wanted to focus on it, but that she had concrete ideas on how she was going to accomplish this. It was, you know, she wanted to, she wanted to ask people their name and if she forgot it,

she wanted to resolve to ask them again and not be embarrassed. Not be embarrassed About it, right. And I felt that's, I mean that's incredible because I do that all the time. I'm one of those people that when people introduce themselves to me, I know my name, right? But I'm still sitting there going, okay, and then you say,

and I'm Sarah. I don't know why I do that. Is that just a Sarah thing? I'm, I do That at the start of every podcast. I am, I'm just waiting Jennifer to finish telling me she's Jennifer so that I can tell Jennifer who I am. Exactly. And so when people introduce themselves to me, they say their name and I didn't even hear it because I wanna make sure that I don't mess up saying,

nice to meet you, my name is Sarah. And then I'm like, oh crap, I totally forgot their name that they just said like three seconds ago. I'm really bad about that. So I thought it was, it was just really insightful for her to kind of put that actionable item on her list. Well I think that makes for a very nice transition to how we go about accomplishing a goals,

right? So let me come back now to Jennifer. Jennifer you kind of took us through the schedule of the upcoming year and how you're thinking about it in terms of your dogs and it, it's, it's great and it's a very broad general overview of what you have going on. Can you share with the audience how you kind of think about things more concretely?

Like what are you doing in your day-to-day? Like how do you kind of figure that out? So my goal right now is that each dog is going to get fitness three times a week. What I haven't figured out, and this is gonna have to be a little bit of an experiment for myself for the month of January and I just got home. So today's like my January 1st.

I had the first week of January out of town and on vacation. So I feel like today is the start of my new year, but I haven't figured out if I'm going to do them all separately. So like high five on Monday, surprise on Tuesday, back to high five on Wednesday, surprise on Thursday or, and and in that case I'd be doing more days of fitness,

but the sessions are shorter. Or if I'm gonna get all of the tools out, all of the props out, all the equipment out, and then I'm just gonna do all the dogs on the same three days. So that's gonna mean that when I go do fitness, the sessions of the fitness, whether they're in my basement or in my building are longer,

but I work through high five, then I work through surprise, you know, then I work through B or whatever order I do 'em in. So I'm not sure what's gonna be the best for me. I tend to think shorter sec, sec shorter sessions. But more times a day will be easier. 'cause I can be like, oh, I got 20 minutes.

I can run out there and do one dog. Versus if I have to do three dogs, I have to find an hour, right? And finding an hour in my day is very difficult. So I, I suspect I'm gonna do more of like alternating the dogs. But right now that's my goal. My goal is three times a week that they get to do fitness.

That's aside from any of the agility training right now. I think it's gonna be very doable for January and February. 'cause I'm not doing a tremendous amount of showing, like I'm not doing any shows in January. We're kind of on an off season getting ready for stuff. I think what's gonna be harder is when I'm now doing shows. So if I'm showing Friday,

Saturday, Sunday, that's exhausting on me and them. And then of course you wanna give 'em Monday off. So it's kind of like where do I fit it in? So right now I'm kind of doing like a, a week by week and starting off three times a week. That's my goal to get each dog through a fitness of some level. Maybe I can't even get to their whole workout.

But if I can at least do the cavalletti aspect of their workout, that's better than doing nothing at all. So I'm kind of doing it week by week and giving myself kind of a quantifiable three workouts each week for them. I love one thing that you just mentioned there that I really wanted to highlight for people and that is that you, you said that you're going to try,

you know this, you have a goal and you have an initial plan for how to do it, but you're willing to adjust and change. And I think that like, that addresses like, one of the concerns that I have in general about resolutions and, and that's why I really wanted to point it out to people is that some people, and I think some personalities of people can get so bogged down in exactly what it was that they resolved.

