I've gotten some interesting feedback on yesterday's post about perfection being unattainable and therefore, not a worthy or sensible goal when it come comes to training and competing.
Several folks pointed out - and I totally agree - that we should never use the "perfection is impossible so why bother?" excuse for not striving to do our absolute best with our canine partners. If your aspirations with your dog are to earn an OTCh., MACH, 200 score in obedience, agility world team member, etc., obviously you're going to have to train beyond what Susan Garrett referred to as "roughly right" to achieve those goals. Precision handling and training in both agility and obedience has reached levels we never would have dreamed of even 15 years ago.
I think perhaps Susan's overall point was instead of obsessing about achieving perfection in training and competing, remember that the process is more important than the outcome and never lose the joy that comes from training and learning new things with your dog.
I know several well-accomplished obedience trainers who view going into the ring at a trial as nothing more than a chance to see where their dog is in training on any given day. The potential for wins and placements don't enter the picture. It is this ability to focus on how their dog is working and recognize strengths as well as weaknesses that allows them to tailor their training to their dog's needs, which in turn leads to those wins and placements.
Terri Arnold (I think) said, "What you get in the ring is a byproduct of the relationship you have with your dog." How about that, all those titles and ribbons are just "byproducts." I love it.
Here are some pics from the Belgians' romp yesterday afternoon. The sun was already starting to set by the time I got home from work and we got outdoors, so the lighting isn't great and even at 34 degrees, my shutter finger got cold in a darned hurry. But a good time was still had by all.