Shame and a CD

mental skills Apr 02, 2018
Photo Lisa Kaufman

I wasn’t going to write about this. And I literally told a friend I would not post it on FB. (Ha!) She nudged me, but then dropped it when I said that someday it might be part of a bigger story.

This weekend my “middle child,” Moxie, earned her CD and we privately celebrated with ice cream and Nutter Butters as is the family tradition. So why not publicly celebrate? Because she got the title with some of the worst scores I have ever received in the obedience ring: 171, 174.5 and 176.

Shame, shame, shame

I’m not one of those people who believes that every green ribbon is equal or that “no one will ever know what your scores were.” It’s just not how I roll. I train and compete like I could be High in Trial every time I go into the ring.

But this kid. Oh, this kid! I have written about Moxie before, and while I do agree she was sent to me for a reason, she pushes all the buttons! She is brilliant, talented and yet when this bold girl is insecure she wants it her way or not at all.

At home and in class she’s all fun and confidence and brilliant heeling. We work in spins and jump ups and all the things. Trust me, I have tried – and continue to work – confidence-building skills alongside precision. But we all know when we walk into a ring situation, the energy changes and a two-year-old feels the difference.

Less judgment, please

As a mindset coach, I also recognize that I play a huge role in being the support she needs, and I’m working on myself as well. To that end, my goals this weekend were: 1) treat it like practice (not even a match), 2) realize I’m teaching her “the ropes” of the environment and 3) strive for continued working. I am happy to say we did all of those things!

But here’s the real point of my tale: we can all sit ringside and judge someone’s performance then proceed to “offer advice” as to what they “should” do, but the bottom line is: we have no idea what they are going through/have been through to get to this far.

I know I have a dog who is working on her own issues and we will continue to work on them. However, three days in a row where she didn’t shut down and continued to work is a victory for where this dog is at this point in her journey. And yes, I know some were looking at us with rolling eyes and breedist thoughts, but I held my mental ground and was proud of my girl for trying really hard.

Having our challenges made me more compassionate for all the other Novice teams – I don’t know what they’re going through any more than they know about us. Moxie wasn’t the only one who left her sits at home or lagged on the about turn near the table.

HIT with a side of shame

I still have some PTSD from the day Indie finished her CDX years ago at a regional specialty. It was outside and I knew she wasn’t ready and that it was less than an ideal location, but thought we’d try plus support the club. Indie had points off everywhere but made it through – again a personal victory for us! Yet during the out of sight stays, the judge’s husband told me that I just didn’t know how much training obedience takes. (WTF?!) Then during the awards (where I was the only qualifier for the whole trial and therefore HIT), the judge said, “we won’t mention their score.”

Every team who walks into the ring in any given venue on any given day is bringing with them a bunch of challenges we know nothing about. Training stuff, personal stuff, loss, injury, fears … it is all part of their story, a tip of an iceberg that we will never know. Whether we are in line at S’bux or ringside, we need to remember that everyone is going through something yet they had the guts to show up and try.

Social media doesn’t help. Either you post rainbows and unicorns or brace yourself for the onslaught of advice, judgment, and emojis. Hence, my hesitation in posting this story at all.

Part of a bigger story

One day I hope to tell the story of Moxie getting her CD as a tangent to her getting her UD, “Remember, this is the kid who finished her CD with a 176 and now look at her!!” I have faith in this feisty kid and know that we are both capable of amazing things. So it’s back to working our plan with support from friends and teachers who will help with compassion.

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