Where’s the PROOF? Proofing your competition mindset!


Let’s talk about teaching your dog a new behaviour, specifically proofing behaviours.

Think about how you taught your dog anything- how did you go about it?

Once you thought they knew what they were supposed to do, what did you do next?

At some point in the process, you will have tested their knowledge, right? You want to know that they really do understand their job- so whether you do it as you go along (e.g. taking your weaves to different places at each stage of teaching) or whether you teach them something thoroughly in one environment before trying it elsewhere- at some point you’re going to proof what your dog does. You’re going to generalize the behaviour and aim to proof it against distractions etc.

You’re no different!

And you my friends are no different. Once you start learning your new mindset attitudes and behaviours, you’re going to have to keep training them! Just like I talked about before in train your brain like your dog’s contacts (blog), you have to practice, train and KEEP WORKING at it. And just like you’d keep reinforcing throughout your dog’s career, the same is true for you in your mindset training.


And as you get the hang of it, you need to PROOF it- perhaps not with big lumps of sausage as distractions, but working on different distractions- working out which distractions you can now ignore and where you need to do a bit more work.

You also need to generalize behaviour: You wouldn’t expect your dog to generalize everything perfectly the first time it had ever worked away from your training ground, so why expect yourself to? You’d adjust for different weather, equipment etc. for your dog- the same is true for you!

Just because your job doesn’t change as you compete in qualifiers, semis, finals etc., doesn’t mean that you’ll instantly generalize the way you might like to. It takes practice!

So keep working- even after you’ve attended my seminar or taken my online classes, don’t think that’s it- that’s really where the work begins! You learn WHAT to do, we’ll always have discussed where YOU are strong or have growth areas (assuming you actually participated of course!) and then you get to go out to train and proof it for yourself!

PROOF your mindset by keeping working at it- working out where your strengths are, and where you still have room to grow. And like you would for your dog- get training!! You don’t need to go it alone, and having an outsider’s perspective can really save you a lot of grief.

Be kind to yourself the way you would your dogs- and KEEP WORKING!!

HOW do I know YOU can do this?

Check out the child below.

imageThat child is learning to walk- he’s going to fall a LOT. But he’ll get up and keep trying again and again, until he gets the hang of this walking thing. That was once you. Learning to walk… learning to eat with a knife and fork, learning to read and write, later on learning to ride a bike, later still learning to drive- you didn’t get the hang of any of those things without practice, work and multiple failures (which did sometimes hurt!). But YOU KEPT GOING. And THAT, my friend, is how I know that YOU, YOU reading this right now, can change your mindset, because you have a track record of hanging in there and making changes that enable you to do things you once couldn’t. You have a history of successful change.

Have a great day, and come over to Facebook and tell me one thing that you want to ‘proof’ for yourself!



Kathrine McAleese, M.S. is the dog sports psychotherapist, performance coach, speaker, writer and cheerleader of excellence. Her unique talent is helping dog handlers take simple, useable mindset principles to build their confidence and focus so they can compete as well as they train. She has been helping clients reach their dog sport goals since 2005 and, serving dog owners worldwide, Kathrine’s seminars, workshops and hugely successful online courses help average and elite competitors alike to get results.


Recent Testimonials

It’s hard to explain how much better I feel knowing that I’ve got so much more to work on with my mind and with Pip, but everything is so positive now, (even the poor runs!) Keep up the good work… you can take all the credit for the way I’ve changed.” Edwina Brown

“Thank you Mind to Win – you’ve definitely helped Mum – she held her nerve and kept calm and we came 4th overall in the Large Novice ABC yesterday at Discover Dogs and now we’ve qualified for Crufts!!” ‘Henry’ Lyon

“Thank you! Loved your talk today, lots to think about and juggle with (ps cool boots too)” – Sue White

“Mum really enjoyed your talk at the KC seminar yesterday – she’s come back buzzing! Lots of positiveness (is that a word!) for next weekend at DD. Thank you” – ‘Henry’ Lyon

“Have to say also it was brilliant this weekend. Thank you so much for coming over. I am still buzzing.” -Rebecca Taylor

“Thank you for a great seminar and clinic this weekend. Really enjoyed both, and have taken lots away to put into practice :-)” -Kath Veale

“Thanks very much for 2 fantastic sessions. I’ve learnt a lot and will be taking loads forward with me.” -Sharron Taylor

Beginning again…

photoBeginning again…

In the photo above, you can see a rather flooded agility field. Only a few days before this photo was taken, I was running a Mind to Win workshop there in glorious sunshine! None of us imagined that within a few days, you’d be able to canoe through where we were running!

