Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frustration


Yesterday was my day to teach the Co-Op class out at the field.   It starts at 5pm and is 40 minutes from my house. I get off work at 3:30 , go home get the dogs. Jump in the car. Get there at 4:40 and start building the course.  Im done by 5pm. But man that killed me.  I just dont think I can keep building the courses by myself. Lugging out tunnels and sand bags. Pulling the a-frame and teeter around. Ugh! Then class starts. We hardly have any time to work because its getting dark. So you feel so rushed.  We are having lights put out there but they havent gone up yet.  I got to run Miley a couple of times but she was over the top.   Jumped all her contacts repeatedly. The more I marked that it was wrong with a verbal. The worse she got. It was weird.  She would jump the contact, I marked it. Made her run the whole contact again. She got it right. I gave her a reward. Then the next run, she jumped the contact even higher. So defeating.  Then it was dark. I turned the head lights of my car on the field so I could clean up.   One student stayed to help me clean up so that was nice.  It was her birthday and she had made cup cakes.  I let Java out of the car since she didnt get any work time.  I forgot about the cup cakes on the table. So she helped herself to one of them. I got her quickly so she just got some frosting.  I felt bad. I apologized but still....    So driving home Im going thur the contemplation of quitting agility.  Im mean I would still work my dogs but just not go to trials anymore.  Lets face it, Im just not good at it. I mean really , would you continue to trial if you had been in Exc. A jumpers for 2 years with no Q's. Open standard 2 years with one Q because your dog stresses at the table.  I read peoples blogs and they are upset because they have gone to a couple of trials with no Q's and I think, "Ha, thats nothing".   But I keep having hope that Im going to get it and figure it out.  LOL.  And now I dont even want to go to the trial Im signed up for this weekend.
Then while driving home I run into a huge traffic jam. A tractor trailer  is stuck on the ramp that joins the two highways. OMG, I thought I was going over the edge. I finally get home. Feed the dogs and Im fit to be tied.  Then Java does that cute thing with the bones in her mouth, pictured above, and everything feels better again.

17 comments:

Dawn said...

Aww...she's saying "Don't give up on us Mom!" I know you're tired, but we love agility! Come play!

I think agility with no Q's must be frustrating...but it still must be fun to spend time with your dogs doing something you love...if you love it. Otherwise maybe give yourself a break and take one.

Also, no way should you have to build that course by yourself. Ever. If the students want you to run a class then they need to get there 1/2 an hour early and lug stuff for you. Because that's just too much for any one person to do. Shame on all of them for not staying to help put it away.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Sounds like a nightmare with running from work to home to the field, setting up all alone (you should require people come early to help), trying to beat the clock with the sun going down, the traffic jam. Miley was feeding off your frustration I think. It's not that you are bad at agility at all - you just have so much to do and are stressed. I really don't know how you get through it all and admire you for your strength!

Java is a real cutie - glad she made you smile!

Sara said...

Puppies are way better than prozac :)

Is it weird that I'm jealous Java got to eat frosting and I didn't?

Hope you have a better today, and that you have tomorrow off!

corbinwooten said...

I love it when our dogs remind us why we love life!

I think that agility can be really frustrating when you are competitive (and it sounds like you are). It's even worse because you're competing against yourself. You know how much time you've spent working with Miley, and you know what she's capable of in practice, and you just can't put it together.

My goal (and I have yet to figure out how to get there) is to try to break down a trial and set small goals. I want to forget about Qing, and forget about getting that perfect contact with Bentley, or getting a clean run with Lexi. I have to ask myself what was GOOD about that run? What did we improve upon? Did we do something better than at our last trial? And then celebrate those small victories instead of agonizing over the big defeats and mistakes.

I know that I'm not in the same situation as you, but Bentley hasn't gotten a Masters Standard Q ever. And every time it's because of the contacts. We stopped entering it because it would just upset me. He's been in Masters for a year now. At our last trial he slowed down on his a-frame contact. He didn't stop in a 2o2o, but he slowed down. And I surprised myself by being pleased. Yes, it's not what I wanted, and it was ugly, but it's showing improvement. I want to be able to be happy with that (and usually it's not enough). Same with Lexi. She took an off course, but I thought back to a situation where she wanted to take an off course, but checked in with me and didn't. Baby steps I guess.

