What is it about having such intense ring nerves that I won't even try out a fun match? I attended one, and made the excuse that I was tense and Mickey was checking out by sniffing the ground and not listening to me. I knew if he did that in the ring, I would get more tense, making this not a good experience. So I just walked around the fun match area. Haven't seeked a fun match since.
What is it that we can psyche ourselves up so much that we do not move forward? I won't die in the ring. I'm not going to get physically hurt. What is the fear? Why is judgement such a major factor to us? They claim that the biggest fear in people is being rejected. Is this an inherent trait for survival? If we are not accepted, in times of danger or need, these people watching me at an obedience trial will not be there to help me? I don't really think that me performing bad in the ring is going to be the determining factor in what people do or don't do when you need their help.
What is it that I work myself up to the point I won't do something. I freeze like a deer in headlights. If I fall or do bad, haven't I heard of get up, brush the dust off and try again? Haven't I realized that I can't expect myself to be perfect the first time, second time, maybe even the third time or the several times after that? Each time however, I will get better with practice, exposure and experience.
What makes me think I'm so special that I can't make mistakes? Some of the best handlers out there had a disaster at one time or another in the ring. Like one teacher I had for another subject said, "the reason I can give you all this great advice and information is because I did all these mistakes!" If I don't get 170 or higher is it really the end of the world? Or getting lower than 190 the end of the world? I'm only going in Novice A.
Is it that I'm worried I will have to spend a lot of money just to get the first title of CD, Companion Dog? Is getting a title what this is all about? Does Mickey really care about a ribbon and a score? No, but he does care about how I react and how I feel.
Do I fear that all the people on the side lines are going to say, look at what a horrible handler she is in that ring? Why is she even in dog training or why does she think she can even train a dog? Like who really cares!!! If they really do say that, that means they are your competitor and trying to psyche you out. Don't give them the satisfaction! Does Mickey care about what other people think? No. He only cares how I feel and prefers me to be happy and relaxed. So, looking at everything here, what is more important? It is Mickey, not the people on the side lines watching. If they do snark at me, I just pretend they are snarking because they have something stuck up th eir nose. Just as I train my dog to focus on me, I need to focus on the greatest thing inthe world, those beautiful brown eyes.. He's more important than anything. Then of course I have to focus on the judge to know what I'm doing.
How about looking at the ring as an evaluation? Failing I won't loose my job, I won't loose my house, I won't loose my dog, I will just have an opportunity to learn. I need to remember to tTake each step and criteria slowly, just like you do in training. I will get there, I will get the CD only if I progress forward. The more I put mental barriers in front of me, the more I am not going to get that CD. Mickey is now 7 years old. If procrastinate even more, he will be too old to show! Then I have accomplished nothing other than training in my living room and never knowing how well I probably could have scored. I also can't keep passing dogs up year after year. I wanted to show Rubi, my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. I lost her in June 2008; got her in August 1997. Another great dog passed by. Jewel, my previous Malinois, I lost her in a tragic accident in 2004. I could have gotten a CD on her, but didn't. She had potential. Right now I have the dog with the most potential, Mickey. He's fabulous. He can take it and he can do it. So what am I dawdling about?
I'm reading a book, "Remembering to Breath: Inside Dog Obedience Competition" by Willard Bailey. He talks about his ring nerves and his failures. This is exactly what I need to read. I can't be so egocentric or so narrow minded that I am the only person that has ring nerves. Doesn't everyone? The difference is they are able to move forward and realize what they want in life. Willard Bailey did and wrote a book about it. So am I just really remedial to realize this? Am I still clinging on like a child that doesn't want to go out in the real world? What is my hang up for goodness sake!
Is this why I haven't been training that much either? The more I train, the more I will eventually have to get into that ring? I don't plan training. I actually love to train, but why do I not want to do it? It's kind of like getting into the shower, I hate doing it, but when I'm in the shower, I LOVE the warm water and I feel so good afterwards. Go figure! But as a side note, my training frequency has gone up. Good girl Christy, keep it coming!
To get anywhere in life, we need to get out there and get out of our comfort zone. I can criticize others for not getting out of their comfort zone, and here I am a hypocrite! For 20 years I've put barriers in front of me to get into that ring, but have dreamed about it for a very long time. Mickey should have already had his CD and CDX by now! But nope, I put barriers. I put FEAR in the way......F.E.A.R. as I learned years ago, False Evidence Appearing Real.
I need to put one foot in front of the other, make a plan, spend 2-3 minutes to train to make it short, and move forward. Can I do it, I'm here at my last hope. My last chance. It is time to move forward and get going. I will do it, here I come!