That they try to, you know, they try to fit a, you know, a square peg into a round hole kind of thing. They try to keep making it work even when it's obvious that it is not going to work. Instead of taking a step back and saying, well, well what this was like my plan, but what was the,

what is that plan leading to? What is the overarching goal and is there a different plan that might work better? And being willing to adjust as you go. And like you said, it could be that you experiment and it's just not working for you and for your dogs because of for whatever reason. Or it could be that it works great for a particular period of time that,

but then because life changes, it no longer works great and you need to adjust it. So being open and accepting of navigating those changes without feeling like that you, you've failed or it, why bother? 'cause it's already, you know, the plan's already gone, gone bad I think is really important aspect of this idea of we're at the beginning of a new year and it's a fresh start and now we can go do all the things.

I think that's all very well said. And I think that brings us to my first hot tip for everybody. So this, this is linked to the idea of procrastination, which of course we had a recent run in with our family. And so we have our oldest kid who is, what is he? 19? Yes. He's first year college student.

Back home after his first semester he played, he played water polo, he's up at Brown University. He did water polo and army, ROTC and the very high level academics up there. And so he is juggling a lot on his plate. Maybe didn't do as well academically as he wanted to. Of course his standards are ridiculously high. And he certainly outshined you and me from our first semesters in college from 30 years ago.

And he cited procrastination is one of the reasons that that happened, right? Kept putting things off that he probably should have done a lot sooner. Right? And I think we can all think of times in dog training that we have put something off, whether it's that, you know, you're like, I'm not going to enter a standard run until I get a running dogwalk.

And then you kind of put off that training, you put off that training, especially when it's not going so well. You know, when things aren't going so well, it becomes really easy, at least for me and a lot of people I know to put things off, right? And so procrastination can and will now that I say it out loud,

be an entire its own standalone podcast because I think it's that big a deal in all our lives and it manifests itself in, in dog agility in so many different ways, right? And has a direct impact not just on how we perform or our dogs perform, if you wanna look at kind of quote unquote objective measures, but like our, our psychology and how we view the sport,

how we view ourselves, how we view each other. And the hot tip I'm gonna give you to overcome procrastination is just do the very next step, the smallest little thing that you can do. And do that thing, do that thing rather than, I don't know how many of you people are like this, but let's say that you want to teach your dog a running dogwalk,

right? And so you're like, okay, I'm, you end up spending essentially like a month or two just shopping around for the right running dogwalk class and you're like, well, I need to get the right equipment and I need to do all these things. And then that's all well and good. And that can actually be a, a great first step,

right? Okay, I'm gonna commit to doing one thing. But when you waffle and you go back and forth and you never pick the class that you wanna be in and you never actually go and get the equipment and you're just browsing on the internet all the time and, and watching videos of other people doing running dog walks, there's, there's potentially an element of procrastination,

right? And so I think that's gonna hold you back from kind of reaching your goals. It can be very overwhelming. You can feel very defeated. And I think the solution is to find that class and sign up for it. It's to talk with your friend and come up with an agreement so you can borrow their dogwalk. It is to construct that board or purchase that mat or PVC box that you can put on there,

right? You know, settle on a method, get the equipment you need, and then get out there and have that very first session. And maybe it doesn't need to be outside, maybe it can be indoors. You teach 'em to get in the box or touch the mat or anything like that. And when you do that first session, which let's make it as easy as possible,

just get the dog to click on it like five times a 32nd session and then you're done with it and you're like, oh, the relief that you'll feel. It can be so intense. And then can Gitchi really started in the right direction? I would say, you know, don't sit there coming up with a plan where you're training six days a week and you map out the whole entire month and,

and, and you set aside this time. And that can just be another form of procrastinating. Just get out there and do that first step. Okay. Comments from, from y'all. What do you think? What do you think? Well, you know, I was thinking about that exact thing when, when Jen was saying like, well maybe I'll just do cavalletti.

It's kind of like, there's like a minimum amount that you can quickly do that, you know, you can get to that that's low, you know, low effort on your part to make it happen. And I, I feel like that's kind of exactly what you're talking about. You kind of have like your big goal, but then you kind of have also like the smallest step.

