Competition Is What You Want It To Be
Just another angle here to consider: There's training to go into the obedience ring, and then there's training to get high scores/placements. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and it's not like it's never happened that someone who was simply training to go into the ring turned out to be very good and also got good scores.
But in terms of the nomenclature, if a person says they're training "for competition" or training a "competetive dog," I tend to assume they're going for the high scores, and that person is going to have a much more rigidly defined set of criteria for the behaviors they will teach.
But I happen to think one of the nicest things about obedience is that you can go into the ring and be in competition only with yourself -- a "personal best" kind of thing -- in which case, the picture you are training for can be whatever you personally want it to be and are willing to work towards. (As long as you also understand the rules call out very specific things that are "scoreable", but that within those rules, you still have a pretty wide latitude of acceptable levels of performance.)
So I think going into the obedience ring can be whatever you choose to make it. If I decide that my *personal* goal is to go into the ring with a happy dog who earns qualifying scores, then I may never be "competetive," but I can certainly be successful!
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