Since one of my first memories in life is being curled up on the 'chesterfield' with my Dad watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon - and in the years since I've spent A LOT of time alone (ish) with the night sky - I'm kind of a Space Nerd.
So I was excited this morning to see a trailer for the new movie 'First Man'.
There was also a quote in the trailer that I LOVED and that reminded me of some stuff that happened when I was at Jamie Gardner's fabulous Sheep Camp weekend a week back.
The quote, credited to Neil Armstrong was -
‘We need to fail down here so we don’t fail up there.’
At Sheep Camp it puzzled me to hear people complaining that their dogs were acting badly in training sessions. What more perfect place is there for a dog to mess up and show its issues than at a training camp surrounded by supportive Clinicians with years of experience? It would be a total waste of time for participants and Clinicians alike if you were to go to such a camp and have your dog behave perfectly. Wouldn't it? I am frustrated in a training situation when everything goes RIGHT! Failing is part of learning, isn't it?
Transitioning my thoughts and beliefs from the sled dog world to the sheep dog world is taking some time, but gradually I am getting my feet under me and learning to see and apply the things I held true as a musher to my border collies.
Thanks to the influence of Jamie Nelson, I've LONG been a proponent with my sled dogs that training is training and if no training opportunities present on a training run, you really didn't accomplish much.
So, if your dog runs perfectly at a Clinic, did you really get your money's worth?
I've even been known to set up training opportunities for sled dogs.
Probably my best example of that is the year that my team - which is well trained to eat like wolves and does so at every opportunity - figured out that abandoned camping spots along the Iditarod Trail were great sources of leftovers (not all sled dogs excel at their 'eating like starving wolves training' like mine did). They spent the entire race running from camping spot to camping spot where they would dive into straw piles and rummage around despite my loud, colourful and ignored objections.
I was not a happy musher.
So, once home I emptied the truck dog boxes of straw, hauled it onto the trail and made it look like a cross between an Iditarod camping spot and a Golden Corral buffet. It took a LOT of time to get by that spot (and another like it I also set up) the first time but I was TRAINING and getting by it was my only goal for the day. But the next day was better and the next day better than that. By my next Iditarod they could pass camping spots well.
In the sheep dog world I am still a LONG way from having to set up training opportunities - they present on a regular basis - but when they don't, I hope that I still see the value, am able to embrace them or even create them!