Wednesday, July 11, 2012

i don't normally rant, but this is indeed, a rant.

I haven't been posted much related to dog training, or my dogs training. My life just is not the same these days. I miss Jane - like I might need help coping it's gotten so bad. I know people see my sadness, and I really do try to be up, but a part of me is missing, and it sucks ass. I miss Agility - but I can't bring myself to train it right now. Gyp is still off - yes she is sound, but I it's only been 5 weeks since she was injured ... I'm pushing her to 10-12 weeks of time off - I love my dog more than I love the sport ... it's true!!! We are moving, I'm overwhelmed, but excited. I put too much of my time into things that waste time and I need to change that. I am self employed - and that means I make my own money ... my time is valuable, and some people just don't get that. I run 3 businesses ... sounds fun right? Mostly it is, I set my hours, some which are crazy, but it is far from easy ... but I wouldn't change it for anything, my dog is lying beside me right now, and one is at my feet, I know I'm lucky.

The rest of my rant starts now ...

I'm pissed off because I get calls and emails from people who are coming from Agility training at other places, and want us to fix their dogs. Hmmm well, perhaps the first time you see a dog alpha rolled or jabbed in the side with a hand continually by the instructor you should walk away ... 8 weeks of class does not mean you are ready to run a course, and no it also doesn't mean your dog knows all equipment. You've done courses with 14 obstacles, after 8 weeks of class, really, no foundation whatso ever?? And you have competition in mind? Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a "just for fun" agility type class - as long as it is designed with fun and safety in mind.  It's sad and disgusting that people pay for classes like this where it is encouraged for the dog to go slow and submit "we are not supposed to let our dogs go fast, we need them to go slow so we have better control" she says. And it is all correction based - seriously. Squashing the dogs spirit and MAKING them do it - is not what any training is about in my opinion. They are living breathing, fun loving creatures - why treat them like anything less?? Isn't this sport supposed to FUN!!!!?? What is even more disgusting is that these people pay more than we charge for classes, and yet we get complaints that our classes have gotten pricy. We have raised prices by $3 a class over the past 3 years. We are half the price of some places in Calgary. I never feel like I'm good enough in what I do - which is a big part of my drive to better at the things I do, how do I justify charged $30 per class, I just can't do it. For the 4 or 5 months we run at the Arena in the winter it is just a break even, and actually, the last month of classes at the barn this year, we lost $200. The cost of classes is not what we make. 30% goes to the tax man, 5% GST, there is wear and tear and equipment maintenance, rental costs, business costs - accountant, insurance which is about $100 month, and it goes on .. I essentially volunteer 30 hours a month during that time. Most of my time is not spent teaching (the fun part), its spent planning, sending emails, going to the bank, doing books - and I get paid hardly anything when it is all said and done. We are a family and our group is amazing, I love people's dogs as if they are my own. I teach, train and play because I LOVE doing it, I am a horrible business person. But I will keep doing it as long as I see brilliant dogs and people emerge and do great things, nothing better than seeing happy dogs and happy people connecting - that is where I get paid, and there is nothing better.

I am far from a perfect trainer, no other dog makes my blood boil like Kaleb can - but I try my hardest to let him be him, he has taught me that, and taught me patience - but what I strive to do is built a relationship of trust and respect on both sides, have fun, and for the love of dog ... let your dog be themselves, squashing their spirit is awful and not what dogs where put on this earth for. They were put here to better us, and we owe that to them.

Rant done.


manymuddypaws said...

I think it's sad too. But IT comes down to the person in the class. To say hey- I'm not really comfortable with this, Maybe there is a better way. The instructor in this case will never change. Ever. She runs her dogs the same way she did 10 years ago. So I assume her training is also the same. Sad but true. It is up to the individual to e educated enough to realize that this way isn't the way for them. And sadly people don't. They believe what they are told. I see it every single day. And in my obedience classes. And in rescue. It's sad but we can't change the world- we just have to help people one by one to see the light and the fun that dog training should be.

On the flip side it is hard for people to get good training. Think about it- we have said every year for three years that we aren't doing beginner classes. Too busy, too many people in our group already. And every year we give in and do them anyway but after most of them have gone elsewhere. So unless we figure something else out we are going to continue to see this.

I don't mind the fixing if the person is open minded and is okay being put in a class where we don't teAch equipment. Lol. That's the only way to do it now. Saves a lot of trouble and frustration later if the person relearns from scratch.

I think we are great teachers. Or students show that in how they treat their dogs- with respect, fairness and joy. They also show it in their handling and the dogs understanding. We can only be as good as our students- and our students are pretty awesome. Don't self doubt so much!!! If we weren't doing a good job our classes wouldn't be full and people would stop coming to us.

Go Dog Go is a lot of work to run- I don't even see that part of it but I do know it is a lot of time and energy behind the scenes (as is most things). But as you said- our awesome friends and students and their equally awesome dogs are payback for that effort. :)

Cheer up Sarah. You have two great dogs at your feet right now and a whole lot of greatness in your life. Jane is gone but is still in your heart. Let that comfort you instead of pushing it away. If you miss the real life naughtiness you are welcome to borrow Wicca. She has more than a few Jane-isms. Although you'd have to duct tape your fridge closed.

