Among other things

It’s a blogging cliché to excuse one’s online absence due to real-life intrusion but alas, there is no other reason. June is the busiest month at my organisation and since it began I haven’t had much time to think about anything other than work. Don’t worry, poor Shiva’s training hasn’t been neglected, it’s just been placed lower on the priority list. Instead of working religiously on weaves, she’s been spending more time just playing around. So far, I haven’t heard any complaints.

But, tonight it’s back to work! After a two-week break, we have agility class at Fetch and then another class tomorrow across the bridge. We’d better get our brains back together!

I’ve been pretty stressed out about Shiva’s progress lately. Sometimes it seems like she’s really getting something, and then the next time we attempt it, it’s as if she’s never seen the equipment before in her life. The last agility class we attended two weeks ago, I spent most of the time just trying to get her attention. She had tons of fun running around stealing food from the other dogs but she had very little interest in the class itself. Part of the reason may have been the fact that she had destroyed her bait bag (for the 38959th time) and we hadn’t been able to get a new one before the session. With only her squeaky duck for reinforcement (something she loves around the house but could care less about any where else), she may have just decided she’d find her rewards elsewhere. Our trainer suggested that Shiva may have just reached a point where the equipment itself is over-stimulating. She just needs some more practice and time in order to use all that energy productively.

Hmmm. Maybe.

Part of it also, though, is probably me. Okay, more than part of it. I can get pretty nervous when working in front of a group, even a group as small as our classes. Even just working in front of one instructor. It’s something I’m getting better at and something that agility is helping me with, but the nervousness can crop up at random. Especially if Shiva is already acting insane. The crazier she is, the more stressed I am, which just makes her crazier, and on and on and on. There are times also I feel a certain amount of pressure as a handler. Shiva is amazingly talented and athletic. Everyone loves watching her. If she’s not performing something properly or is not improving at a rapid pace, it’s my fault. To a certain extent, I feel like I’m letting her down.

So. Today, I’m trying not to think about the possibility of my nutty dog running around like an idiot tonight. Today, I’m trying to just focus on the fun. Isn’t that why we started all this in the first place? For the fun? If we make mistakes, if Shiva loses her head, if she forgets what she’s supposed to do with a tire jump, who cares, right? It’s not about what other people think. It’s not about proving something. It’s about getting out with my wonderful dog and having a good time. That is exactly what I am going to do.