Let’s set the scene:
It was Tuesday night around 8 pm. The warehouse where the agility classes are held was cold and dank. I was tired and grumpy, and I think that rubbed off on Cooper. We were in a bad spot already because the poor guy had the pants scared off of him when a tarp that separated the space fell. He lost his little head barking and had his hackles up. Then a dog ran right up to his face, which he hates, and he yelped, startling the trainer and the two other dogs standing near us.
The bottom line? We weren’t having the best night.
We had started a sequencing exercise where the dogs had to walk over a series of jump standards (the U-shaped part of the jump without the bar in the middle) with specific turns. We went and messed up, and the trainer had us redo it. I was frustrated, but we got it on the second try.
Everyone took a turn, then the trainer went with her puppy.
Who messed up. Big time.
She went the wrong direction then sort of wandered off then came back on the opposite side. And the trainer? Well…
For a split second I thought, “Why is she laughing? She messed up!” And then it hit me: Because this is supposed to be fun!
It seems so obvious, of course, but I realized that mistakes are part of it. I’m the kind of person who strives to avoid making mistakes in all things. It’s a very stressful way to live. But in that moment, when the trainer laughed at her dog’s silliness, I had my AH-HA!
Maybe I’m going to learn more from agility than Cooper is…