Dispel the Dementors

02 Mar 2016Steve Schwarz

Today’s Dog Agility Blog Action Day on the subject of “FUN” got me thinking about what makes training and trialing agility fun for me. For me the most critical thing is the attitude of the people I’m with.

The comments of people on a share of a course I posted recently on FaceBook should give you an idea of what I look for in people to train/trial with. There were a bunch of people who commented on their friend’s shares of the course like this:

Fake Facebook negative comments

The people I love to hang out with were more likely to comment like this:

Fake Facebook positive comments
Which group of people would you rather train with? Which group are you in?

I’m fortunate to train with people who want to try all the handling methods and run the hard courses; to see what we can learn. To fail! To dust ourselves off and try again! To challenge ourselves and one another! And cheer when it all comes together!

Hyperbole and a Half image with caption: Let's try all the things!

When I teach I try to be the trainer who encourages that spirit in everyone I work with.

If you’ve never been in a group like that you don’t know what you are missing. The group encourages you to do your best and to find the best in everyone in the group. It can be a blast, even when the course is kicking your… well you know what!

What’s worse is when you have one or more Dementors in your group. When faced with people who drain “peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them” your fun training or trialing environment is transformed into a drab and sad place.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a magical (Patronus) charm to defeat these fun sucking creatures. My best advice is to ignore and distance yourself from them. Find the people in your class or at your club/trials whose goals are like yours and get together to train or hang out together at your next trial.

If you can’t avoid them, another positive spell to fight them is to cheer on the people you like! It’s hard for the Dementors to maintain their dour, negative vibe when everyone around them is having a good time!

If they try to hook you into a negative discussion about the course, last week’s judge, the facility, the equipment, the “unfairness” of the organization’s rules, or whatever the bitch-session-of-the-day is don’t feed into their negativity. Put something positive out into the environment instead. If you have to, run away! It’s a good opportunity to warm up yourself and your dog for your next run or just go for a walk. Don’t waste your energy on them; some people can’t or won’t be happy.

Seek to dispel the Dementors and keep agility FUN; cheer for the people you want to be with and want to be like!

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