mandag 24. juni 2013

Summer competition - Bergen 21-23 June 2013

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill
Finally it's summer vacation for Team Speedfreaks! The summer competition in Bergen was our last competition  now until the autumn madness starts, but before this happens we will travel to Finland for a weeks training camp :) Looking forward to that :D
But we can come back to that after a while. Let's look at this weekend;
I started travelling to Bergen on friday morning and arrived in Os where I was staying with the lovelly Dorte, Simon & Helle :) We had a quick training session where Leija was on key 100 % and with a speed not many can match, atleast not in that size class...
I had a great time during friday, having fun with Simon and Dortes daughter, laughing and doing teaching her all sorts of mischief I hope my boys never will learn... (As if !!)
Unfortunately I had Leija awake longer than normal, and both myself and Elisabeth believe that is why she wasn't performing as "normal" on saturday.
We started the weekend with fun jumping course in class 1. Unfortunately I went away from my normal routine the day before, and kept Leija awake until 01.30, while I was reading. *Mental note; Don't change routines the day before a competition*..
As you can see from her speed, or rather the lack off, that something was not as it should be. If it was because of our growing calmness or just pure dumb luck, but atleast we got through the course clean and with no time fault, giving us our last clean run needed for Class 2.
After a nice little rest, (where I was hoping that Leija had regained some of her speed), we had our agility 2 run. Even though she had her fair share of "quiet" time, I had to struggle with her through the course, with Leija not giving 50% even... The entire run ended with us getting one fault in the weaves and 6.03 seconds in time fault!!!!! I haven't been able to get the movie to Youtube yet, but check out my channel when it's there.
We also tried to test our luck during the team competitions, but here Leija shows me very clearly what she thought about that:
It was a day where I woke even more tired than the day before. Maybe it was because of the stress of the day before, or maybe the late night with good company. Anyway I started the day the same way as I normally do during competitions, and luckily our debut in Jumping 2 ended with a great BANG!
It was a great run with alot of potential, and even though the speed was 4,69 m/s, it could've been even faster. If I shorten the turns, improve the weaves and tighten my own handling, I think it might have been 4,8-5,0 m/s.. Atleast I know what I can do, and what I can not do :)
During the break between Jumping and Agility, Simon asked me if I wanted to go for a walk with the dogs... Sure, I thought.. Little did I know that it was his little devilish plan to remove the competition before the agility run and making my dog tired again (Yes Simon, it's all your fault ;) *wink, wink*!!).
We had a good start, but after a mistake (or two) in the weaves, I decided to DQ Leija and me and focus just on having fun in the course. I hope that Leija took it that way, but we are coming in to the summer break with one goal: Work on both our stamina and endurance, because it needs working with. Hopefully we will come home from summer "camp" with a rejuvinated spirit and with our goals easily reachable and without much remorse.
The teams competition on sunday was cancelled due to severe a rain and thunderstorm. After some consideration, I think this was a good thing for Leija and me, as she was tired and slept through the entire storm and drive home.
Now there is a few days rest for Leija and myself, before we start the preparations for a hard week in Finland under the tough eye of Seppo Savikko and loads of training. Hopefully we will come out of it stronger and even more prepared for the winter madness :)
So, stay tuned, keep reading and keep following... Comment if you like it, comment if you disagree with anything or if you see something in my movies you want to tell me :)
Tommy & Leija

