Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Is My Purpose Here Again?

Lately I have been really struggling with where I am going with Maizey's training. The Training Levels are a great program and we are still working our way through them. That's not really where the problem lies at all.

The problem lies more with me. Because when I got Maizey I had hopes of doing agility with her I started all my plans for training around that from day one. However after two patella surgeries agility doesn't seem to be in our future. 
"Having broken knees is bad-bad. I stick my tongue out at broken knees."

Of course that would never be a reason not to train her, but it seems that much of what we are getting to in training is passing "the basics" and seems more applicable to agility or obedience. I seem to have a hard time figuring out where those skills fit into our everyday "pet dog" life. 

She is doing great with a lot of important skills. Today on our country walk she gave me a lot of wonderfully enthusiastic recalls.
"At least I love to "comecome" crazymomlady"

Another issue with these more advanced skills is that I have never trained them and don't have a very clear idea of how to go about it. I've never been very good at just diving into things I don't know how to do so I think regardless of what we are going to do in the future it is really time for us to have a class or maybe a private session with a trainer.  

I also think the problem lies with me in that I tend to see the problem areas and end up only working on them, neglecting the more fun things. 

Generally I feel very unfocused. Generally that is never a good feeling for me. In no way do I feel she is a disappointment to me because of any of this, she is wonderful and perfectly happy the way she is.
"Ya crazymomlady, lets pay more fun games then I'll be even happier!"

But I see people who have performance dogs and they really have a structure and purpose to their training.  I also know people who have pet dogs and they are perfectly happy and loved. Certainly the problem is not in her but in my lack of direction for myself.
"Look out I'm gonna give you some direction!"

And then there's Meeka. For once instead of bringing me clarity she really clouds the issue for me. Because she has never been to class, doesn't have "training sessions", was trained mostly with methods I would never use now and look at her:
"It just doesn't get more perfect than me."

So the four legged lesson? I really have no idea. I have no more clarity now than when I started this blathering. Huff and sigh. Maybe someone else can straighten me out?

A small post script: I apologize for the crazy layout of this post, I have no idea why it is double spacing every paragraph break, but suspect it has something to do w/ my HTML script. If There are any HTML geniuses out there who can tell me how to fix it I welcome the input.:)


BZ Training said...

Been there, felt that... wish I had wise words of wisdom to help out, but I don't.

Try making a list of all things you do now and would like to do in the future with your girls. Everyday things (go to the pet store), fun things (the park), things you've never considered (canine freestyle?), etc. Then examine the steps required (put on a leash, ride in the car, be calm around other dogs, sit nicely for petting... etc.) If your dogs get A+'s on everything, then throw a party (no worries about the food on the coffee table) and forget about it.

Anything less than an A+ is a place where those training skills can intersect with your everyday life.

Another option is to look at the things you are training (say with training levels) and see how you can make those skills useful. I find posing the boys for pictures is a great way to put those "obedience" sits, stays, downs, holding things (or not) to great use, and trick training is a fun way to work on shaping.

katie said...

Thanks Kathleen, I was very glad to see you had this good advice for me. I have learned a lot from your curriculum-although I would never expect I could be anywhere near so organized as you!

When you said,"examine the steps required (put on a leash, ride in the car, be calm around other dogs, sit nicely for petting... etc" That made a lot of sense. I guess I need to practice a lot more 'splitting' instead of 'lumping with myself!LOL

BZ Training said...

HTML Issues: When you are on the Edit Post page, try switching from the "Compose" tab to the "Edit HTML" tab. Weird formatting is pretty obvious from there. If it's not too bad, you can cut out the offending bits.

Optionally (although more Draconianly) is to select everything (or at the very least the Weird Parts) and click the T-with-tiny-red-x on it icon (second from the right on the Compose tab). That obliterates ALL formatting that might be there.

I usually use the "Edit HTML" tab for writing, and when I'm happy I switch to "Compose" to add pictures and fancy font tricks.

Marie said...

Well, I know you probably realize this, but I can tell you that if you think all performance people have direction and purpose all the time, you're wrong! Many are the days I get up and wonder, "what in the world am I doing?"

As for the levels or any other training are going to have to tailor them to your needs and goals. There just isn't any training outline out there that is perfect, that's the beauty of it. You can pick and choose what suits you and your dogs needs.

You and Maizey are doing great, I know I've said it before, but I'll tell you again. I know it doesn't mean much when you're feeling a bit lost, but I'm saying it anyway!

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Lessons From and For 4 Legs has moved to a new address: Where we will continue to learn life's lessons from my little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's, Maizey and Magnus. Don't miss Meeka's lessons too, by checking the archives of my big girl rescue Rottie. They all teach me so much!