My dogs love me, they do agility because I ask them to, but they would be just as happy going for a walk or chasing Frisbees.
It has always been hard for me to keep a neutral perspective with dog training and agility. By nature I am a competitive person and want to do well; I always felt like my self worth was invested in agility and people would judge me based on the results my dogs and I put out. It seems obvious that this is not the case, but damn if it doesn’t feel like that sometimes. Maybe it’s more like I judge myself based on results, and that is a lot of pressure to put on oneself. I am just a person, with some dogs, going through the motions of life.
My superstar agility dog is injured and in rehab, my young dog is an exceptional malinois with a lot of potential wrapped up in an excited, independent, working dog mind; training a start line behavior with a dog like that is not for the faint of heart. I try to keep an open mind when I start a training session, I start with a plan but I am flexible to changing that plan if things are going south. My dog doesn’t know what the goal for that day is; or the goal for their future agility career.
It sure is hard for me to be impartial and neutral during a training session, I work on it every day. I know I am improving, my coach tells me so, and I can see it myself and in the trust of my dogs. I also know I will have to continue to work on it every day of the rest of my life.