Five years ago, Nicole Levesque, who has since completed her training to become a OneMind Dogs Coach, wrote a story about her journey with OneMind Dogs.
We recently contacted Nicole for an update to her journey, and this is what she had to share.
When I wrote the first story, I was at an early point in my OneMind journey. What began as an attempt to improve my handling, became a complete shift in my training and teaching philosophy.
I hear from many people that OneMind Dogs is all about putting names to all of the Techniques and memorizing them. That has not been my experience at all.
The biggest shift for me has been working on making my training all about how the dog sees the course and adapting my handling to accommodate that.
I have learned skills that have helped me see the lines on the course the way the dog does, and that helps me do a better job of relaying the information to them. I understand so much more about course design and how to create safe challenges for my students and how to best handle challenging sequences to keep from injuring my own dogs.
Learning this perspective has had immeasurable benefits. When I received an email from Niki Drage about rerunning this blog I broke down and cried.
Last Tuesday, July 14 was the 2 year anniversary of losing Bliss. I had 24 hours from diagnosis to letting her go.
In the last 3 years of her life we spent many hours on the agility field, just relearning how to read each other. It was not from a competitive perspective but a mutual desire to run, grow and learn together. Those were magical sessions and they brought an understanding that I have shared with the dogs who are still in my life and my student’s dogs as well.
Bliss made me ready to learn, opened up the path to OneMind and the countless people from all over the globe who I now consider some of my best friends. She inspired me to learn and compelled me to become a OneMInd Dogs Coach. She taught me to have an open mind and an open heart on the training field.
OneMind gave Bliss a handler. It gave her a teammate that supported her and owned the mistakes. It gave her a person who celebrated each attempt and who took responsibility for teaching her the skills in a way she would understand. I think OneMind Dogs gave her as much as it has given me.
While I mourn the loss of her deeply, she is a part of who I am as a competitor, a trainer, a teacher and as a person.
As Helen Keller put it:
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us”
— Nicole & Bliss
There’s nothing that makes us more proud than hearing OneMind Dogs moments from our community.
We’d love to share your story too. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a message on Facebook.