Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4 -- Lisa's Musings (on an agility show) and Every Day Life

I entered Driver in an agility trial tomorrow – even though when I wrote the check, I knew he wasn’t ready.

I’m not sure what possessed me to plunk down my money this early in his training, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with work.

If I'm at a dog show, I don't work and because I work all the time, I've been using dog shows as an anti-work crutch of sorts.

I need to figure out other ways to save myself from myself.

But back to agility. I’ve trained a number of dogs and lots of students in the sport of agility and the golden rule for all of them is: You don’t show until you know (and I know) you’re ready. Then you will succeed and qualify.

I’m not so much about break-neck speed or showing to win; I’m all about having fun and walking into the ring confidently, so you’ll have a good time. And, of course, because I want you to be successful.

Success in the dog show ring breeds more success in the dog show ring -- especially when it comes to performance events.

So along those lines, I’ve never shown a dog in agility before he was 2 years old, because generally, with the methods I use, it takes that long to be ring-ready.

Driver’s 15 months old. Even with my poor math skills, I know that this is a far cry from 24 months.

And, I know that although he’s getting the hang of this sport of agility – he’s not there yet. Plus, we’ve been spending our time getting ready for the stand-and-eat-food ring, which believe it or not, does take some training.

When I compete in agility, which is my favorite dog sport, my pooches are generally not the fastest ones in the ring, but they are usually the most consistent – because that’s how I train.

I take lots of time to teach the fundamentals and I don’t enter an agility trial until I’m sure my dog is ready to rock and roll. Then we pretty much blast through all the levels for our titles and have a good timing in the process.

So why I decided to enter Driver this soon in the training? I haven’t a clue, but I'll use the work thing as the best excuse I can find.

So, as tomorrow got closer and closer, I was pretty much dreading it.

Hello, this is a sport I’m supposed to enjoy with my dog because win or lose, qualify or not, agility is supposed to be fun.

Yet I KNEW we weren’t ready, so it was becoming really un-fun in my head, and try as I might to laugh off all the things that I KNEW would go wrong tomorrow, it wasn't happening.

In fact, I was stressing out about something that's supposed to be fun.

So I decided late this afternoon that if I knew we weren’t ready to show, and I knew we weren’t going to have fun, and I knew all sorts of bad things could happen when it was our turn -- why in heaven’s name was I insisting on showing?

I was forcing myself and my dog to show because I’d paid the entry fees.

Well, ya know what? Tough ‘toogies’ – I’ve wasted lots of money before on things, and although I’m trying to stop doing that now, this is one instance where I’ve decreed: It’s OK.

Because when we are ready to show, agility WILL be fun and we WILL have a good time and chances are pretty good that we WILL be successful and quality.

So there.

Chalk up another smart decision for the future of my young agility dog.

We’ll find something else that's fun to do tomorrow.

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