But the unexpected happens- you get injured, you need surgery, and it can be hard to think of beginning again.

Beginning again in dog sports

One place where even the most confident handlers can come unstuck is after an injury to themselves. Even those who have never experienced a moment of self-doubt in competition often struggle when they’re coming back after an injury. It’s normal. You had the mental and physical thing sorted and then your body got hurt- now what you thought was an indestructible machine has proven itself breakable. And that chink of weakness undermines your confidence in everything else that you once thought was unbreakable. Now you find yourself hesitating to really sprint or not wanting to turn quickly for fear your knee ‘goes’ again… You may find yourself obsessing over the surface your obedience classes will be held on and worrying about whether your shoes will have enough/too much grip…

Don’t worry, you can rebuild your confidence– and the GREAT news is that when you do, you can be STRONGER than you were before. Whoo hoo!

I know what it’s like. I really do. I was a professional dancer back in the day, so between the bits I injured back then, and the bits I’ve injured since (usually snowboarding related!), I’ve had my fair share of physical set-backs. Even when I’m working hard and feeling fit, I’ve had things go wrong- like going a bit nuts trying to do chin-ups and pulling my bicep… it SUCKS. And never mind the physical pain, the loss of momentum and feeling of time wasted are emotionally and mentally draining. For all my injuries from having beaten my body up so much in the past, I’m blessed that I rarely get sick. But losing 2 weeks out of my training to flu was ROUGH. And the hardest bit for me- just like for many of you- was the MENTAL feeling of what I’d lost. How weak I felt… what I *could* do two weeks ago that I was now struggling with… UGH! NO FUN!!

And that’s where the real work of recovery begins, because it’s not about the body- the body will regain its strength when we put the work in… it’s the rehab your mind has to do so you DON’T COMPARE where you are now with where you were…. to trust the process and know that in time, with effort and consistency, you will improve and get back towards your previous fitness… that’s where it’s won or lost- on whether you allow yourself to get despondent and give up, or whether, after the initial pity-party, you get up and keep working!! FOCUS not on where you ARE, but where you’re GOING!


Action steps:

  1. Don’t give up.
  2. Give it time.
  3. Do the physical rehab work you need to.
  4. Do the mental rehab work you need to!

We’re often good at talking about and working on the technical and physical aspects, but we’re often not so good at looking at our mental approach and how that could be strengthened- yet we’ve all watched sports where what’s made the difference has been who can hold it together on the big occasion!

Inspiring each other

I LOVE that you guys encourage each other and was so delighted to see Cheryl from USA coming onto my Facebook page specifically to report not only her own success but to ENCOURAGE others who’re coming back from injury and surgery. It’s incredible how much Cheryl has come on since she first was reporting her goals for herself and then she passed that wisdom on to others- including at least one English handler who came back to thank her for it 🙂 Isn’t that great? You guys are connecting and encouraging each other from across the globe! What a community we’re building of people who- at any time of the day or night- can find and BE encouragers! 😀

Beginning again takes guts and it takes effort.

Whether you’re coming back after a couple of weeks’ vacation or illness, OR you’ve been out injured for much longer, it can feel like wading through treacle at times, and can be thoroughly frustrating when your body isn’t doing something that you know it previously could do.

Hang in there. Sometimes you’re going to have to get cunning and strategic and develop new ways of doing things to allow for this new body you have- other times, you just need to hang in there and keep working. The main thing is that you not give up. When you quit, failure is guaranteed. When you decide to keep going, lots of exciting new possibilities open up to you! 

Like with the flooded field above, sometimes all that you can do is give it time. (And keep a record of it, so you’ll remember how far you’ve come when you’re able to train again!)

So if you feel like you’re beginning again at the moment, this is a high-kicking cheerlead to you! You CAN rebuild your confidence and you can do so in ways that can ultimately make you stronger than you were before! So get doing your mental rehab and let me know how I can help you with it!

Come on over to Facebook and let me know what impacts you most in this article!

MAKE it a great week- I believe that you can!



Train your brain like your dog’s contacts!


 If you’re a dog agility handler, you know only too well that training contacts takes time…

hesitant dog on contact

It doesn’t happen by accident that a dog has awesome fast, accurate  and reliable contacts.

It doesn’t happen in 5 minutes of training.

Getting them to know- and understand- their job, then transitioning to being able to DO their job takes time, effort and consistency.

Generalizing the behaviour takes practice and experience.