Diana said...

Sara, Friday isnt a holiday for us. Weird huh?

manymuddypaws said...

Don't quit. Just re-evaluate and maybe change your goals.

If I took my dogs to agility straight from being at work all day they would be crazy too- wicca especially. And I know with Wicca if I am amped up, or rushed, or tired, or cranky, or whatever she will pick up on that and act badly. Dogs feel that. I try to only work my dogs when I can actually focus totally on them, and when I am in the right mind set. It really makes a different to my dogs.

Anyway, just some random thoughts early in the morning. :)

Diana said...

Amanda, I think you are right. It wasnt fair to her. She has a lot of energy to burn and not letting her burn that off first what just setting up for failure. thanks, Diana

Anonymous said...

I think you should refuse to set those courses by yourself. Thats just not right. Have some people come early to help. Java does look so very cute in the picture. - Diane

cedarfield said...

I can't tell you how many times I've thought about selling my equipment and quitting agility! I usually take a break for awhile and then I'm ready to go again.
Teaching is really hard work even though it's very rewarding, too. Don't be a martyr, ask for help. chances are your students will be happy to help.

Sam said...

I bet the stress of having to rush through a class in the dark made matters worse for you and Miley. There really is nothing worse than a rough session of agility.. it's supposed to be a way to relax and unwind, and a lot of times doesn't feel like that!!

I know you attend a lot of different seminars and camps and stuff and practice a lot at home, but can you squeeze some time in for some scheduled private lessons or regular classes at your club? I know that when I'm stuck in an agility rut and attempt to practice on my own, I tend to make things worse. And there's only so much video can show.

Helen said...

Hope today is better for you. I know sometimes its struggle to stay motivated. My Ceilidh loved to spin and jump from contacts. It took us three years to get out of Advanced Standard, with only one Q a year. But she loved agility and she was so exciting to run. Try and stay focused on the things your dog does well in the trials.

K-Koira said...

Sounds to me like its time to take a break. I LOVE flyball, but when we don't have upcoming tournaments, I will skip a week or even a month of practicing and just do other stuff with my dogs. Then, when I miss going to practice and working with my teammates, I go back, and enjoy it all the more. And, if I ever come to a point where I don't miss it, that will be the point where it is time to quit for good.

Your dogs will love doing any activity with you that you enjoy doing with them; they don't NEED to do agility. So, take a break. Maybe try out a different sport for a while, rally, flyball, scootering, etc, or just take a break from it all and hang out with your dogs.

And, it should be expected that everyone helps either set up or tear down. If they can't make it early to set up due to work, they help afterwards to tear down, and vice versa. That's how our flyball setup works, and it really does work. You can't do it all by yourself, and certainly should not have to.

Elf said...

A couple of instructors around here who've had to set up/tear down equipment for class make it a requirement for students to show up a little early or stay a little late to help. One can't keep doing that forever--it's physically and emotionally exhausting and will wreck your back.

OK--Boost: 80 Masters Jumpers runs in the last 4 years, with exactly 3 Qs to show for it. 29 Grand Prix runs in the last 3 years with exactly 1 Q to show for it. It has crossed my mind to stop with this dog--but I'm still there!

Sophie said...

I don't think you should quit trialling. Sometimes just having so many pressures at once can overwhelm you, but you don't want to pull out of trials completely and regret it. It seems like you're getting better all the time, too!

vici whisner said...

Find the inner fun! What is important? Too many get hung up on the q'd. I'm learning to get hung up in the fun. Trials are for me about little successes. As long as I'm having fun, I'll keep going.

Marie said...

I'm glad that Java was able to make you feel better that evening. I know I'm reading this kind of late. I do understand the frustration about agility, though over different challenges. I haven't written anything on Dare's blog cause I'm just so discouraged about everything. I think a lot of times that I should just get off of the internet, because I can't seem to stop making comparisons with how littermates, other dogs in general around the same age, younger dogs (that one really gets me), all seem to be progressing and I feel stuck in a rut we just can't climb out of. It sucks. I truly empathize with you.

Nicki said...

It can be hard to stay motivated with a dog that stresses. Maybe focus on the new dog and just to some fun training stuff with Miley. Then when Java is ready to trial you can see where Miley is.