WigglyZack said...

I don't respond much but you are a great teacher and a good person - doing a lot for others and their dogs. I know how hard it is to lose a dog like Jane, I went through a "bad patch" in my life when I lost my two Cavaliers within two weeks of each other - it was devastating and took me a long time to overcome. The pain never truly goes away but it does get easier over time. Life can be overwhelming at times and sometimes it's not fair. You have to do what is best for you and your life.

WigglyZack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

You guys are the best and I am so glad I came to you to fix my dog's problems in agility and you accepted us. As someone who was a complete newbie to agility (all dog sports actually) I had no idea how things were supposed to be taught. It's unfortunate that it took Iz getting as bad as she did for me to realize that what we were doing was the wrong way.

I'm forever grateful that you guys have given me the tools to bring back my playful, bratty, snot of a dog. It makes me tear up a little thinking about what I put her through and how far we've come thanks to you guys. You have done so much for us and for that I am grateful.

I love how close our group is. We laugh and cry together and support each other fully. It's something that seems to be unique to our group. You guys put everything into teaching, your heart and soul and your knowledge. You care for your students on every level. That is what makes a truly great teacher and the success of your students is a testament to your greatness.

As for price? I paid more at the other place. There is not a damn thing wrong with your pricing. You guys are worth every penny you want to charge.

You know you're welcome to borrow Izzie any time for your little dog fix. She may not be quite as feisty as a terrier but she does give some ace cuddles.

Unknown said...

I follow your and others in your group blogs because of the positive attitude, proper training methods and adorable dogs!

How you treat beginners to the world of dog sports comes through as positive and encouraging all the time. That is something other trainers are not as good at doing.

Knowing there is a group who understands and is laughing with me not at the only reason why I get back to training and try again.

Merinda said...

I think a lot of "trainers" forget what it's like to be a beginner. And a lot of the bad trainers don't actually want their students to outshine them. I find that my students outperforming me is highest compliment I can receive regarding my worth as an instructor. I love to see them do well :)

Kathy said...

I'm with Tammy. Haven't met you, but have heard about you. Wish I lived closer! Keep up the good work. Also sorry about the loss of yoru dog. No harm in getting some help to deal with grief.

Jenilee said...

Thanks for all you do! EVERYTHING!

Loretta Mueller said...

Oh hon...I have been there and done that. You just have to stick to what you want. Help the DOGS...focus on the DOGS. That's the key. Hugs girl..

onecollie said...

Yup it sucks about all the bad trainers out there, I know first hand because Tate was trained elsewhere, he has the basics & can make it through a trial, but he does not have the foundation & understanding that Kort has!
My question is, did you always train beginners without equipement ? or is this something you learned along the road to being better instructors, I think the other instructors haven't come to this realization yet. My friend is starting a new beginners class in Edmonton & has already had her dog on equipement,she has a very knowledgable trainer & this is his method, sometimes you have to go with what trainers are available to you where you live, unfortunately people realize to late that they possibly should have done things differently.
You & Amanda are the very best, I don't think you hear that often enough, I agree with Amanda S in that we have the best, close knit group out there, we truely care & support eaach other.
The fact that you are so sought out by people wanting to do agility is a testament to you both.

As far as missing Jane, don't put a limit on it, grieve for as long as you need, I cried for 3 yrs after I lost Drake & one of those years I had Tate in my life. Give your heart time to heal, it won't happen overnight, but it will happen , when you are ready ((( hugs)))
PS there is a pet grief therapist in Lethbridge if you are interested, I have some info at work, just a thought

Koping Weims said...

Ah Sarah..don't ever doubt how great an instructor you are. I tell people all the time how lucky we are in little old Lethbridge to have two great agility instructors who really get it and get all the dogs whether big or small ass biters or cat chasers.
Your method to training was proved this weekend when a certain young Weim entered the agility ring for the first time and never once did he let me down. I may have in the heat forgotten a few of my training tecniques but I had a dog who was ready to go and had a blast at his first ever agility trial because we have done all the foundation work, ground showed how he totally got what was going on...were we perfect no...but we both had so much fun. Without you and Amanda helping me that would never have happened.
True is my 2nd started from scratch Go Dog agility dog and it shows...
As for missing Jane...I totally get it and we all have sad times and grieve what would have been Rayne's 16th birthday approaches next week I am thinking lots about her too..hoping all your amazing memories help you and Jane knows how much she was loved...


Sarah said...

thanks everyone :) sometimes everything is just a struggle when normally it shouldn't be.

to answer Jo's comment - no we haven't always taught this way, we have always tried to teach basics first, but we evolve as training does - and some people do not. our methods however have never used force to MAKE the dog do equipment. I have no issue with teaching dog the basics of equipment using positive methods so the dog is confident and actually learning something, I don't believe in dragging dogs across equipment when they are scared or forcing them to submit to do something whether its agility or everyday life.

Nicki said...

If you are not going to rant, what's the point of a blog? Hang in there.