And those may not be the same, and you may not always take only the smallest step, but when you're having trouble getting anything done, taking the smallest step is like the obvious choice. I'm a, I'm a very big procrastinator. I I'm a master procrastinator. We'll save that for another podcast. But I've, I've been, I've been reinforced for it too much.

It doesn't make it a good thing. Um-huh. But recently, this is a good example. I think that's non-ag agility related. So I just went on this vacation and I put off packing, put off packing, put off packing. I, I'm like a one step at a time person. So like I can't move on to the next task until the other task is done.

And I just, we keep our suitcases in the basement and I was like, I just need to go get 'em. I just need to go get 'em. No, I'll, I'll let me finish this. And then I finally, I was like, I'm just gonna go get 'em. So I'd go and get the suitcases and I put 'em in our bedroom and because they were there,

then when I would walk past I'd be like, oh yeah, I gotta take this. I'll throw this in. Oh yeah, I gotta take this, I gotta throw that in. And little by little I found myself like I was packed. Like I was like just the act, the one little step of bringing the suitcases from the basement into the bedroom forced me and like helped me then proceed forward with the task.

So same thing happened with some of my dog fitness stuff. Part of my hesitancy to do as much at the end of last year is, 'cause it's out in my building and it's winter here in Ohio and I'm like, oh, I gotta walk out there and it's cold and I gotta turn the heat on. So I was like, I'm going to bring in,

in my basement. So the one day my fitness goal for that day was to get my equipment from my barn to my house. And just by bringing it in then it was when it was in my basement, I was like, oh, it's warm down there. I can turn the TV on, I can do the dog's fitness and I'd, I've been so much better about doing it.

So like one tiny little next step, just bringing the equipment in, just bringing the suitcase up helped me to then get that task accomplished. So I've never really like thought about it till you were talking about it, but just one tiny little step will get the momentum going. Kind of that whole snowball avalanche thing. Tiny little pebble rolls down the hill and builds and builds and builds and then you get that task complete.

Right? And not only did you, not only did you do the first step, right, but you also had a visual cue. You had some, you know, it, it, it was 'cause I we're always talking about stuff. You know, Stephen will, will ask me to do something and I'm like, okay, well you have to tell me when I'm in front of a computer.

'cause like whatever it is that he wanted to tell me. It's like I can't do it unless I'm in, in front of a computer. And like days and days and days will go by and it'll always come up when we're like walking around the block and it'll be like, okay, well you have to tell me when I'm in front of a computer.

And so it's like, just like having the information, like at the moment when you can actually act on it, is super valuable. And so by putting your suitcase there or putting your fitness equipment there or whatever, you know, it just makes it so much easier. Yeah, I think it, That's why I don't put my water bottles away. I wash my water bottles and I don't put 'em in the cabinet.

I like leave them out on the counter, which drives my husband nuts. But I'm like, it's my visual cue, right? 'cause when my water bottle is sitting there in the morning, I'm like, oh, fill it up, drink your water today. Right? Which is super relevant with the New Year's and all of us trying to, you know,

be better and healthier. But it's the visual cue if it's in the back of the cabinet or you wash it and put away and you don't see it, you forget. And then all of a sudden you're like, oh yeah, I forgot I haven't drank any water and it's 4:00 PM and That's why I have a headache right now. That's me. Yes.

Right. I love this discussion about visual cues and that first step and another dog training One is just to have treats and available to you. I used to be the kind of person who used to own one clicker, and then I'd be like, I can't possibly dog train unless I have the clicker and their favorite food and it's over here and then I gotta get it.

Ah, it's too much of a hassle. I really need to watch this basketball game. And so it, it wouldn't get done. And so what I did was I bought like 10 clickers and they're everywhere on this counter, that counter. And I have a little container now that I keep all the clickers on in. And so there's, there's always a clicker available to me.

