Recently a new trainer said to me, “my goal is to get a perfect 200 score with my dog”. A lofty goal for a green handler with a green dog! But .. never say never. We all have our own way of approaching training goals, some reach for the stars, some hope for the best. Neither in my opinion is wrong, depending on the person and the dog at the end of the leash.
My own goals tend to be fluid, the final goal might be an OTCH or an OTCH X but I like to break it down into bite size pieces. This month my goal was to get at least one Open/Utility Combined pass towards Trula’s OTCH X title. We achieved that and have 4 more to go. My other goal was to learn and get comfortable with the Open 18B Change of Positions exercise. While this cost us a second and maybe a third combined leg, I did learn how to do this exercise in the ring. So, two goals achieved while being, somewhat in conflict.
The dog in front of you may drive the direction of your goals. Yesterday I played with Gus in the training room, we did bits of heeling, Novice, Open and Utility exercises. At one point I stood in the middle of the room in tears watching the little guy. Happy, fun, fast, smart and such a desire to please. He is a wonderful obedience dog and I had lofty goals for him. But, because of his anxiety, created by a brain damage causing illness he had as a puppy, I can never put him through the stress of a trial. After getting over feeling sorry for myself, I’ve decided on a new goal for this little dog and I. I will train him through all the levels and video tape his Novice, Open and Utility with one of the few people he is confident with being his judge. And, maybe I’ll make up a special ribbon and trophy just for him. :))
However you manage your own goals and aspirations, I wish you good luck and hope that both you and your dog have fun along the way!