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Lessons Learned 01

“We don’t know what we don’t know”.

A cliche – yes, but true none-the-less.

During the late 70’s and early 80’s I owned and operated 4 video retail stores.

We sold video equipment and rented video movies – VHS and Beta.

I call these times the “Wild West” days of video. My stores were called Video Central.

I worked everyday and I was burning out. I needed a diversion.

My wife Donna and I had a miniature schnauzer at the time named Maggie.

We were blessed because Maggie was a great dog and very smart.

She had done really well at dog school and we were encouraged to try competing in the local dog obedience trials.

Donna signed us up for an amateur dog competition and she took Maggie to the groomers. Clipped her short and Maggie looked beautiful.

The weekend turned very hot but beautiful. The location for the event turned out to be a farm a short drive from the city. There were at least a hundred dogs there. There were rings set up for the different classes of competition. I was hooked. I could feel the excitement in the air.

Dogs and their owners everywhere – they all seemed to know what the were doing.

We had no clue. Someone pointed to the registration desk and we followed.

Each dog and their owner complete two sessions in the ring following a set of guidelines that are reviewed by a panel of judges. Start with 100 points and deductions are made for each error.

I was nervous and I was sweating from the heat. Maggie was cool and enjoyed socializing with the other dogs. I notice she was not sitting down and resting – but she was young and excited.

On our very first run in the ring we scored 99! Many of the other dog owners took notice and congratulated us. Our second run was not so successful.

The second trial included the long sit and the long down. The dog must remain stationary and not move while the owner walks away and waits for the judge to “release” the dogs.

Maggie would not sit still – she was fidgeting the whole time. I looked on in horror. This was her best trick. The long down was worse. We only scored a 76. As I walked out of the ring, three veteran dog handlers pulled me aside and asked me if I knew what had just happened.

Again – I had no clue.

Bottom line – Lessons learned – this is what you have been waiting for.

(I use these lessons learned in my video production business every day.)

They laughed and told me what should have been so obvious.

ALWAYS check the location of your event. We were outdoors – things happen. The grass had recently been cut short. It had burned from the heat.

ALWAYS check your equipment. Maggie had been recently groomed. She had no protection – cushioning – from the sharp burned grass. It was poking her exposed skin. Her stomach and her tush. She didn’t want to move but it hurt to sit and lay in the sharp grass.

ALWAYS seek advice from the more experienced professionals. We didn’t ask anyone about the ins and outs of dog competition. I could have avoided this situation and won the competition.

NEVER give up. Learn from your mistakes. Keep practicing and success will come.

JOIN a group that will help you and encourage you to achieve your goals.

Maggie and I continued training. We took weekends off from my business and traveled throughout the Midwest. In 1981 Maggie became the Number 1 Miniature Schnauzer in the country and the Number 3 Terrier in obedience competition in the country.

Allan Block, video producer,

I encourage you to check out the MPVA – Minnesota Professional Video Producers Association.

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