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Taking the First Step

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -Lao Tsu


That first step is always the hardest.Why is that? In theory it's easy. Just a single step.

 But when the time comes to take that single step it suddenly feels like a leap over a bottomless pit. Days and weeks, months and years have been poured into this moment, this first single step. This single step could kick off the dreams you've been reaching for! So why the sudden stutter step? Why the sudden lack of drive? Where has your motivation gone? Have you let Doubt creep in and drain it all away?

Doubt is an ugly beast. It sneaks up into your dreams and whispers only the worst possible outcomes. It lulls you sweetly into believe that your dreams have been shot down before you even took aim.

I'm ready to admit it. I've been struggling with the first step. I've been given an awesome opportunity by my mentor, a trainer whose methods I highly admire, to start up an agility foundation class through her facility.  Seriously, how perfect is that?! My dream job, teaching people how to capture that amazing bond you get with your canine companion through agility. All I have to do is put together a syllabus! Simple right?! The first small step!

I have no trouble at all coming up with lists and lists of tricks and skills and games to put in a class. Then comes the breaking it down into weeks part...the stutter step. My aim, so sharp and focused, suddenly starts to waiver.

The "what ifs" come in waves. Washing over me, egging on Doubt's whispers. What if it's all wrong? What if they find it boring? What if the pacing is too slow? Too Fast? Is the class moving in the right direction? Are your goals realistic for the "average joe"?

I just have this picture in my mind for how I want people to be able to train. This mindset that I want to imprint on my students so they have that priceless ability to see beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic things even in the "ugliest" of NQs. I have this ideal of confident speedy dogs that when you see them run, you know, without the slightest sliver of a doubt, that they are having the times of their lives. I want to lead them down that path, but I don't know where to start.

I've never taught before in my life, it sounds so simple, but there are so many parts to the puzzle! So many details that the class Instructor stitches together effortlessly. I lack that elegance right now. After a day's work of staring at the paper, I've pieced together my first draft of a class syllabus, who knows many things I'll need to tweak before it's all said and done.

I'll be taking Dogs of Course's Instructor Training Course next week. Hoping that will help give me that extra boost of self confidence I need. I've e-mailed my syllabus to my mentor. I'm taking a step back from all my doubt. I'm taking aim, keeping my arms steady, and if I follow through I know my arrow will reach its mark.

"We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once." -Calvin Coolidge

So here goes nothing. I'm done bumbling around, trying to do everything at one. I'm setting goals and taking the first step. Get ready for a wild ride.


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Renegade: Starting foundation for his reverse lure.

Harley Quinn: Getting comfortable in Heel Position (using paw target). Working to increase comfort with us both facing forward, starting the idea of pocket hand.

Scout: Working on IYC with food bowl vs "hot" sock. Starting to get it!

Hawke: Working on his retrieve with duct tape covered PVC
-presentation of item = GOOD STUFF
-nose touch
-open mouth
-TWO holds!!

Poison Ivy: Continued platform work
-hopping up on it with all four feet
-Sit (trying to eliminate some of the rock back)
-Down
-Stand