Completionist Woman Opts Out

Yes, I am one of those.  Are you?

If I start reading a book, I feel compelled to finish it.  If I start a series…yeah, that too.  The same goes for writing a book…working on goals…getting things done.

My critter activities aren’t immune.  Do I like the FAST game?  No.  But that didn’t keep me from putting excellent titles on Connery and Belle, because IT WAS THERE.

When Time to Beat (T2B) came on the scene last year, I was excited about it.  It sounded like a lot of fun–fast, flowing courses built at Open level, with a focus on speed–courses that by class definition, even a Novice dog and handler have the chance to complete.  And with the fastest dog setting the pace and determining the point distribution, it invites spectators and interaction and cheering and yeah, FUN!

We tried it at the first local trial to hold it, and it was a blast!  We were hooked!

But a strange thing happened.  While the official description of T2B remains the same, suddenly we’re more likely than not to be facing twisting, technical courses that don’t reflect the spirit of the game in the least.

At one recent trial, we ran a really technical excellent jumpers course. It was a fun course for excellent jumpers–challenging and interesting. Very much what excellent jumpers is all about.

On that same day, we ran a T2B that dropped jaws.  (In fact, you saw a video of it here last month.)  I think there were five direction changes in the first six obstacles, including a terribly difficult teeter entry angle (Dart fell off), and after that there were only *coff* direction changes an average of every other obstacle.  The teeter itself pointed out to nowhere, requiring acute turns to reach the next obstacle, and creating a blind weave entry.

One of the handlers was there with her first dog.  Her first trial.  Her first course She left that course completely demoralized and ready to quit the sport–because if THAT was the definition of fun, flowing, and fast at Open level, then my golly, where do you go from there?

It turns out that the course was, in fact, exactly the same as the excellent JWW course–except reversed, which changed the flow for the worse, and with some obstacles swapped out in places that made those approaches even harderAKC, what are you thinking?

I had both boys entered in T2B this past weekend.  On the first day, I had to pull Dart when he was completely overfaced by a technical and demotivating start sequence.  Suddenly I realized…I am done with this.  AKC, if you ever decide what this game is all about, let me know.  Because finally, Completionist Woman Opts Out).  I’m saving the money, the time, and the energy for other things.

Like THIS STANDARD RUN!  Right here, where Dart Beagle (finally!) earned his third Exc. Standard Q for his title!  W00t, baby!

Albedo’s Charter Member TD RA AX AXJ CA CGC!

Done any opting out lately?  And did it feel good?  This sure does…I guess that’s how I know it’s right!

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
This entry was posted in Agility, D'Artagnan Beagle, Video and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Completionist Woman Opts Out

  1. Morgan says:

    On opting out of a thing not worth the trouble for you and the dogs, Good For You!

    On Dart’s run, awesome!

  2. Mona Karel says:

    Doranna, may I share this with the AKC Delegates? It might help wake some people up

  3. Doranna says:

    Morgan, thanks! 8)

    Mona, sure. It’s worth noting that I don’t look to the judges as the starting point for this problem, which is why I deliberately haven’t identified even the trials in question (not that those who were there couldn’t figure it out). Judges can only do what they get the guidance to do–AKC sets the tone and approves the courses.

  4. Sue Farrell says:

    Good for you!! If you weren’t having fun–neither were the dogs. This happens with so many activities—they start out fun, but a certain group gets control and changes things. It has happened in the golf league that I am in–it used to be so much fun, now a certain clique is in control and have changed things so that their group has all the fun and the rest of us are just supporting players for them. Maybe it’s time to move on for me, too.

  5. Doranna says:

    I try really hard not to let the dogs know when something dismays me at a trial; I don’t know how successful that is all the time, though.

    The thing about having the course be so technical is that I would never ask them to run 3 technical courses in a day. In order for the three courses to work together (for my particular dogs), T2B had to stay true to its nature.

    I hope you find a way to have fun with golf again!

  6. Mona Karel says:

    Does AKC actually approve the courses or do they set up guidelines for the courses and expect judges to follow those guidelines? And is there an option, as with lure coursing, to change the published course?

  7. doranna says:

    AKC does approve the courses (for which they provide guidelines). But there’s not much leeway for changing them–in fact, it can be a real struggle when weather factors interfere with the equipment (such as wind with the chute) and the judge has to find ways to adjust that are allowed. I don’t know what those exact rules are, however–I’ve just been on the periphery of that particular struggle any number of times.

  8. Amy says:

    I really love how much thought and effort you put into making certain the dogs are enjoying their activities! It warms the cockles of my cynical vet tech heart that there are people out there caring about their animals’ emotional well being. 🙂 (It’s possible that I’ve watched too much It’s Me Or The Dog lately….)

    • Doranna says:

      Hey there! Are you Amy who’s been helping so much with Dart’s situation, or are you a total coincidence? ;>

      I think most decent agility handlers put this much thought into such choices–or just into performance in general. Take Connery and tracking–it’s obvious that he prefers air scenting, and that means that tracking past a certain point isn’t morale-building to him. But *searching*–as in the lost cat SAR that we’ve nibbled the front edges of doing–is a very similar activity that he really seems to enjoy. So I direct his weekend tracking to morale-building work and he’s certainly got the skill (and more) to try for a TD this coming January, but unlike Dart, he’s not training for VST except by certain coincidences. And then we’ll really address the potential for hunting lost cats…

      Speaking of tracking…I should go out and lay a track in the rare leftover damp!

  9. Laurie says:

    Loved watching the Dart video — he looked like he was having so much fun! And that’s what any kind of agility/tracking should be, or at least that’s my opinion. Yes, the course should be challenging but not absurdly so, and never so difficult that the dog running it is demoralized because of it’s deliberately uncomfortable changes of course. Running agility and tracking courses should be joyful for the 4-legged participants! (And the 2-legged participants shouldn’t be totally stressed out about attempting to figure out where-in-the-hell the course is going.)

    Hooray for Dart and I certainly hope he (and you!) are feeling much better. He is such a cutie.

  10. Doranna says:

    Dart’s treading the fine line between having a BLAST and being thoughtful; he’s definitely not up to full speed (this course was a little too tight for that, anyway). But his happy is peeking through in his tail action–his classic “upper third” wag. ;>

    And yes, I tend to get really resentful of any course I think demotivates the dog. By that I mean courses where it’s so impossible to set a handling line in advance that the whole experience, for the dog, is being called off what they *think* is next. That’s just not fair to the dogs. My next biggest peeve is where the course is set to force certain handling choices instead of allowing the handler to choose the option that is most natural for *that* dog.

    Not that I’m opinionated. Or anything.

    Dart is currently asymptomatic and hasn’t had an episode since Saturday evening; he’s on new supplements to calm what *might* be going on, the current test results have eliminated those terribly dire potential diseases, and on Monday he’ll go in for some imaging to see if we can pin down what’s going on. Fingers crossed!

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