P M A
P M A
Boxers are the best at it! Thats what I am saying! Boxers are the ones we hear said " He hit me with a lucky punch" I think second is Footballs players ; they said " the other team just made more plays than us." Neither of these folks said they lost or were beaten, They are saying that they did their best.
I am talking about " PMA" For many years I fished tournaments in the East Texas area. In my boat I had an old coffee can with duct tape around it; in big bold letters I wrote "PMA" Many of my fishing buddies wondered why I had a silly old can in my boat ;'even laughing at me. But that 'can' made me fish harder and even bear down at times when fishing was tough or cold or just plain bad.
The subject that I am discussing is "Positive Mental Attitude". How many times have you gone to a dog event with the 'hope' that your dogs do well. In my backyard I take a positive attitude with me ;about the new things to learn. I try so hard to be up beat , excited and willing to change to acheve the goals for that day. If I dont get my dog to do the game plan I dont get mad or angry. I feel that I learned a lesson while trying to teach. I got some thing Positive from our failure to reach our goals for that day.
More times than I can count I have heard people said " I hope my dogs does well today." I leave home sometimes at 3 a m heading for the agility event excited to see how well my dogs are going to do that day. Linda Kipp Wallace once told me ' Why would I drive 750 miles stay in a hotel, buy food, and drive 750 miles back home and 'hope' my dogs will do well." She told me this at a seminar years ago and I still remember her words the mornings that I leave the house a 3 a m. for an agility event. I leave with a positive attitude of knowing that I have trained, and know that we will do great at the agility event.
I have in recent years adopted a new way to look at my runs in agility. Lucille my rescue border collie, has made me work harder, longer and be much wiser about agility . I describe her as ' living on the edge, out of control, over the top, and just plan crazy about agility." In our first few years I looked at the problems we had in the agility ring. I was so discouraged at our preformances at times, She would miss contacts and the week before we had proofed our contacts. I just could not see the good for all the bad things we were doing.
I had forgotten my can of "PMA" I had forgotten about the 19 things we did prefect and thought only about the one bar dropped or one missed contact. I got my wake up call in Mckinney Texas. I lined up Lucille for our Jumpers with Weaves that day; I took my lead out, I called to Lucille. She dropped the first bar on the first jump, My mind went into training mood. We moved around the course not missing another article. I used our distance skills to stand in one spot in the middle of the ring to direct Lucille over the entire course; I sent her into the weaves in the cornor of the horse barn, She weaved away from me while I stool there just watching. I brought her back around a jump and sent her to the last jump. Our time was just awsome. BUT I was focused on that one dang bar that Lucille had dropped.
As I placed the leash on Lucilles neck I failed to congratulate her for working so hard. A lady approached us from the stands; She said " I was told to watch you because you use so much distance work with your dog, what you just did was truly amazing". I thanked her for her comments. As I worked my way back to our crate area I had 5 more people stop us an comment about how amazing that run and distance work was. By the time I had reached our crate area I began to review in my mind what we had just done.
My conclusion was I had lost my can on PMA. I was worried more about the one small error than thinking about the wonderful over all preformance that Lucille had given me.. That day I devised a way to make everyone of Lucilles agility runs a positive event. I now use percents when someone asks about our agility runs. I say things like " that was a 99 % run for Lucille" or " Man we did a 90 % run there" Always talking about the percent that we did well never talking about the other.
I do know it is an honor to be able to play this silly game called agility with Lucille. I know that I do cherish each day, each moment, and every second with Lucille. She has brought in to my life more joy ,fun, and made me a better trainer. I have learned so much from Lucille; but most of all I learned to have that once lost 'Positive Mental Attitude" again.
And to show how far we have come with a Positive Mental Attitude On 9-19-10 Lucille earned her Agility Dog Championship (ADCH) from USDAA.
Find your 'can' ; use it in training, work, family, or business. A good can of "PMA" is hard to beat....in life or sports.
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Articles from Victoria Stilwell
- Why I’m Not a Purely Positive Dog Trainer
- Becoming a Dog Trainer
- Social Bullying
- Does Your Dog Respect You?
- Differences Between Male and Female Dogs