It took a long time before I felt confident that NEA and I would have a nice, consistent run on an agility course. During the first 1 ½ years of competition with her, she completed 1, maybe 2 courses.  Most of her time was spent running out of the ring in search of something other than the nervous, screaming maniac I had become. In fact, someone once said to me, “I now know what the letters NEA stand for…Not Enjoying Agility.” That hurt.

I decided that I needed to investigate how I could change my attitude so I would have a Beagle on the line that would not only enjoy the sport, but would want to stay in the ring with me to do it. Thus began a soul-searching period that not only helped me to relax, but gave my Beagle confidence in me, which in turn gave me confidence in her.

What I did was realize that agility is fun. It is what I do as a hobby, because not only do I get to spend time with my dogs, but I get to run courses and decipher challenges…make decisions that are not life or death…realize that my dog will love me no matter how well or poorly we perform. I am a competitive person by nature so it was difficult for me to tone down my expectations, but once I realized that I was placing unrealistic expectations on me and my Beagle, it helped me to put things …