Dealing With Disappointment

For me, especially in a very competitive environment managing my emotions has not always been easy!

Recently I had a run that could have shattered my day, or even my weekend, but instead of making me feel down I came away feeling happy with the performance and also grateful for my happy and optimistic girl Fiji, after all it really was only one very minor error.

Here I will share with you exactly how this transformation came about. I will show you how you can avoid feeling disappointment in a potentially deflating situation.


  • Jan Vlasak

    In theory, yes! Wonder if there hadn’t been any champ runs/wins before this run, if you would have felt as joyous? Love your attitude and relationship with your dogs.

  • disqus_Ugyfpn8gqy

    good message!! Congrats to you and your successes and sense of gratitude!

  • Catherine Palmer

    Yes this chimed with me so thank you, I am nowhere near the champ stuff, but I have two wonderful dogs that I love to bits, one of which definitely has huge potential, but she is young and sometimes it goes wrong, and she is very fast and frequently I am not fast enough. I can get very frustrated with myself and sometimes my head goes down. Last weekend I had one run where I let that happen, but the next day I had an absolutely fabulous jumping run, she was just amazing, and then, it went wrong on the last jump! See picture! This time I just laughed and loved my dog for running so brilliantly. I know I need to keep this attitude and not put too much pressure on myself or her – hard sometimes though! Thank you

  • I think that I cant win all the time and every-thing is a learning experience. If you did your best and were prepared and a mistake is made, that is all it is, the sky will not fall.

  • Debbie Prince

    My dogs are both fantastic ( slow ABCs) I try to leave every run with the positives, there is always something good and although sometimes it is very hard particularly with my lab who frequently misses contacts and my GSD who lacks drive and confidence, we will never be in a champ final but we have loads and loads of fun and always do our best! Lauren you are an inspiration to us all with your attitude and positive personality! By the way I enjoyed meeting you at East Lothian.

  • Dave Liddle

    Nicely timed. Only my 3rd Medium Champs at Weardale. Reached 1 final at Lanark after 2 clears , managed 3rd in Agility leg at Woodside with a brilliant clear.. This weekend one moment in each leg meant elimination. Some of the latest comments about quality of competition in champs getting me down and my eliminations giving strength to these comments. let it all go, enjoy the best of your runs and there will be other opportunities. some you’ll take and some will slip by.

  • Jackie Lawer

    I smiled at this because the same thing happened to me just last week – stunning run and a run by the last jump to the toy bucket. Not a champ final but a lovely run at our level. Last year I would have felt bitter disappointment but I have now re-found the joy of just running my dog. When it comes together it just feels awesome – mistakes or not! I’m feeling the love and pure joy of our partnership. 🙂

  • Carol Kluka

    Once our dogs are gone, no one cares about the Q or the championship. We should praise each and every run with our dogs…one day it may be our last.

  • Jillity

    What concerns me more than anything is that if the last pole comes down there’s always a big “ooooh” from people watching. I’ve seen my happy dog look back at me and look really worried. “Have I done something wrong?” For me it’s important to treat the occasion as if you just done a lovely clear and communicate that to the dog. “No of course nothing went wrong.”

  • Lauren Langman

    It’s a hard one to say for sure but I have only had the championship successes this year but had this attitude for around 2 years I suppose now. I feel grateful to be there and appreciate every bit of effort my dogs put in. At the end of it all the champ runs don’t really matter like bringing my dogs home with me for a run in the woods. Riot taught me that – he was like, ‘now let’s go run Riot,’ after and agility day and now he is gone all I miss is the woods. We are lucky to have them!

  • Lauren Langman

    It was great to meet you too!

  • Lauren Langman

    Dave you are always a happy competitor – that’s great to see!

  • Lauren Langman

    Riot taught me that – well said and too true!

  • Lauren Langman

    Yes you can’t control the crowd but you can control your actions – I played with Fiji the same as if she has won! She had no idea the last jump was even part of it! In her world she was super – she was super in my world too, it’s a good world!

  • Wendy Roydhouse

    What breed is the puppy?

  • Lauren Langman

    She is a mini American Shepherd!

  • Wendy Roydhouse

    So gorgeous 🙂

  • Lynne Nicholson

    I don’t do agility with my gsd/border collie cross. What I do love is when we are out for a walk and I have her stay while I throw a ball and have her walk with me away from it until I release her. Or. I tell her down as she is running after the ball as it flies. I have no idea how I managed to train her as I’m new to it but think it is because she is so clever. She even predicts when I’m going to down her and hesitates as I throw the ball sometimes.

