An Attitude of Gratitude

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

There is tons of documentation all over the internet about how adopting an outlook of gratitude improves your life, your health and most importantly your happiness. Regardless of who you are, there are so many opportunities everyday to look at your glass half full but each of these opportunities also give you the chance to look at reverse should you choose. At at recent trial I attended it struck me how negative people can easily become. Here are a few comments I that I overheard all before 8 AM on the first day!

One person asked the judge “can I walk the course with my daughter, she is new to the sport and needs my help.” To which our soft-spoken judge replied, “no, I am sorry the CKC will not allow that.”  To which the woman said “so what can I do, she is a new handler.”  I was nearby and said, “you know I am in the novice classes all weekend (with Feature) and I wouldn’t mind walking with your daughter.” I was given only a polite glance as the woman continued at the judge questioning how unfair the system was rather than taking Susan Garrett up on her offer to coach her young daughter at her first trial. Next, during the judges briefing someone asked if there would be a second judge to step in for those who get 2 qualifying scores in the same class (since you need 3 legs under 2 different judges to move up to the next class). Sure two judges would have been nice but there was only 175 runs per day, hardly warranting a second judge at the one ring trial. Again the judge said, “no, I am your only judge for the weekend.”  The woman snapped, “well if I had known that I never would have entered.” Even though it was clearly printed on the entry form that there would only be one judge for your 8 runs that weekend she continued on “what a waste of a long drive up here, not to mention the money”. Ouch!  Can you imagine the welcome for that judge that flew over 2000 miles to be there must have felt, and it still wasn’t even 8 AM yet! I offered up a solution to the woman that if  she where fortunate enough to get her 2 qualifying scores under the judge today she could drive home and have an unexpected Sunday off, how great would that be? She turned to me and said, “aah, I have another dog I am running in the Excellent class so I HAVE to stay!” Great I said, if you are fortunate to get those 2 Q’s you will have 2 more runs to try out new handling moves, or turn your run into a training session (testing independence on the table or weave poles or contacts). No response from her at that time, but I did over hear her call her dog an “idiot” and a “jerk” during her non qualifying runs over the weekend. Wow, I was just happy to get a chance to run my dogs and then head home after almost 3 weeks on the road.

No one is perfect, and I am far from it, we all have our bad days but luckily life and our friends forgive us. But really you create your own misery or happiness. I got home yesterday at 2 AM to discover I had no internet connection at home and no one could come out to look at the problem until Wednesday at the earliest.  I packed up my laptop this morning and headed off to Starbucks, feeling gratitude for their free internet service and their new location just minutes from our home. I arrived, said good morning to everyone and ordered my herbal tea. Just before she opened the tea bag I realized I didn’t have my wallet with me, oops!  Crap, I told her to forget it and she told me to forget it that this tea was on the house! How cool is that! I promised I would be back later to pay for the tea but was grateful for the generous start to my day.

I am not writing this to be preachy or condescending, I just know how upbeat my life is and I love it! I haven’t always been the person I am today but I am grateful for the path that life has taken me on. Recently someone forwarded me a blog from the UK where someone dedicated her entire blog entry that day trash talking about me and this blog (and yet as far as I know I have never met her). She claimed to be a clicker trainer, but I know better. A true clicker trainer looks for the good to reward, and ignores the things they don’t like. Looking for the best in people and in life makes your life better, it is all about energy. So stop watching CNN, and how many got gunned down at the local 7-11 store today. Spend your time listening to things like The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Milliman and you will look at yourself and others (and perhaps even this blog:)) differently and good things will come to you,  the law of attraction can not be denied!

Today, in addition to my Starbuck’s tea,  I am grateful that Encore and I have been named to the CKC World Team representing Canada at the FCI World Championships in Austria this fall.



  1. Congratulations to you and Encore!

  2. Susan, you are so right in looking for the positive in people and life. Indeed what a better world we would have if we all did this. Life is really what you make it – if you choose to be miserable than that is what you get. I am with you – I try to make the best of things and see the good in people and help out where I can. Keep smiling. Congrats on being named to the Canadian world team – Go Canada!!

  3. “A true clicker trainer looks for the good to reward, and ignores the things they don’t like.”

    I think that may be the best and most useful sentence about training and really about life that I have ever read!

  4. Amen sister! 🙂

  5. Big congratulations to you and Encore for once again being named to the CKC World Team!

    Very well deserved!

  6. Great post Susan! If only humans could be more like their canine partners!!
    Congrats on being selected once again to the CAT.

