Monday, July 8, 2013

Mirror Mirror

I was excited to write about Kort's Agility weekend but changed my mind & decided to do this post today.  The wonderful thing about a personal blog is you get to give your opinion without anyone telling you not to :)

Some of these things I was thinking about on Saturday, but on Sunday it bothered me even more so hence the post .

I had Kim video Kort in his 2nd Excellent Jumpers run on Sunday.  She came up to me after to tell me I would hear comments in the background from people watching so just to be aware.  I listened to the video, it really was nothing too bad, they actually commented on what a nice dog Kort was & how wonderful he was in Scenthurdle.  There was one comment in there about how I should have done a front cross at one of the jumps instead of the way I  chose to handle it.  See, nothing too bad.

What I take issue with is the fact that they felt they  needed to comment at all.  They know nothing about me or Kort,  they know nothing about the fact that I pulled myself out of agility for almost a year as I was too hard on my dog.  They don't know that I struggle with confidence in my handling & beat myself up about it more then anyone knows.  They don't know that this was my first time ever in the Excellent ring , or that I suffer from Fibromyalgia which makes me unable to remember things sometimes, never mind an Excellent Jumpers course, which by the way was so very hard for me .  They don't know we struggle financially at times & can't afford to take every class which would  help make us a better team.

The other issue I had this weekend when overhearing general conversations, was that alot of people feel CKC Agility is a walk in the park,  It is so easy you will Q every time, all straight lines, not challenging at all like AAC Agility.  I myself have thought this aloud a time or two but have changed my mind. I saw many AAC Agility exhibitors that are in the Masters level in AAC, NQ , even at the Novice level, but does it really matter?  For some people such as myself, Qing alone is a HUGE deal, or sometimes even not Qing is a huge deal.  For instance Kort & I NQ'd our first Excellent Standard run, but wow was I happy!!! Omg it felt good to be in the ring running with Kort, man we have come a long way!  When in the ring a fellow exhibitor came up to me while walking the course & said,  "Welcome to Excellent! "  & then helped me walk the course :)
It doesn't matter what organization I am competing in, the fact that my dog listened to me, followed my direction & managed to Q in spite of my sometimes poor handling, or bad timing, is a very big deal to "me".

Also, do you remember when you were a Novice?  How did you feel when you made mistakes with people/peers watching you?  Sometimes you might advance faster then your original core group & move up while members of your original group may be still struggling at the Novice level.

For example there is one girl who started with her dog the same year Kort & I started,  She is still in the Novice level.  Do people watching know she just had a baby 6 months ago so she can't train as much anymore?  Do they know how hard she tries & struggles with that dog?  Do they know that her dog finally laid down on the table this weekend, something she has not been able to get him to do for 3 yrs in competition?  For her, this alone was huge...did you tell her congratulations?,  or did you just not say anything because you have moved up the ranks & why bother?  This particular girl is always positive, is always smiling & is always there cheering on people.
This is just an example of  something from this weekend, but similar situations go on at every trial.

On Sunday Kort came close to getting his first Excellent Jumpers Q, the weaves were the 2nd to last obstacle, he got his entry but then missed the next pole & then missed the 11th pole.  If the weaves were at the beginning he probably would have got them, but they were at the end & he was tired, he just couldn't do it.  I was disappointed, I made sure to give Kort big big hugs & praise before leaving the ring, actually when he finished his weaves in the ring I said a big "yes ! " to him even though he did them wrong, I saw him glance sideways at me, he knew he had not done them right, he was disappointed he didn't do them for me,  I know this because I know my dog.  After in the tent I talked with Brad, we talked about how I remembered the course! & how really awesome Kort did in the ring.  I worked on getting the disappointment out of my mind, positive energy only!! I struggle so bad with that!! Then Amanda & Sarah came up to the tent to tell me how awesome Kort had done.  My instructors since Kort was a puppy were proud of us.  They have seen our struggles, they know how hard it is for me.  Just that praise alone made my day & helped to ease the disappointment.

My point is, next time you go to a trial, take a look in the mirror so to speak at yourself, make sure you are not in your own little world of self importance, or feeling you are better then everyone because your handling is better & you are a better handler.  Maybe seek out those that are truly struggling & tell them good job, well done, as they leave the ring, it may just make their day.


Kim said...

