A friend called the other night to tell me she'd gotten her third UD leg. "I'm going to start entering Open and Utility now, and I'd like to try for UDX legs." She told me.

"Hold on," I told her, "Your dog deserves to get an Obedience Trial Championship, why are you making your next goal a UDX?"

"Well, I'd like to get an OTCH, but I've never done it before, and I'm not sure we can, so I thought I'd get my UDX and then see how we are doing."

This is a very common attitude. There is some fear associated with making an Obedience Trial Championship the training goal. After all, it's generally a tough road and certainly takes a commitment to train, travel, and persevere. Many people don't want to admit that they would like an OTCH as it sounds rather elitist. After all, if they never claim it as a goal, then if they fail to reach it, no one will know!

Furthermore, there is a common perception is that a UDX is more attainable. Since it goes at the end of...

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What Does It Mean to be a Good Sport?

inspirational Feb 19, 2020

I have never known life without competition. My father was a tennis player and coached an NCAA Division I school for 32 years. My mother was an 11 time All-American in field hockey and lacrosse. Athletics ruled our household and for my parents, the line between parenting their children and coaching their children in a sport was blurry.

Competition could inspire any activity in our home. “Last one there is a rotten egg,” my mother would proclaim to get her dawdling children moving faster in the right direction.

 “Toast up, I said it first” we’d yell, and grab for the toast that you didn’t really want, but then ate because you’d won the slice.

A simple plaque in the kitchen said all my parents believed about competition, 

“To win the game is great,
          to play the game is greater, 
                    to love the game is greatest.” 

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Words are Like Spells

inspirational Jan 30, 2020

Words Are Like Spells

I was fortunate growing up to have parents that were willing to expose me to all kinds of activities ranging from sports to music and drama. While in elementary school I spent time in community theater acting in several productions. However, my heart was broken in junior high when my school’s drama teacher told me I could not sing. My budding acting career was to be cut short, or end, because successful actresses were also singers.

Fortunately, I was starting to develop a strong game of tennis, and my father, a tennis coach himself, was willing to stand at the net for hours and hit balls to me. After every shot he would comment. “Good try,” “That’s the way,” “Great shot,” “Here comes another.” “Outstanding” and “Amazing” were two of his favorites. One day stands out in my memory as I was trying to learn a backhand drop shot, and I was showered with “Almost,”...

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Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy

inspirational Jan 13, 2020

As a fifth grader, I was so excited to be selected to play Mammy Yokum in the school wide production of the musical, Li’l Abner. That is, until the popular, blond headed child, cast as Daisy Mae, told me, “You got that part because you’re not very pretty, and you can’t sing.”

When I tearfully relayed the conversation to my mother, she said, “She’s a joy stealer. Don’t ever let anyone steal your joy.”

What is Joy Stealing?

At the Dog Trainers Workshop, in addition to helping owners train their pets, we compete in the sport of obedience and teach many of our students to do so as well. Competitors are often oblivious to how the comments they make steal the joy of other competitors.

“You won that class? I can’t believe it!”

“You know if my dog had not laid down on the sit stay, I would have won the class!”

“Boy, aren’t you glad Mrs. Winallthetime was not here today or you might not have...

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