Some of you may know that when Aiden trialed for his IPO2 the first time, he was stepped on and terminated from the protection phase when he came off the sleeve and did a little dance around the decoy, but wouldn't engage. We tried again about a month or so later and were dismissed when Aiden anticipated being hurt again in the drive, and came off the sleeve after the long bite. I felt really down for a few months after that trial, not really knowing where to move forward with him. I had plans to maybe enter for an OB2 and TR2 with him, but his protection seemed to take a turn for the better with new decoys working with us at club and a few months of confidence building exercises.
Today, Aiden and I trialed for our IPO2 for the third
time, in freezing cold pouring rain (oh, the joys of upstate NY in spring). We had our bumps throughout the trial, but he did everything pretty much just as I expected and we finally passed.
Aiden is not and will never be the flashiest, most correct, strongest or most powerful dog in IPO. But today, he showed me that he has heart. He worked his behind off out there today and even when I could tell that he felt pressure in those drives again, he held on tight. I feel entirely blessed to be able to enter as a young newbie to this sport with this dog. I don't think that I would have learned even half of what this dog has taught me had I gotten a dog who was just 'easy' to train. Working with him has opened up so many opportunities for me, and I have been introduced to so many incredible people because of him. Over the course of the last few months, there were honestly a few times that I lost faith in him and in us as a team. Without them and the support of my club, I don't think I would've tried to enter him again.
Today made me realize how much I truly appreciate having these people and my dog, who didn't give up on me when I felt like giving up all together.
I just wanted to share this with hopes of encouraging other new people into the sport, regardless of what kind of dog or how much experience you have to start out with, or what anyone else has to say or thinks about you and your dog. You don't have to have the greatest IPO dog or or be the best trainer ever to participate. Had I washed Aiden out of the sport when many 'sideline critics' had told me to, then I wouldn't be where I am today. Having gone out there and tried for the same title three times has strengthened the bond that I have developed with this dog tenfold and taught me more than I could ever imagine.
Just don't ever lose hope or give up on your dogs. They will never give up on you.
So on that note, I present to you-----
Aiden vom HausDaka - CGC, TT, IPO2!!!!
, on Flickr