Sunday, August 29, 2010

Trial and Error

I just want to clarify that Reagan's happiness is very important to me. I am disappointed that an agility career is unlikely. I imagine that some readers may not understand. It is just agility. Why the big deal? If you are passionate about anything in life, that is what agility is for me. A smooth, clean run feels awesome. I love the bond I form with my dogs. It feels deeper than any of my past pet relationships. Agility gives me a reason to get up early on a Saturday or head out of town to hang out with friends all weekend. I am also very goal oriented, love to see our progress, and enjoy being tested by an agility trial. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have something in life that drives and motivates.

However, my biggest concern is that Reagan lives an active, happy life and it is not easy for me with a dog that does not travel. I think the point that some readers are missing is that my dogs and I go somewhere EVERYDAY. A dog left behind misses out. Its okay for Katie since she is 12 years old and has had a good life. But I would hate for Reagan to spend the next decade sitting home.
In a past life (8 or so years ago), I would load my four greyhounds into my van and off we would go.... EVERYDAY. If it was an agility day, we headed to the agility field. I would train Katie and Travis. At the time, I thought Travis would never compete in agility due to his inappropriate prey drive towards non-greyhounds, but I trained him anyway. It was good exercise and we enjoyed it. Jessie and Teresa were retired from any sort of competition by then, but I would lower the jumps for a little fun or have them retrieve a dumbbell a couple of times.

If it was a hiking day, Katie, Travis, Teresa, Jessie, and I headed over to the trails. If it was a swimming day, we all headed to the lake. If there was an agility trial, we all headed out of town together. No one was ever left behind. We were always together and it was wonderful.
Now I have three hounds with completely different lives and needs. We do not do anything all together and that is not practical. Unfortunately, stay-at-home dogs get shorted. So my number one priority is to make sure Reagan doesn't begin to refuse to travel completely. I have decided not to compete her in the upcoming trials and maybe not ever. I think a 35 minute drive is just too far. I am going to stick to local and predictable places with routes I know very well. Reagan will stay home when Riley and travel off the beaten path. I hope that this strategy will work.Thank you for letting me vent again. You are such good listeners and it helps to free it from my mind. I have lifted a huge weight off my shoulders in deciding not to trial Reagan. I just do not want to jeopardize Reagan's willingness to go to my agility field to jump, run, and play. Reagan's new purpose can be Trial and Error dog. I can practice new things with her and if it does not go well, not use it on Riley or future agility dogs.In the above photo, Travis on left, Teresa is black, Jessie is brindle, and Katie is fawn with charcoal muzzle.

19 comments:

jet said...

It seems to be a great relief for you to make that decision! If I had a non-traveller then it would be pretty hard to keep them involved as well. No camping, trips to the dog park or the beach! And we don't even do agility trials (yet).

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Yes, probably a wise decision in the long term, removing pressure from you both. And who knows, maybe in a years time or whenever, something in
Reagan's psyche may change and she will be OK with travelling. And if it doesn't happen you will still be giving her a wonderful life doing what she enjoys doing in a way that suits her:-)

Malika said...

I love the photo of you and your girls! I wish you all the best as you continue to work with Reagan and her traveling, and in trying to find ways to still do things as one big, happy family.

houndstooth said...

I know exactly what you mean, even though my personal passion isn't agility. We're pretty active with the girls, too, and I love being able to take them places. We have one who's too old to go along now, and that kills me. I hate having to leave her behind. Blueberry is the royal pain in my behind when we go places that involves walking. I don't even know how to fully describe it other than to say that she is always tripping the rest of us up and just making life difficult for the rest of us because she can. But she HATES being left behind and because it breaks my heart to see her standing at the back door, wanting to go, I always cave and take her.