And then the dog treats, if we're working through whatever, there's gonna be some treats available in a bag on top of this crate and that crate and that position basically at every point where you would need to use those things. We've lowered the barrier essentially, right? The effort that you need to do to overcome that initial reluctance to just get started. Right?

And so I think that is a very, that's a very strong tip for people out there. Think about things that you can do. Maybe if it's, you know, know you, you need to go running or walking, it's to pull your running shoes out or your walking shoes out and have them like by the door or, or your bed or whatever.

It's that visual cue. It's there, it's ready to go. You know, you even put your socks in it so you don't have to go hunt for socks and go through your laundry and do it. Oh, it's so hard to find socks. You do it. Yeah, you do it the night before and then when you wake up and you're ready to go,

you no longer have those excuses and you're able to go and get that started. Okay. So I think we've given you a couple of really great tips to get started on all your new year stuff. I think before we wrap up, I think the one thing we should talk about just very briefly, because I think we've talked about this in in other podcasts about New Year's stuff,

is, you know, the, the dark sides of the dark side of resolutions. Yeah. I kind of hinted, hinted at at some of that, which is, you know, the, I think the dark side of resolutions is that the, the reason that it helps in the new year is because you have a clean slate. But that's a double-edged sword because as soon as you don't have a clean slate,

you, you give up. You know? Yeah, yeah. So like being too focused on being perfect I think is is a real dark side of of and and I think we also kind of mentioned the other dark side of being too attached to your exact plan and refusing to adjust it, you know, giving given changes to your reality. Yeah. Yeah.

I think that's, I think that's very well said. And everybody I'm sure has read articles or you're familiar with stuff where, you know, four out of five people will have given up on their New Year's resolutions by February 1st or, or whatever date that they cite in the article. And that doesn't necessarily need to be you. But the thing that I want to talk about is this idea of self-worth and self-esteem.

And so I think it's really important for all of us out there to separate those things, right? Our self-worth notions of self-worth and our New Year's resolutions. Because I think in a lot of people's minds, and, and they'll do this for just agility performance in general, how well they do in a year kind of defines the value that they assign to themselves for that year.

So right, they look back on 2023 and they think, what did I get done? And if they didn't win all the things and, and get all, get all the titles and qualify for all the events, you know, that they can be like, well, that, that year wasn't very good Or it was wasted, Or it was a wasted year.

Right? And maybe they, their self-worth, or even their estimation of their dog might be low or, or lower than I think it would have been, right? And I think tho those are things that need to be separate, right? I think you should always have a high opinion of both yourself and your dogs and your capabilities and what you've accomplished and optimism about what you hope to accomplish and whether or not you succeed and given your goals and how you construct those goals and the steps you take to get there.

That's all academic, so to speak, right? That's just, that's just, it's just in the details, right? But it's, it's not tied to really who you are, right? And I think that people can get very down on themselves, you know, as dog trainers we can, we can feel very bad about ourselves and sometimes, you know,

that that can trickle over to the dogs, right? Our dogs. And so I think to me that's, that's the real dark side of being so oriented toward results and then tying those results to how we think of ourselves and how we think of other people, right? Because you see it on social media. Someone posts a beautiful run, you're like,

oh, well you must be an amazing dog trainer. And, and you would be surprised at how many really top trainers and handlers don't think of themselves that way, or they have real issues with their own self-esteem and self-worth and, and what makes them them. And I think it's helpful to recognize that resolutions and goal setting and the tips we're giving you,

like these are very practical things and things that you can work on, but they are not who you are. There. There's something that you do in order to help you obtain some kind of goal, but obtaining that goal or not obtaining that goal to me, should not be tied so intimately to how you think of yourself in terms of self-worth and self-esteem.

Okay. So that's all we have for you. So hopefully we're going to get 2024 going off in a, in a great way with this podcast and we'll see you next week. We'd like to thank our sponsor, HitItBoard dot com. Happy training. My dad told my mom she should embrace her mistakes, so she gave him a hug.

Thank You for Listening!

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