Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Putting agility complaints into perspective

I have noticed a growing trend of agility competitors complaining about trial facilities and more specifically, running surfaces.  It's always too hot, too cold, too dusty, not enough crate space, bad food and so on.  For the running surface they complain if it's too soft, too loose, too hard, too wet, too dry, too deep, uneven, or slippery. 

Is every location or surface ideal?  Certainly not.  But is it worth getting upset over, refusing to trial at that site again, boycotting the host club or leaving early?  Personally, I don't think so.  Now if you feel that your dog is at risk of injury on a particular surface that's different.  But just because it's not "ideal" or your dog runs different or slower is that really worth getting all worked up over?  And can you really blame lack of QQ's or knocked bars on the running surface?  Let's face it, AKC does not have a high Q rate to begin with no matter what surface.  This leads me to believe there are more factors than the running surface involved.

And I don't want to sound all high and mighty like I've never complained.  Sure there are some surfaces I like better or my dog likes better, but  unless it was dangerous then I would never not go there again or hold it against the club.  It's not that big of a deal.  Remember, most of these venues were not designed for dog sports.  Therefore they are not going to be perfect.  And even the multi-million dollar venues like the new Purina Event Center which was made for dogs is not perfect.  Sure it's unfortunate that both floors they have tried are not perfect for agility, but it's still a climate-controlled facility with great lighting, lots of crate space, grass to potty dogs and a decent concession stand. 

And I don't blame NADAC for not wanting to run their nationals there this year due to the floor.  But that's because it is a national event where many very fast dogs will be running the surface for the first time.  But for local trials where not much is at stake and most dogs are used to it, no big deal.

Be real.  We are not talking about world championships, the Olympics, or professional sports where athletes and coaches are paid millions of dollars.  This is LOCAL DOG AGILITY.  It's just supposed to be fun.  Sure there are titles and ribbons and points to be earned but if you are only in it for those things maybe you need to reevaluate your motivation.

We should just be thankful we have happy healthy dogs that are willing to do this with us every weekend, that we have friends to share it with, that we have the time and finances to support our addiction and that any given weekend we can drive a few hours to enjoy the sport we all love.  So what if it's in a crowded soccer arena or dusty horse barn.  We could have it a lot worse. Just watch the news.


Sue said...

Sometimes it's hard to remember that it's all about having fun with your dog, especially when your dog decides to act like a doofus. I try to keep telling myself that it's for the fun and the teamwork.

I felt really sorry for a couple of the dogs on Sunday. They were trying so hard to please their people and the people were waving their arms like windmills. No wonder the dogs didn't know where to go.

Nicki said...

I totally agree Sue. Some of those dogs get yelled at and scolded when it's generally always their handlers fault. I've seen someone tell their dog it was unacceptble that he got no double Q's that weekend. As if the dog understands. And it looks bad to the public that are watching.

Kathy said...


Sara said...

Well said. That's why I like my local DOCNA trials. Unlike other venues I've tried, no one really complains about anything.

Noboday likes a whiner.

Valeri said...

Yes! Thank you Nicki!

tervnmal said...

You said it!

Border Collie Mom said...

I agree, Nicki. Last year we did two 2-day trials back to back, outdoors at Purina and it rained continuously all 4 days. We complained some... but looking back, it was one of the most fun trials we ever did. Sure, we were wet, tired, muddy, and sometimes cold, but it became a joke, and the seriousness of competition was forgotten. As long as the surface isn't dangerous, we'll be there... unless there is a show closer!