A Interview with COL
7. How do you define success in your performance activity? What is the one thing that every successful performance person must do to guarantee success?
Noreen Bennett: Success varies from sport to sport, dog to dog and day to day. Sometimes success is qualifying. Sometimes success is seeing my dog work through stress. Most of the time, I feel successful if I can leave that day with a smile on my face and a happy, tired dog. In the end, it's not about the titles, it is the journey that is paved with tears, frustration, breakthroughs, training and time spent with my dogs. I may not have the top dog in any sport but it doesn't' mean I don't feel successful because I know we've earned every title honestly and ethically.
Carol Lariviere: I'd be lying if I said that qualifying runs and titles didn't matter to me. No one wants to spend a lot of money and time and never qualify or get a title. The Qs and titles are positive reinforcements that keep me going, but if my dogs are having a great time running, then that's how I define success. And that's what I think a successful performance person has to foster to have success: make sure your dog is having fun with you!
Jolene McCuaig: You need to set your own goals, don't look at others and their dogs -- what do you want to accomplish with your dog. Set your goal and go for it. Be happy with the dog you have and what he achieves. He will be the same dog you love whether he Q's or not.
Barbara Corriveau: I think each of us has our own goals and definition of success. What one person might aim for may be different from what another person may consider success. I value versatility and I am a breeder, so success for me is in producing a line of Collies who are beautiful and can also compete successfully in different activities. Having fun is very important for me and my dogs. And I don't have the time or interest to go to the top level in any one performance sport with a single dog myself, so that is not a goal of mine. Right now I am thoroughly enjoying the success that some of the Crispin Collies I have bred have been having in many sports with other owners.
Michelle Shoemaker: I define sucess as accomplishing a goal you have set, no matter how small. These small succeses eventually will be measured by your qualification rate when you compete. Every successful performance person must know how to play with their dog in order to have success. The dogs must feel as if they are playing with you and that is how you guarantee success -- play.
Judy Belluomini: I think everyone needs to set reasonable goals and be flexible. I know in the past I set goals that may have been too difficult or not realistic for me. With my Collies doing breed, obedience, tracking, and herding I learned to adjust and take different forks in the road. There were many times when I pulled back from a venue and trained to the dog's strengths. I was so fortunate to enjoy a collie like Lance who did well in all venues here in the states and Canada. I wonder if puppy, "Scholar," will give me those gifts . . .
Erin Gorney: I am constantly setting goals, both long and short term, all in relation to where we are in our training at the time so they could be anything from getting through a particular training challenge, to qualifying at a trial, to earning a title. Therefore, I define success as when we are able to meet or exceed those goals while still having fun. Also, I try never to compare us to other working teams; their goals, abilities, and skills are different than mine so I make sure I don't define our success by how we do compared to them.
Marilyn Clayton: No matter what the activity or how often we Q, I feel successful when we've worked together as a well-oiled team – when we're in sync for the whole performance and both of us have given our best. Sometimes our best isn't good enough to Q and that's OK – all we can do is our best. Choose the right dog for your temperament and the activities you want to do.
If you can't do that, then listen to your dog. You are like dance partners – there is a leader and a follower – but it's still a team effort – not a master-slave relationship. And above all, show how much you appreciate the effort your Collie is giving you each step of the way in your training and trialing!