Then training them to be their  absolute BEST at contacts takes further work…

Training your brain so you can give your best in competition is no different.

You don’t accidentally have a perfect competitive mindset, bomb-proof in any situation.

It doesn’t happen with 5 minutes of training, once, never to be practiced and repeated.

And excellence takes more TIME, EFFORT and CONSISTENCY than merely learning the nuts and bolts of what you ‘should’ do.

You wouldn’t go to a training weekend, teach your dog basics of contacts and think that was the end of the story. Worse yet, you wouldn’t go and WATCH a seminar and think you and your dog now were ready to compete at your best, without actually putting in the work yourself!! Psychological training is the same. Yes there are things you will need to learn, but more than that, you’re going to have to do the work.

And that’s good news, because it means that YOU can improve!!

So if your mental style in competition is like the doubtful pooch above…

Don’t feel bad that you need help with this side of your agility– that just means you’re NORMAL!

You wouldn’t hesitate to get training on technical  details, and this is truly no different. YOU can learn how to do your best in competition and you will with T.E.C.- Time, Effort and Consistency!

Have a great day and COMMENT BELOW to let me know how I can help you!



Here’s some of the anonymised* feedback from the recent 7 Deadly Sins course:

There are so many things this course has helped me with that it is hard to pinpoint just one. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that I can change my mindset and that will carry over into other aspects of my life outside of agility.

100% would recommend it to a friend (some of you already have!)

100% rated it very or extremely worthwhile.

The course helped me to take the steps towards what I wanted after delaying for so long. Every day I have woken up feeling energised and far more positive, wanting to get on with things rather than trying to put them off. A big change.”


Next up is Goal-Setting for Success and it launches March 1st- only 2 places remaining so register NOW!


*I ask for feedback anonymously because I want to hear if someone has anything negative to report. By not requiring their name, I believe it allows people to speak more honestly and feel less obligated to say nice things if they don’t mean them! I’m looking for honest feedback, not flattery! 🙂 So, I’m sorry you don’t have their names or countries this time, but if you check out the Testimonials page, you’ll find a few more there.

Get out of your comfort zone!


We all like to be comfort-able, right? A lot of us also want to improve… and to do that we’re going to have to go BEYOND what we’re ABLE to do in COMFORT and do things that will make us un-comfort-able, at least temporarily (or permanently if you’re committed to continually pushing yourself!)

That might sound like a bummer to you, but it’s actually good news- it’s the flip-side of what your brain naturally tries to do, which is to maintain homeostasis i.e. your current ‘normal’ comfort setting, ability and status quo. It’s one very good reason why you get the temptation to quit during workouts when it feels like you cannot possibly do one more rep. When you ignore that voice and keep going, you find that your body actually CAN do significantly more than your brain was comfortable with. Because your brain’s job is not to stretch you but to maintain the current status. It’s very good at that job, and that’s why going beyond what you are ABLE to do in COMFORT- what is ‘comfortable’ to you- takes mental, never mind physical effort.

There’s a saying that the very definition of madness is to do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different result- yet at times we’ve all done it!! But CHANGE and PROGRESS come when we push ourselves, BEYOND the comfort-able, when we let our biological brain have a bit of a huff and grumble, before getting to work adjusting us to our NEW normal! So let’s give our bodies a chance to show off by doing those extra reps… our brain will take the hint.

How about in a dog sport context? You’ll be inciting change when you take your handling from training to the competition ring in spite of that voice in your brain screaming ‘that’s not what we usually do!!!!’ or that little inner worry-wart saying ‘but what if you go wrong? It’s SAFER to do it our usual way…’ YOU can decide to doubt your doubts and explore what you’re ACTUALLY capable of, and you’lldo this when you get un-comfort-able.

Staying in your comfort zone is a sure-fire way to lose momentum. It WILL discourage you and it WILL corrode whatever self-esteem and confidence you possess. Because you’ll not be standing still- you’ll be falling behind. All the time that you’re lounging in your comfort zone, others are getting un-comfort-able.

And un-comfort-able means growing in skill and confidence.

So don’t miss out- get un-comfort-able! Come back to my Facebook page and tell me what stands out for you about this post!



Ready to take the next step in getting un-comfort-able? 2 Go for it!


One thing that kills your confidence…


Today I want to talk to you about something near to my heart. It’s something that I watch killing people’s confidence on a regular basis. What is it?

It is a small view of self – a ‘quick fix’ mentality- that leads people to seeking instant fixes, rather than investing in themselves.

