Attitude Is Everything

| April 2, 2014 | 0 Comments
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With 2014 being the year of the Olympics, much has been made of the use of sports psychologists and their value in helping to enhance the performances of various athletes.

Although your dogs can’t read, you can! Years ago, I read a blurb in Front & Finish about a book called “That Winning Feeling” by Jane Savoie. It basically is about improving your relationship with your horse and with yourself. It is based on the “science of mind power”, in other words, the use of visualization and positive thinking.

I had grown up riding and competing with horses, and did some of this as an adult, but by the time I read this, I was heavily into working with my dogs. In Front & Finish, the person writing about the book stressed how much it had helped her in obedience competition. So, I bought it. I loved it!

Since that time, I have read innumerable books on “mind power” and athletes, hoping to gain some additional insight into my dogs and into competing with my dogs. You can check your local library and find many of them. Some of them were just interesting reading in and of themselves, especially some by Wooden and various coaches and trainers of athletes. Hopefully, I gained something from them—or at least I like to tell myself I did.

Recently, I discovered a more recent book by Jane Savoie called “It’s Not Just About the Ribbons”, bought it, and once again, am enjoying immensely what Jane has to say.

Give some thought to going to your local library and seeing if you can find some helpful books there. Look up books in the sports psychology section and see if there are some titles that grab your interest.

It might not appeal to you nor make a big difference in what you do with your dogs and your attitude during competition. I feel I have had benefits from it, and would like to work on gaining more. Depending upon which dog I am running, I have certain words I keep repeating in the holding blind as I am waiting to go to line, my mantra. With one, I use the words “focus, focus, focus” and go over the test in my mind. With another I tend to use “quiet, be calm” as this dog can really get overly pumped. Sometimes if the competition is exceedingly stiff, it is a very difficult last series, and especially if the dog is young, I will tell myself “you have been here before” to settle my nerves more than the dog’s. Do I have proof positive that it helps? No scientific proof other than it sure makes me feel better.

You have nothing to lose and possibly a considerable amount to gain by checking this out.

This article originally appeared in and has been repeated here with some edits.

Category : Blog, Book Reviews, Hunt Training, Training Tips

About the Author ()

Glenda Brown owns both Goldens and Labradors. She is on the Board of the LRC and is the field liaison to the Golden Retriever News. She is a Founding Member of the CRTA, has judged a Master National Hunt Test and the National Amateur. She has competed in conformation, obedience, tracking and hunt tests but her primary venue is field trials. Her husband competed in agility---with some of the field dogs. She has and has had Field Champions with both her Goldens and her Labs.

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