Great blog post, Jo!
Yes, you never know what stuggles other peostruggle with their dogs or with life in general. I for one do not appreciate "helpful" comments from people who do not know me or my dog.
As for the difference in AAC and CKC - they are different with different challenges. CKC is more wide open with lots of distance - some dogs and handlers love it, some struggle with it. AAC can be more technical and demotivating to less driven dogs. People NQ in both venues and I don't think either are "easy", especially once you get to the excellent/masters levels (I have run some super difficult CKC excellent courses). If your dog is not trained they are not going to succeed in either venue.

You can Kort are doing great! He has matured so much in the past year and works so hard. I just love watching him run :) You guys will get there!

Tammy Taylor said...

Love this...and love the fact you had fun and did great!

Michelle Larson said...

I have to say I was so excited to see your posts on Facebook this weekend, it was AMAZING to see your spark back...

I just posted similar to this a few weeks ago. It is sad to see that adults can't figure out that what they are doing is a form of bullying. It was sad that I can't show my daughter a couple of her runs who is 6 because of comments made in the background, really, she is 6 do they have nothing better to do? or they made comments about me or her Aunt while Lexi was standing right there, it was hard to explain to my kid that she needed to be more grown up then the grown ups there and brush it off and walk away.

I was disappointed to not be there this weekend, my summer off of agility is sucking big time, I hope next summer Lethbridge will host a CKC trial again, I would love to bring my girls to come play and find out what CKC agility is all about :o)

Anonymous said...

Hey Jo, great post. I thought you and Kort did great!! I think you made a very good decision to end that run on a positive, he was having fun and so were you! That is, after all, the whole point!
This was the first time i've seen CKC agility courses and they looked fun. They had different challenges than some AAC courses with more distance between obstacles, but they weren't easy. Some of the weave pole entries seemed pretty tough to me!!
I think I'll have difficulty when Cricket starts competing as the open spaces will be tough to manage with her.
Hope you keep playing and enjoying doing agility with Kort. You both looked good out there this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I think your attitude was great all weekend Jo- I am very proud of you! You handled Kort to the best of your abilities and had a great time doing it. And THAT is what agility is all about.

Kort was a super star of course. ;)

Each venue has their unique challenges- but more so in the more advanced classes. Novice CKC IS simpler than a novice AAC. No weaves, no big challenges. BUT- after that they can be pretty equal depending on the judges course design.

And people are people. They have opinions and thoughts, and often feel the right to voice them. Its sucky when people are hurtful, but focusing on the good people, and the kind words is what is important. I have had lots of experience with that. I used to get lots of "helpful" advice about Wicca's bar knocking. I didn't take it to heart- but discarded the crap, and kept what I thought could be useful. It comes down to knowing that you know your dog best, and will make decisions for him/her and yourself.

Anyway- you were awesome this weekend. Don't forget it. ;)

Koping Weims said...

Hey Jo, outstanding post...I almost did a very similar comment on facebook about pretty much the exact same thing, as I too hear the comments made about me and my dogs and about playing CKC attitude is whatever love playing it and love my dogs no matter if they are the best or fastest or I am a crappy handler. You and Kort did outstanding..loved watching you guys... his weaves have come so far..
My last comment was I had 3 lovely ladies tented next to us...what a pleasure..they were there for eachother...each had different levels of success but each and huge successes for was great to hear how much they were there for eachother...and I enjoyed watching and cheering for all 3 of them and their dogs...that is what I like to with their dogs and honest support for your friends and fellow competitors...
Congrats on an awesome weekend and yes welcome to Excellent...hope to see you in the near future at another agility trial.


Squishy said...

Wowzie Jolene. I think you are so right in that we really don't know what's going on with others and why they are where they're at. But, this is true in all areas of our lives and to be kinder and more complimentary of others is a good thing. Thanks for sharing this. You and Kort are awesome. We have our own journeys and no one can really know what we go thru. I see the meaness in conformation to such a high degree it causes me to stay to myself at shows, or with a few select friends. Having my own personal reasons to do what I do with me collies, or who I keep is no one's business except mine so I think it takes a bit of having tough skin and not taking it personally, no matter what people say about you. It's really not your problem. Good luck to you in all you do with your collies. I think they are the bomb!!

Squishy said...

Oh and to Michelle Larson ~ you could download the videos on You Tube and add music so you can show them to your daughter. She probably would really enjoy it and get to learn from watching her & her dog.