The Competition

When ever there is a game, there will be competition. It might just be what is called "friendly competition", friends getting together to show off their or their animals skills, or organized competition with prizes....competition. And for some of us, many of us, perhaps all of us to some degree, competition is what keeps us driven. Now before you say you are not competitive, tell me? How hard did you work to get the job you have now? Why do you try to dress, act, speak nicely? That's right, you are competitive. No one likes to loose.

So whether you watch other dogs run barrels or train your dog to become a competitor, competition will drive you to become your best.

If you have been in competition with an animal before I do not need to tell you that there will always be someone with a better animal and with one not up to the standard of your animal. You might even become, for a while, the "bench mark" of standard. You might find that in your own area you are the best for a while. One thing is for sure:

DOGS DO NOT HAVE AN EGO AND ARE NOT OUT TO IMPRESS ANYONE

Dogs do not care if they win or loose. They don't care if they look a mess or smell bad to people. So it is up to you to train them, motivate them, to do their best. It is also up to you to make sure that they look and smell good, at least when out in public. The same goes for you...how would you feel if your dog did great and the Newspapers were there to take photos of the two of you, and there you were in your barn clothes and old favorite shoes?


SHOW UP WITH A TRAINED DOG

Game day is NOT a training day to show up and learn how to play. If you are not ready to compete, call ahead and ask if there will be Novice or Leash Classes your dog might compete in. If you are new to the sport count on learning a lot, but don't ask the competitors a bunch of questions until after the event is over. Competitors should be focused on their dogs and the sport, not distracted by questions. Most people will love to tell you all about the sport, how to train your dog, where they train, and many will even invite you to bring your dog to train with them. However, annoy them while they are trying to focus on competition and they will not be too happy with you.


KNOW THE RULES

Usually before the competition begins the event judge will go over the rules with the competitors. If you have a question or are unclear on something, this is the time to ASK.

Many times rules are handed out in a pamphlet or sheet of paper, read them. know the rules well before you start to participate.

It is only a fair game when all competitors play by the same rules.


APPEARANCE

I have said it before and I will say it again...it does matter what you wear to animal events. Do you have to dress up? No. But remember, when you go to an animal event you represent us all. Also, do not forget that photos are taken, sometimes for Newspapers, Internet and or Club Newsletters. It also goes for your animals...make sure they look nice. Do they need a bath before they go out into the public eye? Give them one. Otherwise a quick brush up and nails trimmed. How does their collar look? Do they need a new one? Maybe your dog needs one just to wear out, wearing it's everyday collar at home? What are you using for a leash? You might want a nice new looking one that stays in your vehicle and is used just for the days you take your dog to events.


BE KIND

This is easier for some then others. Be kind to other people, other competitors, event committee, judges, concession stand workers, other dogs, spectators and yes, even your own family, and especially your dog.

Some normally kind caring people fall apart and get uptight at competitions. They get crabby and bossy and demanding. They are hard on themselves and their animals. They do not even know they are doing it. They do not realize that they are being demanding or crabby.

If your dog did not have it's best run, smile. If the judge thought your dog moved a barrel but you did not see it, let it go. If you are hungry and don't like hotdogs and that is all they serve at this event, bring food with your next time.


GAME DAY PSYCH

Game day psych out! This is when a competitor will try to psych out others, to say things to take other people competing focus off the game, to make them think there might be something wrong with their animal, themselves, the course, the judge...anything to mess with the heads of the competition and "get them off their game" for a winning edge. I have seen friends do this to friends, I have had friends try to do this to me. FOCUS ON YOUR ANIMAL, THE GAME, THE RULES AND HAVE FUN! Besides, if someone does this to you, it means they think you are going to beat them.


JUDGES WORD IS FINAL

You know how when there is a traffic accident five people there might have seen five different things that happened. Those are called "perspectives". If two people have a traffic accident, believe me, they will see what happened differently.

It is the same thing with competition. What you see is your perfect dog running a perfect course. The dog you love and trained running a perfect run. No problems at all and looking so beautiful out there running barrels, everyone should have a dog like you. However, it might not be just what others see. Others have a different view...from the angle they are standing they might see something that was hidden behind a barrel from you...or they were watching your dogs feet as you were watching it's head...they are not attached to your dog emotionally, don't have the love involved, they see your dog as a dog. Perspective.

Judges have hard jobs. If you have ever judged an animal event you know that the animals take it well, the owners however...well, they might be a bit hard to deal with. Some so much that they call judges names and or think they know more about the said event then the judge does, or even cuss out the judge. These people are known as "poor losers".

ALWAYS REMEMBER: THE JUDGES DECISIONS ARE FINAL. DON'T FIGHT IT.

Thank the judge for judging whether you agree with his picks and or decisions or not, or next time, you might not have a judge and therefore no competition.


GET TO KNOW OTHER COMPETITORS

Introduce yourself and your dog(s) to the other competitors. Have fun, make friends. Invite folks to meet you at a fast food after the event. Tell them it is Dutch Treat (everyone pays for their own food). It won't be hard to make conversation, talk about dogs, events, ect.


TRAIN BEFORE THE NEXT COMPETITION

After an event, win or not, train your dog on a regular basis. If you lost at the event, do not push the dog too hard, but train and make it fun. Cross train.

Don't not work your dog for a month, then knowing of upcoming competition work the dog so much it grows to hate the game. Train often, train consistently, cross train, spend time with your dog, and have fun. THAT is how winning dogs are made.


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-- The Barrel Racing Dogs Team
Mon, 04 Oct 2010 16:55:38 -0400

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