Playing Games – But With A Serious Goal

From the January 2019 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe. 

Many people think there is little value in playing games. I’m not really into games but I play one of those simple games where you have a list of things to find. I started playing it years ago because I was bored—and it has never been good for me to be bored!

I quickly realized that it actually challenged my perceptions! In a “room” full of objects I might be asked to find an umbrella—my mind would immediately bring up an image and it was seldom what was presented on the page….open vs. closed, orientation/location, colour, etc. It made me realize how my preconceived ideas could make it more difficult to see what was in front of me.

The second thing I noticed was how my mind could get stuck on a word or object. When the list had bow in it, was I looking for a bow or a bow? A compass used in navigation or a compass used in math? A bat or a bat? It helped me to expand my ideas and think a little outside the box (not that thinking inside the box has ever been a strong point for me, lol).

I don’t care about my standings or other player’s scores, I have a score I want to reach on each board and if I can’t then I try to figure out what’s going on in the back of my mind that’s distracting me. The whole process helps me to understand myself better and helps me to develop mindfulness.

So, challenge yourself, push your boundaries and have fun—play a game.

A recent discussion on size had me thinking about this post and I thought I would share it again. A 15.5 inch Poodle, a 24 inch Poodle, and a 30 inch Poodle are in your ring—they are all Standards and must be judged on the floor—how are you going to handle that? Will you be able to overlook the differences in their size and judge them against the breed standard? I recently heard of a 19 inch Standard Poodle being excused from the ring because of its small size—that should never happen!

Personally, I’d like to see the Medium Poodle size added, like many other countries in the world. There is too big a gap between Minis and Standards, and the Medium Poodle fills it beautifully.

We have one breed standard for the three varieties of Poodles…a good Poodle should be a good Poodle. Let’s say you have a beautiful Poodle in your ring that is every inch a Miniature Poodle but because it’s slightly over 15 inch tall our rules say it must be shown as a Standard Poodle. Would you put up a 15.5 inch dog as a Standard Poodle? You would have to examine it on the ground like all of the other Standards.

What are your thoughts?

I was talking to my daughter about a post I saw on a judge’s list—they were discussing the correct front movement for an Italian Greyhound and mentioned that the I.G. club in England had settled on the following description:    “a lady extending her hand to be kissed.”  I love that! Visually, for me, that’s perfect! My daughter thought for a minute then said she was starting to think of a Poodle’s movement as a ballerina running. I think that is a beautiful description! Elegant, athletic, strong yet light on their feet…

Does it work for you?

Can you come up with a similar type of comparative description for your breed?

And lastly, ADVICE TO NEWBIES. When I was a kid and wanted to learn how to show groom my Irish Setter, especially blending his neck, I talked to breeders at shows and was told everything, from the hair just grows that way to it’s shaved off. Well, I knew it didn’t naturally grow like that on my dog so I shaved him—I don’t recommend it, it was a terrible look and took more than a season to grow back in. I was seldom given good advice but I persevered. When I wanted to learn how to put up a Poodle topknot, I waited until the expert I had chosen to ask wasn’t busy and should have had time to explain but instead I was dismissively told to “use elastics.” Undaunted, I worked on it until I figured out what works for me. There were many failures but when you finally get it….it’s such a sweet feeling!

Sometimes the answers are there and sometimes you have to put a lot of effort into finding them. When road blocks are put in front of you, you have a choice—you can stop because they’re blocking your path or you can find a way around them. Road blocks are never personal. Stay curious, ignore the stuff in your way, find your own path and be grateful to all that do take the time to help you.

Happy New Year to all! May 2019 be all you want it to be. 

“I don’t care about my standings 
or other player’s scores,

I have a score I want to 
reach on each board

and if I can’t then I try to figure 
out what’s going on in the back of 
my mind that’s distracting me.”


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