tirsdag 18. juni 2013

Positivity vs. Negativity

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision. - Dalai Lama
As the header of this post states, I want to put some focus on the "easy" subject of positivity vs. negativity. By this, I mean the mindset during training and preparations for competitions.
How can you best train with a positive mind when everyone around you expects bigger and better things from you?
In my mind there is always expectations, but after the few years with a crashing reality check, I've learned that my expectations needs to be focused more and more on the positive aspects of training. By doing this, I've noticed that both me and Leija have more fun when we train and compete, since my focus is not too much on results, but I try to pick good things from each run.
What this has resulted in, is a "All Or Nothing"-attitude. When you have this kind of attitude, normally you are very seriously involved in the competition, but that can be quite dangerous because of the added stress and negativity that comes with disqualifying in runs. But then again, when you compete, shouldn't you go for the win every time?
High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. - Charles Kettering
I believe whole heartedly that you can if you want to, but you need to be careful of the expectations from others. When things are going the correct way and the runs feel perfectly executed, or you have a super feeling that the things you wanted to complete is mastered, then it can be easy to raise your own expectations to match the accomplishment. However, even the positivity that comes from such an situation can easily be turned into frustration when the next run doesn't surpass the expectations you've put in yourself and your dog.
Because of this, I strive to make my own runs and my line of thought during a competition to focus more and more around the aspect of having fun during the runs and also enjoying a social and good time with alot of friends etc..
As long as I try my best to focus on the positive things with my training and competitions, I know that the results will follow sooner or later. The moment you start to go back during a competition to rectify the mistakes you've made, you set yourself and your dog up for failure (Please be aware that this is only if you compete with the "All or Nothing" attitude, in my eyes). But misunderstand me correctly, as I am not saying you should walk off the course in anger because you or the dog did a mistake. I'm saying if you go for it everytime, there shouldn't be the need to rectify mistakes or justify why something happened, because the moment you do, you accept the negative energy that is the result.
You will walk around and become more and more frustrated in why the handling failed or the dog failed something "he/she already knows".
So how can you claim to have a perfect run when there is mistakes in the handling or on the results board?
Because if you keep focusing on the positive things in a competition or during training, all that negative energy will dissipate into nothing, leaving you smiling over challenges you thought difficult.
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results. - Willie Nelson
Sometimes the best thing to do when people ask you how you did, is to answer; I finished. I guarantee that they will look at you funny and ask a second time; "Yes, but how did the run go?". People that focus too much on results and don't open themselves up to a positive mindset no matter what happens, doesn't seem to grasp the notion that some people, myself included (the last year), is more than happy with just completing a course. Or even just getting the first nine obstacles clean.
But I guess you're now telling yourself; "Honestly, I am not like this." Well, if you are certain in your case, then there is no point in trying to change. But if you read this and think that sometimes there might be too much focus on results in your runs, take a minute next time you compete and picture your dogs energy when you are frustrated and stressful, then watch the dog when all you think about is to have fun and enjoy time with your dog. Personally it's like running with two different dogs, and I clearly see the path I want to take. I want the fun dog, instead of the submissive dog.
Sometimes I can be an AS***** myself after I've run a course, and I take serious self-critique for this every time. But that is just an evil circle, that goes over and over and over and over and over again..  When that happens, I normally need an hour or so to reset and get my head out of my a** and think positive again, getting the negative stuff replaced with the good things from a run.
Believe me, it's difficult. It's not a change that comes over-night, but once you start to go there, it becomes easier every time. And every time you do this, you will see the trust and energy of your dog increase many steps. Then again, for some of you, this might already be second nature. Please read the post about complacency then :)
But as I finish this post, I would like to ask whoever's taking the time to read this;
- What are your thoughts?
- Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts, and why?
- Did I hit a point with any of you?
Please remember that this is just personal opinion and people can have different opinions. We are not all alike, and lucky for us :)
Tommy & Leija

mandag 17. juni 2013

Club championship

You can't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get. - Michael Phelps
I was so lucky to be asked if I could be the judge at my clubs unofficial championship in 2013. Since I have interest in judging perhaps want to pursue judging, it's good for me to learn and I also get to think about the lines that the dogs need to take.
I view the entire thing as another step in my learning process to becoming a capable competitor, and I find it interesting at the same time.
The courses I built can be seen below:
Agility 1
Agility 2
Agility 3
Jumping 1
Jumping 2
Jumping 3
  I also wanted to run in the championship, thus giving me the last two "competition" races before this coming weekend. Due to my nice little ankle injury, it didn't go so well. My head was on the judging, and things just was loads of fun and running :P

But, hopefully the weekend will be superfun with great company and lots of interesting conversations about agility and subjects around this..

As a good friend of mine says;

Work hard, Play hard!!
Tommy & Leija

fredag 14. juni 2013

About me :)

Hey there :)
I am currently a 27 year old man who like to spend my time thinking about agility, family, sports and having a great time.

I currently work for an oil-service company, spending my days looking at equipment and computer systems for dealing with the oil offshore business.

In my spare time I normally spend my days with my lovelly family, consisting of the wife (of course), twin boys at the age of three years, and two Schipperke-female from the lovelly breeders Carola & Risto Ojanperä & Johanna Stolt. Check out their website,

We have our own breeding name; Ikoria, but we haven't had any litters yet. Hopefully we will manage to get our oldest female with puppies winter 2013/2014. We'll see how things turn out.

Check out our webpage at

We started with agility the summer of 2008, with borrowed dogs. Actually it was Elisabeth (wife) who went on the course and I was just a spectator. Luckily we had two dogs, so we both could start at the same time. We were both bitten by the bug, but we always had to keep in mind that we competed with someone elses dogs. This made us look for our own line that we wanted to continue with.