  • Barb Mair Yassine

    I’ve just started with my GSD in agility (2-yr old high drive crazy crazy girl) and haven’t hit the competition ring yet. But during training she will suddenly get the zoomies…ears back…full tilt…grabbing the tug toy if its poking out of my pocket as she zoom’s by…every where but where she’s supposed to be. The hardest thing for me is not laughing at her antics as she seems so full of joy. My first experience with disappointment with her in competition was in sport scent detection.Sage is a star with interior and exterior searches. The container component…not so much…will do it at home / at the trainer’s but has no very little interest during trials…

  • Mary McKie

    My current dog has been a real challenge to train, and we will never make the dizzy heights of grade 7, but I try to take as many positives from each run as I can. The best thing anyone ever said to me (whilst being a “student” for someone doing an agility instructor assessment) was when a very well known handler (who was doing the assessment) said that I have a lovely relationship with my dog. There was no need for her to say that – she wasn’t training me – but it made my day, and after all that’s what it is all about 🙂

  • Jan Jackson

    Had a disappointing day yesterday, but still praised them for their run. At the end of the day you are a team

  • Mary Louise

    my “moment” has lasted all year…trying to work through it. my boy won up from 1 to 3 last year and our plan was to just have fun in grade 3 and get used to slightly harder courses. first show in grade 3 in january he won up to grade 4! i have no confidence in this grade every run feels a bit disappointing…even when we go clear i know I wasnt fast enough for a place and never even check our times anymore. lots of “if i had done” or “i should dos”. starting to have a rethink of where we should go from here! i do feel like i am dealing with it all a tad better then the start of the year

    my boy however is still having fun and bouncing about like his normal crazy self…he could be seen running with a goofy grin on saturday then a even bigger grin as he spotted a bag of dog food right near the ring after his run!!

  • Sally Bradbury

    Thank you for highlighting this Lauren. Watching a recent UKA Masters it was upsetting to see one dog leashed and ignored because of a minor error in an otherwise faultless round whilst the handler’s second dog was praised and played with for going clear. It happens at all levels but those at the top should be setting a better example.

  • Francisca

    So agree , with Carol Kluka too after loosing two dogs at a very early age just being out there having the privilege of running with them is to be celebrated. Everything else is a bonus. They do not know if you got that Q card or not all they know is how happy you are at the end of your amazing run together. Wish more people could understand this breaks my heart when I see people walk off grumpy after a near perfect run with their dog. Thanks for sharing Lauren. 🙂

  • Debbie Dust

    The same thing happened to me at our regional competition this year except that it was 100% my fault. How can you not be happy with a dog who gives you 100% and makes every effort to do what you ask? I always want to improve but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy every step of the journey. I am privileged to have incredible dogs and like Francisca said, they could care less about the Q (which is a good thing or else Rylie would get pretty grumpy with me) and just want to have fun. It probably helps that I’m not a hugely competitive person. I would like to think that my dogs can’t tell the difference after the run as to whether one of us has made a mistake or the run was clean. We celebrate the same way.

  • Rosemary King

    This resonates with me a lot. What I’ve experienced quite a few times is being really happy with our run,enjoying it even though it’s not clear and walking away on a cloud. Then someone will ask me how I went, listen impatiently to my explanation of why it was so good,how fun it was but then being seemingly dismiss me when the answer to “But was it clear?” is no.
    Moral: avoid those people!

  • crazeedogs3

    One of my biggest disappointments (though it seems like such a small word to me now) was when my competition dream dog suffered a life altering accident running agility. While I had big plans for us as a team it was cut short almost before it began. To truly understand the depth of my hurt and disappointment you would have to know the spirit of this dog. His passion and desire was like a top athlete. He had a zest and a sparkle in his eye for the game whatever it might be- He lived to run, jump and swim. He was and is so much more than I could ever deserve in this life. He taught me so much while going through multiple surgeries, paralysis, life threatening infections and allergies to the meds meant to save his life. He was just over 2 1/2 years old and so close to death!!!! I kept thinking “He loves life, he loves everyone and everything this cant be happening!”
    He was a super athlete but it was not meant to be for us.
    We had competed and been doing very well in Agility, Rally, Carting and Dock Diving winning came easy with my amazing boy. My biggest dream was for Dock Diving championships, he was a natural big jumper and loved being in the water and the crowds cheering. So when he ruptured his cruciate and suffered an infection that lead to a spinal injury and broken vertebrae our long dark days of disapointment, broken dreams and fear began. I drove 3 hours one way every day just to sit with my boy in the critical care ward. I was so defeated but this beautiful soul never gave up, never had a moment of defeat. He smiled through back surgery, 5 knee surgeries and 2 weeks in the hospital away from us and having to learn to walk and urinate on his own again.
    He would just light up when I walked through his hospital room door. He was a favorite of the doctors and nurses- He is just that special. I was given a valuable gift from my sweet boy- Never ever feel disappointed when you get one more day, one more opportunity to love. Yes it is hard to hear friends talk of their high achievements and successes especially when my boy still has that heart, that big ole heart of a champion that thankfully still beats and enlightens my life every single day I share with him,