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Remembering to Breathe: Inside Dog Obedience Competition Paperback – December 31, 2014
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Relatively new to competetive obedience, I started reading this book after my dog had earned her Novice title and I really didn't see how we would ever learn the exercises necessary for Open. I could easily identify with Willard and Honeybear's experiences, the joys and disappointments, the triumphs and frustrations. Especially entertaining is reading about Willard and Honeybear's experiences with some of the same judges and exhibitors that I have encountered at dog shows in the past two years, a full decade after Honeybear's retirement.
About half way through this book, I put is aside (I tend to read multiple books at a time). In the intervening months my dog sailed through Open, and now we are working on Utility. I picked up this book again today and finished it with tears. While the parts about competing at dog shows aren't going to be very interesting for anyone who isn't involved in Obedience, the relationship between Willard and Honeybear will resonate with any dog lover.
One of the reasons I never got into the ring when I first started obedience in 1987 was I just couldn't stomach the leash pops. Yes, I have good timing and the though of the ear pinch. Because I really didn't know how to train any other way and being rather young, I just had a lot of fear going into the ring. The past 15 years I have researched and studied a lot of motivational techniques to build drive. I experimented and found a very nice way of using motivation, positive reinforcements and setting consequences. But I still struggled with ring nerves. Reading Willard's book was very helpful to get over those fears. His ups and downs. The book encouraged me to set a trial date and went for it. In both Beginner Novice and Rally Novice, I qualified three in a row and got my title. In Beginner Novice I got a 196. I realize this is like kindergarten, but it was what I needed to get over my fears and being able to see that I can go further. I'm a realist and know that as I move up, I will meet new challenges and might not qualify each tome. Willard's book shows this so well. That this is a journey. Thank you Willard for helping me get over the first levle of fear to get in the ring. Took me 20 years, but I finally did it. Thank you for your story. THis is what we needed in a book that wasn't a "how to" but more a story to address the emotional side of competing in obedience.
They started training during such an interesting time in dog training. It was interesting to read about attitudes toward treat training.