I think that maybe backing off on the things that are stressing Reagan right now is a wise decision. Not just for her happiness, but also for her relationship with you. I know how quickly our hounds pick up our stress, and even while they pretend to be divas who have to have their way, they really do care that we are happy with them. I think your plan is a wise one. Are there some activities that the two of you can do together (even including Riley if you want) that are near home? Some places where you can go out hiking or some other kind of activity where you can just have fun? It's possible that over time she may decide that it's worth riding in the car to get to those fun things that she gets to do with you. I think you're doing a great job with her, and having had one who had some similar quirks, I can say that I feel your pain!

Sue said...

Lovely photos. You have beautiful dogs.

I jhope you can continue to involve all your dogs as best you can. the main thing is to love them, which you obviously do.

IHeartDogs said...

Thank you for sharing the old pics of your pack, I enjoyed seeing them.
I hope Reagan continues to enjoy the work you do with her locally.

It really does stink when you can't have your pack together to enjoy everything. Even with the traveling restrictions, it is a great life that Reagan has with you.

Your devotion and love for your dogs is such a wonderful thing to read about. Your passion for agility is so exciting to read and watch, thank you for sharing your life with us all...

whygreyhounds said...

I think you are making the best decision for Reagan, that is all that matters.

Love the photo's ! Your passion for Agility & Greyhounds does shine through. :-)

Kathy said...

Jen, I know it was not an easy decision, especially as talented as Reagan is. I also know how mch you love your dogs. You made your decision based on what is best for HER right now. I commend you for that.

jcp said...

Love all the pics with you and your dogs Jen. We all are hoping that Reagan can continue to travel with you on your routine stuff and enjoy the life that you have created for you and your dogs!

Sandy ~~~ said...

"Plan your work and work your plan"....you got it!

IHateToast said...

when omo was full of corns and the limp home wasn't worth the bounding to the park, i used to take one dog for a walk and then keep that one locked out on return so that i had a solo omo moment of bed play and snuggle. that was work with two.

you'll come up with something. it's a puzzle. you can do those. it'll just take time and venting. vent away. no one here to judge.

Anonymous said...

Jen, have you tried the Thundershirt (thundershirt.com) or Through a Dog's Ear cd's (throughadogsear.com). I have had success with both for generalized anxiety but they are supposed to be especially good for noise phobias. There is a Through a Dog's Ear cd specifically for use in the car for dogs who do not travel well.

Janet S.

Aragon greyhounds said...

Hats and Antlers? What is that all about?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Aragon, it was Xmas and I was young! :-)

Janet, I keep debating about a Thundershirt. I really like how they fit, but kind of losing interest in spending anymore money on this. I did do a body wrap for a period of time without success. I don't think a CD would work. She does better with the radio on loud masking some of the road noise so I'd be hesitant to put something too calming because it would be swallowed up with road noise. The van rumbles a lot more than a car does. Thank you! Jen

Marie said...

Great photos!

Just a thought. You said you don't want Regan to stay at home for a decade and miss out. But here's the rub, what if that is what she LIKES?

The best part of multiple dogs can be that you can work the ones who love it and leave the ones who don't behind without feeling guilty about it.

I wonder sometimes if our expectations of what we think makes them happy and what does make them happy is wrapped up in our own baggage of what is supposed to make them happy.

It sucks when we can't just make them feel better when we know they are stressed. It is obvious you have done everything you can possible think of and you love your dogs.

Good luck with everything. I love reading about your adventures.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Marie, I absolutely want to always keep that in mind and to never apply my own feelings to it. I think Reagan still loves the end result. She appears to be the most bright eyed, happy, and joyful with leaps into the air when we train, do agility, and play fetch... so I think those activities are the only reason Reagan still goes to the door to be leashed up and jumps into the van. If she ever tells me "no", I will listen, but so far she has not.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Wish I could be more articulate, but "ditto" from me to many of what the earlier commenters wrote... You clearly have her best interests in mind and have come up with an excellent plan and approach. And, I love the cleverness of the "trial and error" title!

Michelle said...

You are doing the right thing for Reagan. I know it must have been an incredibly difficult decision. :(
Loved all the photos!

greytblackdog said...

Now that you have made this decision, maybe you can start looking at the world differently with Reagan. Hugs.