Posts tagged ‘jess martin’

Harnessing the Power of Music

I recently heard some comments about the number of people that walk courses wearing headphones and listening to music.
I admit to routinely being one of these people, although it is definitely NOT because I want to be left alone or not have people ask me questions.

Instead, I use music to help me adjust my mood and mindset to the dog that I am running. For me, my music is carefully selected because of the feelings that it produces.

Do I need to feel hyped up to run as fast as I can?
Do I need to feel powerful?
Do I need to calm myself and focus?

Getting yourself into the correct headspace is absolutely essential to performing at your best. I don’t just mean at competitions either. I often take the time to get myself in the “right mood” for training. Mostly because if I’m not, Dice will usually decide she’d rather sleep on the couch than go outside to play agility. I have to be pretty hyped up to convince her that it’s worthwhile to come out and play.

In fact, two weeks before we left to compete at the 2010 FCI World Championships, due to some bad attitude on my part Dice decided that agility was evil and she didn’t want to do it anymore. I’d head outside and she would bark and jump at me until she realized we were going to the agility field…then she’d run back to the house! I was in tears wondering what I possibly could have done to upset my sweet little girl so much. The more she would refuse, the more stressed I became. Then I was getting home from work one day, and a song came on that is played at the world championships every year. I started to get the same excited, pumped up feeling that I get when I compete at that level. So I held onto that feeling and pictured the crowds of people cheering, the electric energy in the building, and before I could get out of that headspace I grabbed Dice and headed out to the agility field. Guess what? She was fast, driven and didn’t show any signs of the stress I had been struggling with! As some of you know, that was the year that she won the gold medal at the FCI World Championships.
So what did that experience teach me? Music is a very powerful mood changing tool. And mood is very importance to performance.

To demonstrate what I mean, take a look at this video of Heist and Hijack running in the woods this morning.

How does the different music make you feel? Does it change the feeling of what you’re seeing?

So next time you’re gearing up for a big competition or find that you’re not really in the mood to train, try busting out the tunes!

Happy Training!

Jess Martin

August 13, 2013 at 4:28 am Leave a comment

How’d I get Here?

It honestly blows me away just how much support I’ve gotten from the people in my life, and how my agility journey has unfolded.

As some of you know, I got my first dog Mikki when I was 13 years old after begging my parents for years to get a dog. They told me that if I wrote them a proposal on the breed, what I would do to take care of it, and prove that I could be responsible for at least a year, they would THINK about letting me get a dog. I’m sure the initial ploy was that I’d lose interest. Instead, I rode my bike down to the local pet store for weeks to systematically read all of their breed books one at a time and write up costs for everything my puppy might need.

In the end I got my puppy…which has since turned into 5 dogs sharing my household.

Taking Mikki to local obedience classes led to my introduction to the sport of agility.

Needless to say I was hooked!

I remember my parents driving me to club training nights and waiting patiently (okay sometimes not so patiently) in the car as I always stayed later than I was supposed to.

I remember when my instructor at the time, Adrian Rooyakkers, suggested I help instruct one of his classes. I was so nervous I think I barely said anything to the students the whole night!

Over time I’ve grown as an instructor, competitor, and dog trainer. Many of you have seen this progression as you’ve been in the sport along with me. Some have even become students or taken some of my seminars along the way.

To all of those students, friends, and family that have supported me over the years and continue to do so, I want to take this oppourtunity to say thank you. I know that without your support I would not be the handler, instructor, or trainer that I am today.

I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your own agility journey, and those who have influenced you positively throughout your own agility journey.

Why not take a few minutes to send them a quick email or Facebook message letting them know that you appreciate their support and help along the way?

Take this chance to show your appreciation on by liking this page on Facebook.

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” – Margaret Cousins

Happy Training!

Jess Martin of Agile Dog Training

August 12, 2013 at 3:56 am 4 comments


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