Rainproof Your Parade

Updated: Sep 2

I went back and forth about whether to cover this topic in a blog post or a podcast episode...I decided this format would be less conducive to rage-induced cursing, so a blog post it is. 

"...Well, it's good to see you too, I think..." I will try my best to collect myself so my thoughts are somewhat coherent, as this is an important topic: the need to rainproof your parade.

"Sigh. I don't think I've missed her rants, I mean, blogs."

Let's all face one essential fact: we're all doing things with our dogs for different reasons. We have different goals. Different priorities. No two dog and handler teams are the same. Can we at least agree on that?


Great! Then it should be easy to understand that if one dog and handler team are elated to have achieved X,Y and Z that does not negatively affect or take anything away from another dog and handler team, right?

"Yeah, that sounds right."

Perfect, we're on a roll.

Therefore, we should do everything in our power to ensure that:

1. we are celebrating our own successes, which WE define,  2. we do not knowingly take away from anyone else's successes, and 3. we ensure that we do not permit or allow anyone else to take away from our successes. "That all sounds reasonable."


"...So what's the problem?"

There are far too many times when none of these things are being done.

YOU Define Your Successes, No One Else 

I got out of bed today, played some Scent Work with my dog AND took a shower. That is freakin' amazing taking into account the fact my brain was demanding I rot in bed and wallow in misery all day instead.

"Dark much?!"

Hey, it's the truth. There are days where it is marvel I function at all. Then there are others where I get so much done one would think I was Superwoman or something (which I am not). The point being, my definition of "success" fluctuates day-to-day. Was I physically able to lift my head up? Could I actually stand? How about walk? If my physical body wasn't plotting against me, how about that brain of mine? Was I able to muster the mental strength and fortitude to tackle the day? 

To an outsider, many of these things would be laughable as a goal, but for me they are painfully real.

"O-kay....but what does that have to do with Scent Work?"

Let's say you have been working with your environmentally sensitive dog for a few months. On this day, you take them to a new location, allow them to get acclimated first. You then run them in a search which has 4 total hides. They find 3 out of the 4 hides, being engaged and focused on the search, before getting overwhelmed and sucked into the environment. Would that be considered a success?

"Well, they only found 3 hides..."

True, but they were working and engaged, staying under threshold and were happy during their search for those 3 hides. It was while working the fourth hide that things got too difficult for them.

"Yeah, but there was still that fourth hide."

You're missing the point. If your goal was to have your environmentally sensitive dog work in a new environment, stay focused on the task at-hand and not shutdown, goal achieved. The number of hides don't matter. The fact they were able to find three hides and were overwhelmed by hide #4, is simply information for you that more work is to be done. BUT, your dog did an amazing job finding three hides in a new place!

"I guess..."

I'm not asking you to dumb things down or make everything easier. I'm asking you to create goals that are realistic and one's that you can garner success from. But YOU are ultimately the arbitrator of what would qualify as a success.

"Yeah, that makes sense, I think."


So the next time you set-up a training exercise, or go to a trial, have a clear idea of what would truly count as a success and remember that YOUR definition of success is the only one that matters, no one else's.

Don't Steal Away Other People's Joy