I love agility
I love nose work
I love having dogs that are easy to get along with and a pleasure to take places
and I absolutely adore having dogs that can run off leash, here, in the middle of nowhere, with no concerns about them at all (we watch for hawks and coyotes though!)
Why then with all these things mattering so much to me am I focusing on helping people's mental game in my current dog sport teaching life?**
Students want to be more grateful, or less anxious. They want to win it all - or don't want to be overwhelmed with feelings of grief if they have a bad run. They ask about becoming better planners, or how to goal set. They wonder about trialing in new places or mentally coping with difficult people or difficult dogs/horses. These are such good, important questions.
There are fundamentally three reasons my focus has become the head side of things in my online work ...
1) I end up doing all these things in nose work, or agility, or nice house dog, classes anyhow. I've ended up with years of practice of embedding some of my key principles into, hmm, let's call them "life lessons". As but one example - if you nag your dog and aren't happy with performance it's going to influence every single aspect of your relationship - relationship/play is where it's at for me ... and having your head in that game is an important element - no matter your sport!
2) My fundamental belief in differentiation - that is the understanding that every single living being has it's own best way to get things done ... I have a Self Help Soap Box I drag out and jump on regularly ... Self help gurus are wonderful if they think the same way as you. If their methods work for you you feel golden and invincible. The sad, and real, flip side of that is no one method works for every single being. When we are talking about TWO partners it's even more complicated. A panacea, a cure all, for all is impossible. Many people become disappointed, not in the guru, but in themselves when methods fail - and quite honestly that breaks my heart.
3) My worlds collided when I realized there is a need for people to help dog (and horse) sport people find confidence, courage and get organized. My day life for - eep - more than half my life- has involved a great deal of counselling and support for others. Many courses, certificates, and formal training in all kinds of things have added up an interest and background that serves me well while I design and write courses and then help people face down issues they struggle with. The range of my training has been enormous - brain development, depression, eating disorders, suicide prevention, sleep hygiene, good nutrition, building confidence play skills, conflict resolution, career planning, .... and on, and on, and on. It seems I am a life long learner.
My students, clients and friends keep bringing me back to this "stuff" too. We evolve together. And that's pretty beautiful. I have some natural empathy too - I have been nervous enough to not grab opportunities, I have lived what others have called a "life of loss". In the soap opera of my life there aren't too many challenges I haven't had a little close hand experience with.