Monday, January 30, 2012

Agility or Not?

We've been pondering that question a lot lately. We got an email about agility class registration for March and are trying to decide if we want to go back. My last trial was in April 2011 and my last class was in May 2011. Five years ago when mom was deciding to get a dog, she knew she wanted a Sheltie and she knew she wanted to do agility. Even though I was her first dog, I was going to trials to hang out at the age of 4 mos. There were trials about once a month only 20 minutes from my house. We would go and watch for a couple hours and come home. It was fun! Then after some not-so-great classes and some ok trials, we got into classes with one of the best teachers around here and mom loved it! She loved the learning and the escape from daily life! But I enjoyed agility more in the backyard than at classes or at trials.

So agility became a thing of worrying - why was I going so slowly, was I hurt, did I see ok (do I have ETS), was I warmed up enough, etc.... On top of all of that, we didn't like the trial atmosphere - the waiting and waiting for our turn, the attitudes, the traveling (because trials were no longer offered 20 minutes from us), the money spent on entries, etc....

In the past 8 months we have just been having fun. We do agility for fun in the backyard! I go really fast especially if there is a target plate involved. I am excited to get out there. Or some times we go weeks without practicing agility. We don't worry nearly as much - about ETS, injury, going all over town to acclimate me to different environments. I learn new tricks and some obedience moves, and we don't worry if I will only do treiball in the house or retrieve a dumbbell in the house. Some weeks we do video and post for tricky t-day and some weeks we don't. We go on off-leash walks in the park and enjoy ourselves. In general we are just more relaxed.

Because I enjoy agility at  home so much these days, mom is tempted to go back to class and maybe trial with me again - we would have to start over in novice preferred so that I can jump 8". That would be ok. But it seems that when we think of all the pros and cons, the list of cons is much longer. Hmm.....

One more thing - mom has been considering hijacking my blog permanently and writing from her point of view! I am sure you have noticed that she often leaves comments without consulting me at all. When I started blogging, it was cute and all about my training. Then mom met so many people through blogging and it all became more than just a blog by a dog. She feels like she has real friends out there and might want to stop hiding behind me. What do you guys think?

Gotta zoom!



Sara said...

Count me as your mom's friend!!! But, I love Ricky too :)

I hear you! All this training/trialing can add stress to an already stressed life.

Even though Chewy, my little social butterfly, may be ok at trials, I'm thinking...would he rather be at home running around the yard? Not sure if spending long days on the weekend, locked up in a crate half the day, is a good thing.

Oreo will definitely not be in any more trials, and probably no more classes either.

If I do trial with Chewy it will be in small trials, where he will have lots of time to play, and less time waiting around. But, we'll cross that bridge later.

For now, I'll continue bringing him to class once a week, because he does love that.

Dogs (and humans) only live once, so we have to decide what will bring us all the most happiness.

I'm sure Ricky might like to go back to class after a long break. You could always try and go from there. Is there a class you could pay for weekly? I like when they give you that option, because you can try it and if it's not working out you don't feel like you have to go because you paid for it.

Diana said...

Well,you could start back into agility slowly. Like , just take a class. See how it goes, and then decide what your next step will be. If you like class, great. If you don't, then stop. It's suppose to be fun for you and your dog. To tell you the truth, I don't like going to trials either. I feel like an outcast. Do what is fun for you!! Same with your blog. Lol if you don't want to do tricks or video tape them, then don't. Will still keep reading because we like you and Rickey.

Diana said...

Oops, I spelled Ricky's name wrong and misspelled we'll by writing will. Sorry.

Nicki said...

You could always just try it out and see-if you don't have fun, just go back to the backyard. And I think it's ok for you to share your blog with your mom!

Lian said...

This is a very tricky situation. If you enjoyed doing backyard agility and find trial and classes to stressful. Then, you should stick to backyard agility. Your mom can learn handling through internet and practice with you at the backyard where you are more relax. She can also go to some classes to watch people doing agility and learn from there too.

