Pressure: its a funny thing isn’t it? Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, and sometimes we struggle with the pressure we feel others are putting on us. I think everyone could always use a little work in learning how to balance and deal with that.

It seems that so many people are getting puppies lately. And with puppies comes inherent pressure. Whether it be because of who the dog’s parents are, who your trainer is, or what your goals are, there is always that presence.

I felt so much pressure in myself, and in Wave to be phenomenal. I viewed, and still do view, my last puppy endeavors as failures (I know, I’m working on changing that). Because of that I wanted Wave to be perfect, and my gosh, she truly is. I felt pressure with her in a different way than I have ever felt it before, and because of that I handled it much better. I guess I’m learning and growing and all that stuff.

Wave and I focused on building a relationship. We trained, but we trained in a different way than I’m used to. The first month was very strict, too strict now that I look back on it. But these past two months have been absolutely magical. I hate to use that word, but its the only way I can describe it. The two of us have such a wonderful bond, and we are so connected that sometimes its scary. My mom has always said “It wouldn’t matter if she broke her leg and could never do agility, we would still love her the same” and I never understood that. If Zippy could never run again, it wouldn’t make me love him less but it would so change our relationship. With Wave I totally understand that. I would be okay if she never did agility because just spending time with her makes me the happiest person in the world (even when she is screaming at the top of her lungs while we play agility). I rush home everyday to see her, I was at a bonfire this weekend and it got to be about 10 and I decided to go home because I was tired, and I had a puppy to snuggle. Goofy? Yes. But so wonderful.

As a result of the relationship Wave and I have, training has just been so much fun. Everyday I look forward to playing with my puppy, and thats exactly what it has been for us, just play. Everything we do is joyous, and so very exciting. I’m learning that is what training your dog is supposed to be. Everyone has always said that training the dogs is the most fun part, but I’ve always been partial to running. I couldn’t understand how people thought the tedious training could be as much fun as standing on a box. But it so is. Training this dog has brought me so much happiness, and I am so proud of the two of us. Everyday we make such good progress, and everything is always fun. With Wave, there hasn’t been any pressure lately. Maybe its because I stopped focusing on goals, maybe its because of how much we love one another, I don’t know. But all I do know is that this dog is so very special, and truly magic.

I’ve learned that building a great relationship with your dog is the best thing you can do for your agility career. The jumps and obstacles are only such a tiny fraction, and you never know what might happen between now and then. But, you can always count on walking out of the ring with your best friend by your side, and nothing is better than that.