07 June 2012

All about the attitudes, part 2, the addendum part that started as response to comments but now where I'll explain you just a little more.

When I started doing agility, and first started competing, when was that-8 years ago, maybe, I hadn't realized that hanging out at a dog show meant being surrounded all day by a bunch of mostly ladies, mostly middle aged ones, who took themselves very seriously.

Not a lot of sense of humor there.

At that time, yes, a lot of people were pointedly mean spirited, directly to me and indirectly.

As time went on, I got better and my dog got better and I started running other dogs and I got more dogs and we were all doing better and Rob started teaching me. I grew a thicker and thicker skin. And I got a little bit more, WTF, when some damn bitchy lady was an asshole, and would probably always be an asshole, I learned to let it go.

People aren't much mean to me anymore. I sometimes overhear snide things, one of my dogs is freaky and one of my dogs runs slow at dog shows. People have their opinions why and so do I. Oh, and those backhanded, kind of passive aggressive remarks, usually about my dogs? I think it's sad when that's how people talk. That's their unfortunate problem. They're stuck like that. Also, I have this little blog thing, which a few people read, and perhaps they think it might suck to appear as a story in which they are featured as, The Asshole. I, personally, run into things head on with my sense of humor. Which might not appeal to everyone, but it appeals to me.

I can see a bigger picture now, these years into agility. People do their best, which varies in terms of how best it is. I do an ok job. One of my dogs is a few pairs legs away from a Bronze PDCh and a Bronze LAA, and a lot of pairs legs away from a silver PDCh, if I want to measure her in Qs. Not so bad for a dog that just shows up on occasional Sundays to run. I run clean and fast on hard courses when we practice and in class with my dogs, and I've taught them to do amazing things. Yes. I would like to be out there KILLING it on courses with them, and winning every single damn thing at shows, every single time, don't get me wrong. I would like to have the fastest, best turning, best listening and focused dogs that there are. I've failed at teaching all of them to be cool competitors. I always thought they might be the Seabiscuit rags to riches dogs of such awesomeness that everybody would want to go get dogs off the side of the road so they could become super champs, too.

Didn't happen.

I still think they're good dogs, and that's the opinion that really matters. I got to work with what I've got, and what my dogs got, and that's just what we keep doing, and probably why we haven't thrown in the towel, because I know there's always more you can do.

What I figured out a while back is I don't listen anymore to opinions from people I have no respect for. So, like while it sucks for society and my neighborhood and our city and our state, and our country, and our world is a really messed up place in general, there are gonna be assholes out there. That's life, it's populated by all kinds of people and not everybody likes each other. That's not going to change. But I can take care of myself. It's a choice, that's something within my realm of control. I was reading some of all these little stories about attitude, and this one got it right on the head. By Tori! Who is not even old enough to drink and is already one of the best agility competitors in the world, as well as being an articulate thinker and writer and artist.

I'll leave you with her take on this. And also, don't worry about me. I can take on the assholes. Because that thick skin, while unsightly, works real good.


Unknown said...

I second that!!! Tori's post was spot on exactly what this world needed reminding of! You get to train with Nancy G!!!!! Lucky! My trainer (and I thought friend) of ten years was mad about her run so I used that terrible thing humor and joked that I would take her any time! (I would give up body parts for a lightning fast NQ vs our slow and steady NQ) She turned and told me (in front of the crowd) "why you can't even get 'that' dog around a course.
Thank goodness for that thick wrinkly (I am over 40 ;-) skin! I think all those words just got stuck in the wrinkles and got lost :-) So you continue to pay hommage to that hide of yours! They really do come in handy!

GooseMaverick said...

Great post! I show in AKC conformation too, I've had a lady run her Irish Wolfhound into my dog in groups, people stack to close to my dog to try and get her to move, professional handlers ignore you and stack in front of you. Then again I've met some new life long friends and professional handlers give me tips and help me out. So, these peeps will go after your dog too! I haven't yet had an agility lady sabotage my dog. I've gotten the looks though! Thanks again for the post and I will think about my attitudes.

BlackWhite said...

These last two posts have meant so much to me… thank you.
I’m just starting out in Agility with my dog and already in puppy classes I get comments. Those back handed, hurtful little digs.
I try not to let it kick me in the ass, but I’m human. It hurts. He’s my little pride and joy and I want the best for him.
I’m slowly learning to take everything with a grain of salt and concentrate on him. What makes him happy and to not give a crap what others say.
So thanks for letting me see that I’m not the only one out there in the world that’s on the wrong side of the agility clicks.
And thanks for the words of advice!

Terry A said...

and those people who go around dumping assholeness on everyone else, they aren't happy people. the ones w/no sense of humor, not happy people. you might even dredge up some compassionate pity for them, after a trial they have to go home and be their unhappy, bitter selves, they have to live w/themselves all the time. you can be aware that you love your dogs, you get pleasure out of life and it sounds like you pretty much enjoy being you. way to go!

Anonymous said...

No question some people are downright assholes, but I would also add that some people are just well-intentioned bumblers, and we can make the (agility) world a better place by focusing more on people's intentions and less on their bumbling. As I'm sure we may have noticed, dog sports tend to attract a lot of dog people . . . and dog people are not necessarily the most socially skilled. For a lot of them, there's a reason they're at the dog show and not out running for political office. And we're ALL really sensitive about our dogs. Combine a lot of socially inept people and a lot of super sensitive people and what you get is a lot of pissed off people. So in addition to trying to not be an asshole, we should also try to not attribute assholishness where none was intended. When your socially inept fellow exhibitor makes a stupid comment, save yourself some aggravation and assume they mean well, because most of them do!

cbandkona said...

Great posts! I've only competed at one show but I have already encountered some weirdness. The dog I run is quite little and I never thought for the life of me that he would blow an A-frame contact, which is exactly what he did on one of our runs. 99% of people were fabulous and encouraging telling me how awesome we're doing and I had a great time. I did get a comment shouted at me from a distance that we blew the A-frame because I taught my dog his contacts wrong. I just think it's misguided and I don't know if this lady realized how what she said came across. Things like that don't bother me, but it could definitely upset someone and turn them off of competing. There really is no reason to shout comments out at strangers who don't know you and I think your posts really bring up how we should be treating each other better. You shouldn't need thick skin to do things with your dog.

Jenn said...

I was going to say something, but I think Anon did a pretty good job here:

". . . and dog people are not necessarily the most socially skilled. For a lot of them, there's a reason they're at the dog show and not out running for political office. And we're ALL really sensitive about our dogs. Combine a lot of socially inept people and a lot of super sensitive people and what you get is a lot of pissed off people."

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon and jenn. I have a whack-job dog and I went thru years of rude and humiliating comments. This was during the evolution of the sport where if you couldn't train your dog to, say, tug, well then you were bad trainer. Genetics wasnt part of that landscape. Now, most seasoned agility folks realize that some dogs are just not meant to do agility whether it's for mental or physical reasons.

Well meaning people said very bad things to me. Were they assholes? Sometimes, but I think it so depended on their motivation. If it was in some way to further their own presence, then definitely they would qualify as an asshole. I found that tmost rude comments were founded on ignorance rather than trying to further ones own self. I like to think of that population as a dumb ass idiots, not neccessarily assholes-LOL

maryclover said...

Sometimes agility sucks and not because you blow a run, or forget the course or drop a bar, but because you listen when someone feels the need to belittle you. At times like these, I remember what Mame would say...consider the source. Mostly that helps and if it doesn't I still get to hang out with my best 2 legged and 4 legged friends so it can't be all bad.