  7. Thank you for your enlightening post today! On that note…I have never had a chance to thank you for a kind little jesture you provided me with back in 2005, and now is a good time.
    Southern Regional-Sunnyvale, CA. GP, Rd 2. All the ‘knowns’ are running their final run, and me, the ‘unknown’ with her little rescue aussie runs the ‘run of our life’. You come up, hug me, and say, “Congratulations, I think you just won this!” First I was thrilled that ‘Susan Garrett’ hugged me, and then the reality sunk in. Thanks for helping make the ‘run of my life’ a super special one. You always seem to be rooting for others, and it’s a wonderful trait of yours. Thank you.

  8. you are an inspiration Susan. I look uo to you for how to be positive and upbeat. I am learning that road, not there yet completely, but I surely want to walk it since it sounds so much fun.

  9. Funny thing, but I find that being happy and upbeat is usually easier and less energy-intense than being crabby. As a lazy person, this is important to me!

  10. First, congratulations on being selected once again to the CKC World Team!

    On the subject of gratitude, Susan, I am so very grateful for you. For years I have been grateful for your willingness to share your knowledge through your workshops. Now with the internet you give so much of your time continuing to share not only wonderful dog lessons, but life lessons as well!! (Oh, and I, too, am thankful to hear that Starbucks has opened a location near you, which we will happily be visiting in May .)

  11. A big WooHoo for your enthusiasm and positive spirit. I was getting cranky with my dog this morning on our walk and I thought back to a couple of comments I had read on your blog, or book or something you wrote and immediately went from being cranky to be responsible for my own good time and the joy I experience with my furkids. It was all about gratitude. In the moment it all shifted and once again I am amazed at the power of our attitude and perceptions. thanks for the reminders…and oh yeah and being human!!!!

    I am grateful for Susan Garrett’s Blog.

  12. Firstly, congratulations to you and Encore, great news. And secondly just to say I’m from the UK and really enjoy your blog 🙂 As for course walking, be thankful for ipods! or in my case I can switch my hearing aids off ;-)ha ha

  13. You get what you give most of the time, and if you put negative things into the world they seem to come tenfold. I try to always remember this when my grouchy negative tendencies come to the fore – am I really prepared to get all this back? Or should I just let go, smile, and assume the other person has a good reason for having a bad day and they need a break?

    Congratulations to you and Encore.

  14. Wonderful entry Susan. Congratulation on you and Encore making the Canada team. And kudos to you for pointing out what so many people are missing today – we have a choice each every day we’re on this earth – make it the best day possible or be miserable and try to make everyone around us just as miserable. I like the make it the best day possible choice!!!

  15. …just imagine John Pinette making his mean, scrunchy face at those people, saying: “Get outta the line!”
    Rooting for you at the world championships: “Show me the buffet!”

    • Ok Trudie now you have just made my day, thanks for the laugh “get outta the line!”

  16. We have never met, but I am a huge fan of yours. I’ve read all your books and seen all your videos. I wish I could come to your camp with my 3 dogs (2 Aussies and 1 Border Collie), but it’s quite far away from my home in Hawaii. Since I’ve discovered your blog, I read it as often as I can. Not only for the tips I get on dog training, but for the inspiration and life lessons. I am grateful for your blog. Thank you.

  17. I love your positive attitude and way of looking at life! It’s very inspiring and I love reading all your blog entries! 🙂

  18. Congrats to Susan and Encore…

    i am grateful everyday to be able to read this Blog!!! and that i have the opportunity to spend wonderful time with my dogs…

  19. Funny but today I posted on my blog about how lucky I feel to be a part of a sport where everyone seems to be willing to help when you’re having an issue. I’m just grateful I get to be a part of this amazing sport with the really amazing people out there like you. I think it’s the secret to being successful. Good luck in Austria this fall… bet you guys will be awesome.

  20. I’m always amazed by how negative people are before or after there agility runs. The number of times I hear people complaining about the waste of money because they didn’t get a qualifying run. Or, like the lady on the weekend, who ran her dog around a tough course, went clear but when she found out she was 2 seconds over time, swore at herself and stormed off while her poor ignored dog bounced around at her heels desperately looking for some acknowledgment. I always wonder what motivates people to do Agility in the first place. Is it not fun? Once your dog has retired from the sport, what are you going to value the most. The silly ribbons or the fun times you spent together over all those years. For me, every run is fun, whether they were good or bad runs.

  21. Wonderful post and so true! I am grateful that you have a blog for all of us to read! Congrats to you and Encore!!

  22. I forgot to add my congratulations on yours and Encore’s selection to represent Canada at the World Champs! I’ll be cheering for you both!

  23. Congratulation to you and Encore!!!! I’m so happy for you.

    Thanks for today’s post.

