Thursday, August 20, 2009

What we have here, is a failure to communicate...

As many of you know I am teaching my husband, Andy, all about agility. He wanted a little dog and when my friend Bonnie decided to breed her JRT's I thought that might be a nice cross. Sturdy dog I could not sit on and kill, something that could take our pack of BC's with stride and if it got rolled would not break a leg. AND I loved that both his parents (Busy and Max) were not the scrappy "I will kick your ass" types. Which is good because we have strong alpha dogs in the house (well mainly one :-)) and we need dogs that don't have high pack goals. So Crackers came home :)

I am NOT a little dog person and I made it very clear to Andy (who IS a little dog person--100%) that Crackers CAN walk and CAN be treated just like a big dog. So he ran in the grass, the wet (gasp) grass, played in mud, got dirty, got wet, got cold, and he goes for walks in the Minnesota winter with his coat on when it is -20 outside...no complaining on his part :) Just runs and plays.

He thinks he is a BC, runs his heart out and is very biddable. He has a GREAT recall (is hardly ever on leash, does not go off sniffing things, and has awesome focus and drive. He runs agility in the cold, the wet, the sunny, whatever conditions (yes I made Andy go outside and run him in all that)...and although I know there were times Andy wanted to strangle me (as happens in EVERY marriage (grin))...he now sees why I asked him to do the things he has had to do with Crackers.

Yes these things were important for agility...but also for life just as a pet...a dog that has to be cooped up all winter long (and in MN it is really LONG....) will go crazy. So he needed to be able to walk whenever. And just life lessons and manners are important for ANY dog.

So Andy wanted to do agility...and at first it was "oh look at my dog do agility" "what fun he is having"....and it has morphed into the obsession most of us know of as being an agility addict. He wants to not only run agility...he wants to do well. As you can see from the videos he and Crackers are doing awesome :) They just need more miles before they trial. I personally don't like trialing a dog before they are 18 months...and for us that is fine since USDAA (the venue of choice) doesn't allow it. So Crackers is 14.5 months old...so 3.5 months left of "experience and miles" different equipment, different locations, etc etc etc. So he can be confident in his abilities...he AND Andy :)

Which brings me to the title of this blog entry...Failure to communicate. What is harder than teaching you ask? Teaching your spouse...

Some lessons (yes he gets free lessons----like one every month....MAYBE 2 a month! LOL) we seem to be able to communicate, I can help him, and he does a great job with Crackers...and we both accomplish a lot...it is a great time, and I appreciate the fact that he is enjoying the sport with me....something we share and with our busy lives that can be a hard thing sometimes.

He is great about doing homework, and always comes to the next lesson having mastered the homework...if all students could be like this!!! :)

Then there are other times...

I believe I am speaking Russian while he is blurting out some Middle Eastern dialect of unknown origin. We point, we look at each other, I demo, he looks confused and we get nothing accomplished...yep. That about sums it up :) I think he should have it figured out faster, he thinks I am being too pushy. He can't remember courses, I can't remember what skills we are even working on. We both leave tired and irritated...and Crackers gets a LOT of tugging during that hour...and Crackers is none the wiser :)

It used to affect us for the rest of the evening...but now we have both learned to just shrug it off as "tired and stressed from the day" and go on with our lives.

Not sure what triggers these times, but BOY ARE THEY FRUSTRATING. Since you can't just go home and forget it...you have to live with this person and the frustration or other emotions have to be put aside. Personal from professional...hard to do with a spouse.

But despite those failures in communication, things are getting done, skills are learned and they become a better team. I think they will be MORE than ready when they start trialing. And I know with the great people in Minnesota, he will get lots of cheers and positive support...even if we can't communicate :)

3 comments:

An English Shepherd said...

Great post. Chip sounds just like your JRT Crackers. He thinks he is a Collie as well but does flyball.

I am teaching him to be an English Shepherd ;-)

Wizz :-)

Taryn said...

I think problems often arise when one spouse tries to teach the other spouse a sport. It just doesn't seem to go as smoothly as when teaching an ordinary student. That you can do it at all and still speak to each other says great things about the two of you! My spouse has zero interest in agility, but if he did, I'd send him out to someone else for lessons!

fulltiltbcs said...

Totally agree with you Taryn :)

I would like him to be able to take some lessons with other people...but we are far away from super great instruction that it can be hard :(

So he is stuck with me! LOL