I love watching you doing tricks and learning some Obedience stuff. I think you are very clever, maybe not enjoying the trail. If your mom can tryout Obedience trial with you, would you be happier?

I am sure when your mom take over the blog, she will be mentioning more about you too and of course, we love you Ricky!

Reilly / Denny Cowspotdogs said...

Well why not try just a couple of times and if it's stressing the Ricky out - just drop it. You will have found out for sure that way whether agility trials are for him or not and you won't have to ponder anymore. Not every dog is suited for trials.....but if Ricky is just happy being a home body and having fun ....don't see anything wrong with that - unless YOU want more in which case you might need to consider getting another sheltie to try the trials with.

Sam said...

Is dropping in to class an option, before committing to a full session? I do think it's worth a try, especially since you've given him lots of time to de-stress.

Are there any venues besides AKC in your area? I know that it's tough for a lot of dogs to wait around at AKC trials, but smaller venues like CPE and NADAC allow for more runs per day and less waiting around time.

I think it's OK to let mom take over the blog. Marge has only had the pleasure of writing on my blog twice - it's named after her, but I do all the talking!

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

Hmmm...that's tough! If Ricky legitimately doesn't care for trials and class scenarios, there's nothing at all wrong with continuing backyard agility. It'll save a lot of money, too! Are there ever matches that you can attend? Or like Sam said, drop in to a class?

There's no harm in trying again. If Ricky still doesn't like it, then you know for sure. Better to know and be certain than question it.

My vote - go to class for another session. If Ricky hates the first class, then you're out some money, but you have to try to find out. Maybe the time off was what was needed. Plus, dropping back to Novice will take some pressure off him, too.

As far as your mom taking overr the blog, let her! I haven't let Layla write herself ever. You can still tell her what to write.

Good luck with your decision!

Schnauzer Days said...

Hi Tricky!! Great to see you after our time away :-) Our Mom knows how your Mom feels, she did agility and showing with her old dog and loved it for a while but it took over and she felt she wasn't doing it for Piper, he was much happier running around in the muddy fields than waiting around in halls. She might find that a while away will renew her enthusiasm, when our Mom got us she decided not to do anything with us apart from basic training and so we've never competed in anything - apart from getting to the treat tin first! We'd love to hear more about your Mom so step out Mom!! Look forward to reading more, bye for now Ricky! ex and Lou xxx

Xsara and Tani said...

Hm, that's a tough one. Both of my dogs really enjoy trials, they get even more hyper than in training. But I never feel stressed on competitions, or even if I'm stressed before, all my worries go away when I concentrate on my dog. We're lucky because we have really nice atmosphere in Slovenia, competitions are a friendly environment, we all know each other, we have amazing teams so it's never boring, almost all competitions are surrounded by nature so you can go for a walk instead of just waiting for your turn. So I guess my suggestion is - move to Slovenia :)

Diana said...

Hey I just thought of something. Do on-line classes. Im doing that on-line running contacts class and I really like it. You get an assignment,work on it, send in your video and they let you know what is right and what is wrong.Usually you need to post more than one video to try to get it right, so lots of feed back. There isnt direct socialization but you can still get to know poeple thur their post. You can be as active on the list as you want.You get to just practice in your own yard or where ever you want.

corbinwooten said...

That is a tough decision. Sometimes I get too bogged down in competition and have to take a step back and remember why I'm doing it at all--to have fun!

One thing that really helped was to come up with something to do that always makes me smile, and makes my dogs happy. For Lexi, it's tugging and fetching. We tug and fetch for 5 minutes before EVERY run. If we're training, we tug in between while I think about mistakes/corrections/better ways to do things. It keeps me up (look how much fun she's having!) and of course Lexi loves it.

I like Diana's idea of taking an online class (though they are a bit pricey), or the idea of just doing one class and seeing how it goes and how you feel.

