In most things in life I am not a patient person. I do not like to wait. If I have a question I want answers now. If I want to eat something I do, which totally explains my weight issues doesn’t it? If I have applied for a job or ordered something quite frankly I want it now. In most parts of my life this holds true. But when it comes to the dogs, I have learned some patience. And I have failed some patience.
I love to compete with my dogs. I enjoy having goals and working toward those goals. But I have learned that while it may be fun to go out and try things without much preparation not every dog can handle that. I was spoiled with Magic. He is a once in a lifetime dog and has pretty much all along done anything I asked of him, no matter how unprepared he was. And really do a pretty fair job of it.
But I learned along the way that in all cases that might not have been the best approach. Sure we were relatively successful but how much more could we have done with more preparation. I learned this fairly early on when he told me in no uncertain terms he did not enjoy competing in obedience. Since he can’t tell me I can only guess that came about because I pushed him. But he made it clear to me the day he refused to heel and laid and watched the entire heeling pattern.
So with my next dog, Grace, I didn’t push. I figured we had time, time to perfect the skills, time to become a better team. We didn’t have that time.
Now I have other dogs I am working with, and trying to figure out what is that correct balance. And part of making those decisions is the fact that quite frankly I am terrified of losing another dog early as I did Grace. How to balance the enjoyment of being with the dogs, competing, because I do love that part of the game, with the thought of being truly ready. Is anyone ever ready? How do you decide. I know my dogs could care less if they ever competed. That part is for me and I know that. Now that Magic is retired though, I can tell that he misses it. He may not have understood it all as competing, but he certainly understood the being with me and getting to play those games that he loved like barn hunt and agility.
How do you decide when is the right time? How do you decide when it’s OK to go out and enjoy the ride, failures and all, rather than stay home searching for perfection? For now, I know my younger dogs are not yet ready for every challenge out there, but I think with a couple we are almost there-almost at the point where it’s time to start facing those new challenges. And I am impatient to start.