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From The CC Vault: Do Your Job

By Kat Smith

Originally published: October 2019

Like it or not, football season is upon us. Here in New England (humbly known as “Titletown”) it’s a very serious endeavor, and it’s common to see handlers sporting Patriot’s jerseys under their suit jackets on Super Bowl Sunday. At least during the years the Patriots are in it. Which is most of them. (Sorry, not sorry).
Though the team is not without scandal, there is at least one Belicheck-ism that I’ve taken to heart: Do Your Job.
This isn’t just the general idea that the wide receiver should receive. It’s that every player has an exacting job to do, and they know, very clearly, what it is. They can explain it to you in specific and actionable terms. They’ve trained for it, conditioned for it. Their job is drilled it into pure muscle memory and they don’t have to think about it. They could do it in their sleep. When it’s game day, you just go out there and do your job.
It’s the roots-up idea that hard work and clear goals lead to success.
So when you go to a dog show, what’s your job? If you say, “to win” but you haven’t done the work and developed the plan to get there, then you don’t have the clarity and vision to succeed.
Your job is to perfectly condition your dog. Are you washing pee feathers often enough? Are you gentle enough with the pin brush? Are you optimizing their food to produce the coat you want? Are you roadworking often enough to tighten up that front?
Your job is to perfectly train your dog. Are you asking them for a perfect stack at dinner? Playing a wait-wait-wait-ok! game that keeps them on their toes? Proofing them against heavy hands and dropped crates? Going down and back until you’re moving in perfect harmony?
Your job is to perfectly present your dog. Are you videotaping them moving to find the right speed? Trying different leads? Setting them up in front of a mirror and trying holding the head this way or that? Setting the rear a little further in or out?
Your job is to craft the perfect schedule for your dog. Are you researching judges? Are you planning a warm-up weekend under someone uninspiring so your dog is primed for the great judge the weekend after? Are you willing to travel a little bit farther for just the right judge? Are you willing to stay home when your dog needs a break?
Does your dog know what their job is? It seems like many people who say their dogs think conformation is boring do nothing to engage with their dog in the ring, preferring to strongarm them still and string them up along. When a long stack isn’t just standing there, but a canine version of “the quiet game” to see how long their willpower will last, when the freebait is a fun exercise in foot placement, when moving a pace-matching game – and when the payoff is worth it – you’ll find your dog loves their job, too. They have to know what’s expected of them. Do you tell them what that is?
Your job is to have a goal. For your puppy to have a positive experience. To finish from bred-by. To recover from a bad experience. To win a Best in Show. The larger the goal, the more work involved. Are you willing to do it?
Some people say it’s luck. And something that football shows is that, oddly enough, the harder you work, the luckier your are.
So go. Do your job.

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=252835

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