The winter of 2010 I travelled to Finland to pick up our first female, Coros Miracle (Leija in common day). It happened to fall on the worst snow storm of a century in Finland, and Leija was able to get in some serious social training after being stuck at the airport in Helsinki and Oslo for over nine (9) hours.

We started our agility career as a team the spring of 2011. We were both hooked and Leija was something out of the ordinary. With a speed and drive beyond anything I've encountered, we had our challenges set for us. After spending a better part of two years getting our cooperation together, we've finally started to stabilise our runs, making it in to grade 2 in the first three competitions of 2013.
Picture by: Åsta Viksøy
The future for Leija and me will be to work our way up the system, and then hopefully we can try out for the national team and show the world that we will have fun, no matter what the stakes.

Keep reading the blog and follow our progress. We'll talk again :)


Competition practise

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. - Norman Vincent Peale
I had my first solo-training in almost eight months. The is plenty of downsides to training alone, if you let them control you, but for me the most difficult with training alone, is that I can't get my runs on video, since I don't have a bracket for my mobile phone.
 However, that doesn't prevent me from having a great time during practise.
Below is the course I built last wednesday that I used for practise.

This week there haven't been alot of training due to family matters and other things coming in the way, but wednesday evening I played a soccer game with the company team that ended bad for this weeks training:
However, today the foot is feeling alot better and my goal is that I still will compete in next weekends competitions in Bergen.

Have a great weekend and remember;

Happiness is not decided by how others view you, it's how you view yourself.
Tommy & Leija

mandag 3. juni 2013

Complacency vs Consistency

Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive. - Andy Grove
During once progress, one can easily become blind of the smaller things when you're training. Because of this, I've found out that it can be good to run fun, straight forward courses to focus on the "easier" things that I need to work on. I like this alot better than to suddenly come in to a situation during competition where I encounter things I've never seen as a problem before, basically to prevent complacency.
I believe complacency is one very dangerous aspect of all sorts of training. You put in alot of work teaching your dog the basics in the beginning of your "team-career", but after a while you think that it is something that is "natural" for the dog. I would say that you are 100% wrong in this way of thinking.

One example that I can give you, which I got from someone I think myself close with during my time in the military, is around this aspect. Imagine your entire dog training base as sand castle. You spend alot of time making the castle strong and dependant, and it looks that way after a while. But as time passes by, weather and the elements starts to deteriorate nad the castle crumbles bit-by-bit. Picture yourself putting down all the work to start your career, making the basics feel like this:
And then you train more and more on the technical stuff, but also becoming more frustrated every training because the dog "cheats" on the basics, like the "stay-command" or the contacts. Maybe the dog cheats in the weaves where you know deep down that you have perfected in the beginning. However, if you keep ignoring these issues and brushing them away as a "bad training session", then things will only escalate and in the end your sand castle will look like this:
But then again, it's a matter of perception. Some people don't want to spend time to focus on the minor things, focusing more on getting through the courses or rising in grades. And I have nothing against this way of thinking, but I would rather continue focusing on the basics and getting the teamplay and teamwork between dog and handler very strong, and trying to maintain it. Thus removing the entire idea of having a problem with complacency.

It is all in the mindset of the handler, getting the correct focus and disregarding the negatives that might come from competition and too much overthinking and over-focusing on difficult scenarios. My mindset is being more and more travelled in controlling the negative thinking and getting my head set on having fun, finding positive focal points in all of my runs and not even trying to "ease" my way into the destructive mindset that can easily come from DQ'ing or doing mistakes in training and/or competitions.

But I will not appear as a holy grail of positive mindset. As you can see from the video below, I still need to improve the timing in my handling.
For me, this is a perfect course to find the "complacency" issues I've mentioned above. The timing issues for me in this course is the sections where I have to do a front-cross without breaking Leijas stride and making sure she doesn't jump over the same obstacle on the way back. Also I move too soon after the weaves, forcing Leija to skip the last weave and I have to do that section again.

But my most important thing to take away from this is THE SPEED!!! Look at the SPEED !!! O-M-G!! I LOOOOOOOVE IT!!!... This is what I just love about this dog... She is my little speed-baby :D  Can't wait for the next competition and for our training stay in Finland.. We're going to ROCK!

Have a GREAT week and think about what I've written above, as this is not just valid for dog-training, but for all training or way of life.
Tommy & Leija