You know- or you should know if you’ve been around me for more than five minutes!- that I genuinely care that each of you realizes your potential. I think the world of my clients and I want each of you to reach your goals and then surprise yourself by going beyond them. I wish for each of you to live lives that currently you only dream of. And more than that, I passionately believe that many of us don’t even recognise how much potential we have, and

it is our small view of ourselves ends up limiting us, rather than the ‘lack of ability’ we attribute it to.

Every single Mind to Win service is focused around helping you make the lasting changes you want. But that’s it- LASTING change. Not quick fixes.

Many people seek quick fixes– they want to sit through a seminar, attend a training, etc. and then come away magically different. They don’t believe in themselves enough to do the work that follows.

They don’t have the confidence and self-belief to trust the process and keep working at it in the sure knowledge that they will improve.

They’ll go to another seminar the next week, train with another person and repeat, sometimes for years- without making the significant changes that they might have done had they only taken time to not only LEARN but then DO SOMETHING with what they learned.

This is a confidence killer, because you see that you’ve gone to all these trainings but aren’t making significant improvements in your training, so you feel like a failure. Worse, perhaps things seem to be going backwards for you. You also feel like a failure because you KNOW what you ‘should’ be doing- you know all the theory, but you’re not following through on it. And that knocks your confidence still further.

Now before you get all angry at me or think I’m saying you shouldn’t train with lots of different people, hang on. What I’m saying is that if you don’t take time to WORK on what you’ve learned, you’re wasting your money. Don’t kid yourself, lasting change takes EFFORT- on your part, not just the person training you!! 

And what saddens me is I see people doing this and it’s not that they’re lazy, or don’t want to learn- obviously they do or they wouldn’t go to so many trainings!- no, it’s just that

no-one’s suggested to them that they take time to process what they’ve learned, work out where it fits into what they already know, and then work out a plan for how to incorporate the useful bits as they move forward. 

(Sometimes it’s also that they essentially need to fail to reassure themselves that they actually are the dreadful failure of a person that deep down they think they are… but that’s another story for another day.)

So that’s what I’m doing- I’m saying that for some of you, you don’t need to learn more, you need to PRACTICE and WORK on what you already know! This will make some of you really uncomfortable to read, but for some of you, I know this is exactly what you need to hear to release you from an endless cycle of knowledge accumulation! 

I am committed to helping as many of you develop and live into your potential as I can, and I believe in you.

Today I’m calling you to believe in you too! PROTECT the confidence you have and DEVELOP more by learning, then DOING something with what you’ve learned. 

Decide TODAY to stop selling yourself short by settling for the ‘quick fix’ mentality!

I’m here to help you make lasting changes that make a difference to YOU!


Winner or whiner?


girl with balloons

Do you have the language of a WINNER or a WHINER?

When was the last time you listened to a post-match interview? Listen to the interviews given by champions, versus those who’re not. I’m talking about those people who have a habit of getting it right and winning on big occasions.

I’m not focusing on the ones who haven’t made it- or haven’t made it yet. But I want you to have a think about how ‘champions’ talk.

Listen closely and they’ll talk about what they did well, and perhaps something that they need to tighten up on. They won’t (generally) spend their time whining about their equipment, the weather, judgement calls or on other ‘victim’ talk. They’ll talk about their performance and both what they liked, AND what they can improve.

So what about you? Do you have the language of a champion or do you use your air time to tell anyone who’ll listen about how unfair the result was, and give them all the excuses of the day? Are you whining about what’s done, or working on improving for what’s next?

This one thing has the power to change how some of you compete for good. Words have power, so be careful that you use yours to build yourself up, learn and move on. Please my friends don’t give in to ‘victim’ talk, it totally disempowers you and makes you sit back from doing what you can to make things better. Be more! Get active and DO something to get it right next time- don’t give in to a victim mentality and whiner- mouth!

Have the mouth of a WINNER, not a WHINER!

Well done!


WELL DONE 7 Deadly Sins Group!!


Let me raise a glass to you right now and congratulate you on getting this far! YOU may not see your achievement, but here it is-

You have ALREADY gone beyond many other competitors in agility (and many in dog sports generally) by recognizing that MINDSET MATTERS to your competitive outcomes! EXCELLENT. This is important.

Beyond that, you’ve done something about it!! You’re here!

I LOVE this work because I get to watch you guys go from wondering if you could ever be different… to being people who look back at who they were and wonder if that person really was them?!

Please get stuck in and comment on each of the pages– after this post, all the 7 Deadly Sins pages you will go to are password protected (you’ll get your personal password with your 21/1/13 email), so get in there and talk to each other! As you comment, you’ll also be getting feedback and suggestions from me as we go along too so make use of it!

