Once again I am completely writing the blog action day post on Attitudes the day of.  I did have a plan. But then after this last weekend's agility trial with Vito and my personal meltdown after, it didn't really fit :)

So, I'm going to talk about expectations.  I had them.  When I got Vito he was going to be my sports dog.  Surely we would have fun conquering a wide range of activities.  I may not have set specific goals on reaching an OTCH or an ADCH but we were certainly going to see how far we could go.

When Vito's anxieties increased and he decided to add some new ones in, our plans changed a bit.  I was never focusing on specific outcomes such as titles or Q rate, but now I put even more emphasis on how to warm him up, getting him excited at the start line, and judging his runs based on his speed and feeling of connection.

We've made progress in some things, but it always seemed to be 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

I think I need to learn to let go of all my expectations.  I am sure that Vito feels my pressure to perform even though the goals I say I have match my priorities of having fun in the ring.  I've tried hard to always let him know that he's a superstar but I'm kidding myself if I believe he isn't capable of seeing my disappointment.

We all set expectations for our dogs.  But in order for my stressy dog to truly relax in the ring I need to stop thinking of trials as a yard stick of how far we have come or still have to go.  The ring just needs to be our play time together.  It remains to be seen whether or not Vito will want to keep playing this game with me and I don't want my expectations of where he should be to hinder that.

Pepper  – ( June 6, 2012 at 6:27 PM )  

My puppy,whos now a year old, has proven to have very little toy drive, but in my "desperation" to have a dog that loves to tug I was trying way too hard, and freaking her out. My instructor told me to stop trying, and just play with her and enjoy the games she loves. We have a way to go still, but since I stopped trying, she's started to try. A big turn around, and she now has an awesome tug and pretty good toy drive (about 2 months later) :) Good luck and don't give up, You and Vito are awesome

Ninso  – ( June 6, 2012 at 7:19 PM )  

I know all too well about giving up expectations. I have basically none for Jun right now. Though I think my expectations of my dogs affect me (leading to disappointment and frustration) more than them. They are good dogs. Just might not ever be what I had hoped. It's a blow to the ego more than anything, I think. After all, competitions are for us, not the dogs. I'm not sure I could ever truly see a comp as "just playtime." Good luck!

Kathy  – ( June 6, 2012 at 11:59 PM )  

Great post as always, those expectations can be tricky things can't they?

Dawn  – ( June 7, 2012 at 11:36 AM )  

You may be dissapointed from time to time, but Laura you always have a good attitude. You are great with your dogs you are good with all the people around you and you are the kind of compeitor I look up to. Goals and expectations can change, circumstances change and those can be dissapointing and you are allowed to feel that - but the key that you show is the ability to change course, change plans and make new ones. I totally respect that. Thank you!

Mango  – ( June 8, 2012 at 7:33 PM )  

Oh dear, there is nobody in blog land that I know who is a better trainer than you. But sometimes I guess our dogs have other ideas about what they can and cannot do.

I don't have a lot of ambition for Mango. He is clumsy, slow to learn, low energy, and a bit of a bully around other dogs. So I just enjoy spending time with him doing the same tricks over and over and over (which he LOVES to do). Little Dex, well, he challenges me because he is so quick to learn and eager.

I know you will find a balance.

Mango Momma

Loretta Mueller  – ( June 18, 2012 at 3:49 PM )  

I had to let go of expectations with Lynn as well...it worked very well for us, but a TOUGH TOUGH lesson for me to have to learn. One I needed, but still tough. I say try it out, see what happens! You never know!

Amy Carlson  – ( June 21, 2012 at 8:38 PM )  

Oh, yes, I read your words like they are my own. I am not an actress, my worry and disappointment shows loud and clear. SO hard with these dogs who hav eso much talent and so much worry their talent is shadowed.

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