I think that the mental aspect of the game is the hardest part.

Priscilla said...

That's really a tricky decision!

I've read the comments and everyone has given many wonderful suggestions.

If you think backyard training is more fun and stress free, then continue all the fun at home. However, if you really want to give trial another go, just like many friends' suggestions, go to those classes that you can try it out. Diana's online classes sounds good too but I've heard that it can be quite costly. How about learn it from youtube? It's free and there is always someone there who is willing to share their tips and secrets.

We don't do agility due to Eva's weak hind legs and we sort of stop learning lots of new tricks these days. I'm quite caught up with lots of housework and teaching lately, by the end of the day, I'm just tired and don't feel like doing anything serious. So what I do with Eva is always something spontaneously, and I just want to make it fun so both of us are happy.

We always love your tricks and videos and I also always hope my Eva can be as clever as you. LOL. You're a clever boy and I'm sure you will tell your mom what you really want in your life.

Follow your heart, Ricky!

Bty, I think it's okay if your mom wants to take over the blog because you are always the most important one in her posts.

Hugs to you and your mom.

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

We are your friends, Ricky's mom!

Ludo van Doggy said...

Hm, it is a tough decision. We started going to classes aimed at competition but I really didn't like it. We don't have very many trial events in my area anyway. Ludo gets stressed waiting and barks a lot so I decided it wasn't for us. We went to some fun classes for a while but I think he prefers doing the trick and obedience stuff. I'd just go with your gut instinct.

As for whether you or your mom write your blog maybe you could take it in turns?

corbinwooten said...

I had another idea...if you're looking for more challenges, or new ideas, or a class-like atmosphere, but don't want to pay the $$$ could try setting something up here on your blog.

I was part of a sheltie forum where for a little bit about once a week we posted "How Would You Handle This?" challenges and each week someone came up with a sequence, and people posted about their difficulties, successes, and a video of them executing the exercises. Just a thought!

Johann The Dog said...

Ahhh, Ricky! You know we've had the same thoughts sometimes. What we finally did was just decide to go and do what was fun. That's one of the reasons we don't do classes anymore and train in the yard and do run thrus instead. And why we don't do five runs a day at USDAA. We eased in slowly and enjoy every run as if it's our last. We know you will make the best decision for you, no matter what anyone says. You know you better than anyone. But I do have to say, I like talking to you Ricky, I can see your Mum on FB :).

Kathy said...

I enjoy when your mom is talking and of course I love your point of view Ricky when you want to express your view???so maybe a blend???? LOL, sharing is good. I struggle with the same thing your mom has, I really enjoy the challenge of really learning about agility, I love trying new training but it can get stressy and some of the trappings around the whole thing and the pressure we put on ourselves can zap the fun out, and it is hard to keep the focus of having fun in mind and shut the rest of it out

pooky said...

well, it sounds like you made up your mind already...if you and Ricky are happy the way you are then I say no agility....follow you heart:))))

Dawn said...

Hey Ricky, Sounds like your mom is getting sort of bored hanging around the back yard all the time. So maybe take a class...that doesn't mean you have to go to a trial. Or do the fun run throughs and see how it goes. Katie is really happy to be back at school and we may not do anything more than one more rally trial. If that.

As for the blog..well, it's good to share, right? And your Mom does all sorts of things that are fun and interesting and we'd like to read all about it!

Count us as your friends! We sure count you as friends to us!

Sagira said...

I think that is sounds like Ricky is telling you that he doesn't really want to trial. You are right about many of the things involved with trialing but there are also good sides, when the runs go well and you feel all the training has paid off, even though some have attitudes you also have friends there cheering you on all the way. Maybe try to trial once again in preferred and see how it goes. April 6-8th is CATC at Sports Barn if you want to come watch and hang out. But it sounds like you are doing great just having fun at home and a lot less stressful.

Maybe you can keep Ricky's blog and start a blog for you as well?