I can’t wait to get started working through this with you all- make it a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow!!



The Mind to Win Days of Christmas- Online Course


The Mind to Win Days of Christmas

12 Mind to Win Days of Christmas  in this online course means 12 individual lessons, immediately available to you, so you can work at your own pace. 

Each lesson has:

*a different focus plus

*applicable questions,

*ideas and case studies

* PLUS DAILY: a practical exercise for you to immediately go and practice.

I’m including proven effective exercises– these are some of the ones my clients have learned from me and told me they’ve used most to develop their own Mind to Win- including clients who’re now competing at Nationals (e.g. UK, US, Canada, CZ, NZ) Olympia, Crufts, and at world levels for multiple countries.

So if you want to finish 2013 strongerThe Mind to Win Days of Christmas is an easy way to start. Online, in your own personalized member’s are of www.mindtowin.co.uk, day or night- read it when it suits YOU!

Some of the topics we’ll talk about in this online course are:

  • How your mouth might be your biggest problem
  • How to be more positive
  • Getting over the fear of failure
  • Developing a better partnership with your doggy team-mate
  • Distractions
  • Focus in competition
  • and much much more!

Buy now. Click HERE.


I’ve done the work of developing the course, and now it’s over to you. REGISTER NOW to get the Mind to Win Days of Christmas to your inbox and finish 2013 stronger than you started it!

It’s my privilege to help you achieve your goals,


Chill out- For your dog’s sake!

On Facebook recently, I asked you guys what was one thing your dog would tell me about your performance if  they could.

The overwhelming response was that they’d tell you to chill out, take a chill pill, or take a bigger chill pill!!

So if you’re one of those whose dogs would like them to chill out in competition, this one’s for you, with love.

Having a Mind to Win involves being aware of where your strengths are and where your growing edges are. You need to know both.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we ‘should’ do to ‘get things right’ that we end up behaving like a different handler and our poor dogs are left going- whoa there, what’s up with you?! 

In this super short video, I have a couple of questions for you, designed to get you thinking. Sorry if you’re looking for a magic wand- I don’t do ‘one-size-fits-all’ my friends, YOU are the expert on your life so only you can work out exactly what’s going on for you. I am here to help you, then you have to take the baton I’m passing and run with it!

This is a first step in getting precise about what’s holding you back from giving your best. Once we know what’s going on for YOU (not your friends, coach or anyone else- YOU), THEN we can start using individually tailored solutions to get you achieving the chill yet psyched persona your dog is probably more used to seeing (or would like to see!!!)

When you’ve watched the video, COMMENT BELOW- let me know where your dog notices the nerves kicking in! Are you ready? Let’s go!

Watch the video here: A mental chill pill!

Comment below and let me know when your dog notices you getting nervous!

Have a great day!


Mind to Win Playlist 10/12| Songs that get you psyched for Success!

Since you guys came up with such an AMAZING playlist yesterday… Today I’ve gathered together the list of those songs some of you gave me that are your get-fired-up songs. These are the songs you said were guaranteed to get you psyched and ready to win- in whatever area of life you’re aiming for success that day. I think this is the sort of list we should update from time to time, what do you think?!

Don’t worry if you didn’t get to add yours- comment below and let me know what your psyching-up song is so I can add it to our playlist.

And if you want to buy any/all of these- http://www.apple.com/itunes/ has them all (I know because I had to find a couple of them that were new to me!)

Enjoy! And don’t forget to tell me what your song is!


Mind to Win Playlist October 2012 (as voted by you):

  • Bonkers- Dizzee Rascal
  • Start Me Up- Rolling Stones
  • Shake it Out- Florence and the Machine
  • Janie’s got a Gun- Aerosmith
  • Sexy and I know it- LMFAO
  • Charlie Brown- Coldplay
  • My Redeemer Lives- Nicole C. Mullen
  • We Built this City- Starship
  • Basket Case- Green Day
  • Jump- Van Halen
  • Monster- The Automatic
  • Every Little Thing she does is Magic- The Police
  • Firework- Katy Perry
  • Waiting for my Chance to Come- Noah and the Whale
  • Rocky theme tune
  • Basement Jaxx
  • Somebody that I used to Know- Gotye
  • The Edge of Glory- Lady Gaga
  • Don’t Stop the Party- PitBull
  • I got a Feeling- Black Eyed Peas
  • Numb- Linkin Park

Add your song below and I’ll periodically update our Playlist for awesomeness!