  24. In so many of your blogs I find myself being reminded of my mom. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to learn from such wonderful people as both you and my mother. Thank you! And congratulations on making the world team!

    • What a wonderful thing to say Tori, thank you.

  25. Congratulations to you and Encore!!

    Love your blog!

  26. Congrats and WELCOME HOME!!!!!!!!!

  27. Congratulations to you and Encore on making the CAT again.

    Thanks also for the tip of the day in March – I really miss it and am looking forward to what you have in store later in the month.

    • Hey Jo, You would have to be patient for much longer as the surprise will be unveiled later today!

  28. Congratulations to you and Encore making the Canadian Agility Team! Very early selection, in Sweden the selection is finished in July. Way to late in my opinion..

  29. Congratulations on making the Canadian Team for the World Champs 🙂

  30. Free tea AND a spot on the CAT team. I’d definitely say it was a good day! Congratulations & of course, red dogs do rock! 🙂

  31. Hooray for the clerk in Starbucks. A real people person. And Hooray for you for making the Canadian World Team for the FCI Worlds. Please keep the tips coming. I missed the first half of March, and would love to have them.

  32. Thank you so much for this blog entry, Susan. I have no idea why, but it really brought tears to my eyes. We have so much to be thankful for when we are enjoying sports and competitions that I feel truly sad for people who choose to focus on negative issues when there is so much enjoyment to be had. I was really touched to hear your sincere enjoyment of life. I feel the same way, but sometime the boost of hearing others share that philosophy is very encouraging! Thanks!

  33. YAHOO!!! Congratulations on being named to the Canadian World TEAM!!! You and Encore are most deserving of such an honor.

    Great Blog. We sometimes forget how truely we can influence our sphere. I’ve already believed that “what goes round…comes round”!

  34. Congrats Susan!! It is always a pleasure to see you and Encore in action!
    I agree with you that the glass half full is so much better than half empty. Sometimes it is hard to see it this way though, so each of us needs to find our own ways to get to that happy place. For me it is my friends but especially my dog friend, who sits next to me and smiles at me all day long. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing with us!

  35. Thank you for this post. And congrats on making the world team! Go Canada!

  36. i’ve been thinking of wearing my ipod while walking courses, so i don’t have to listen to the negative comments. once when a woman was just FROZEN in place, saying that she couldn’t do that section of the course…i said ..don’t say you can’t..just look at it as a challenge. your dog can do it. but she went on and on to anyone that would listen, instead of saying to herself…ok..now what can i do to accomplish this? or try to. why be defeated before you begin? you know what i did say to someone recently? she was complaining about the difficulty of a level 5 course (CPE) and i nicely said to her..”you know that CPE allows you to stay in the lower levels if you want to?”.smile. walk on. you know the old saying…if you can’t play nice, get out of the pool? wish we could apply that to agility.

  37. Love all these comments, and that there are folks like Susan to get the message out there about gratitude and the Law of Attraction. I’m at the point that I just walk away from the negativity, and find something more productive to put my energy into. I love the comment about wearing the iPod while walking courses — I’ve tried that while grocery shopping lately, and it does put me in a different, more creative thinking, frame of mind… Good food resulted :~)

    Thanks to Susan and everyone for putting out the good energy — the agility community is composed of a phenomenal group of people, who have inspired and helped me along my path in so many ways. What a gift to be able to help these people and their dogs!

  38. Susan,
    first congratulations to you and Encore,
    and secondly thank you for your upbeat attitude, I often think of you and the help you gave me several years ago at Power Paws camp, when you were so positive with me and my dog. A few instructors had told me to quit. You gave me the tools and encouragement to continue and he and I are still competing and having more fun than ever.
    Thank you

  39. What an amazing post! It’s interesting how much of this clicker training I think about applying to myself… what’s good for the dog… etc etc. I saved this blog to read when I need to be reoriented myself. Thanks for taking the time.

  40. It was worth the wait for the podcast! What a surprise and a timely reminder for me! I have had a busy year so far and have not had anywhere near as much time to train my dogs as I usually do. I have noticed that in an effort to “get the sequence done” I have not been rewarding my dogs any where near as often as I should. A great reminder to reward the quality and not be so focused on the quantity of training.

    PS I had forgotten some of your sayings… hearing “embrace your holes” again made me laugh out loud!

  41. WOW Susan – I have been away and really miss reading your notes. This one was a good one and perfect for a show that is coming up – need to remember those works

    today I am grateful for my friends

  42. Susan, I love your blog. I have to say, I’ve been luck to have some great trainers teaching me how to be a better dog trainer and you are right: Anyone can click and treat a dog, but a true clicker trainer have a positive atitude towards life, and that’s the true secret.
    Keep up the good work 🙂

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