Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In it to win it

Dog showing is a sport. It is loved by thousands of people all over world and followed by more. As any sport, there will always be competition (its in our humans minds to do so) and there will always be a 'winner' and a 'loser', a bad team and a good team (which team you are on is typically the good, while the other is the bad), a good sport who wins and a poor sport that loses.

From my very first dog show experiences to my very recent ones, I keep learning for everyone ELSE is that in the end, its really only matters who wins, as long as its you. I've told people I'm not that competitive I just enjoy showing. Sure I like to win but I'm not going to stomp the winners down behind their back, talk crap about their dogs or fault judge. My mentor tells me to virtue judge everyone's dogs...even if there isn't much nice to say.....if you can't say something nice, don't say it all.

There has always been a concerted effort by most to join in on chat groups in regards to who is showing where, to build a major that everyone is searching for, which shows or judges to avoid etc. As with anything, there is always two sides. One that tells you to come and show and what great judges, the other saying they won't show to that judge (or don't respond at all). Being a kind hearted person I tend to assume that those who do not respond are more than likely not going and have no ulterior motive. And if someone else's dogs win, then I was told to politely congratulate them, even if I didn't think they deserved it.

Quite honestly I'm happy if anyone wins. The look on that person's face is priceless as most are overjoyed, or shocked or both! Deep down I may be bummed about not winning but I don't stew over it and try to make excuses for my own dogs. " Oh she's just got to grow up yet" or "oh she's blowing coat" or "the judge doesn't like blacks" or something random. Does it really make me feel better? Not really. And I'm sure the people listening are thinking to themselves that I'm full of crap. So I don't do it. I wish others would stop as well.

Each dog needs to be groomed according to its needs. Some may need to blown out to look fuller, some need to be thinned out to make the curls on the butt lay down or something. I am so amazed at the amount of time people spend in grooming their own dogs, yet seem reluctant to help show me a helpful hint or a tip of advice on how to do something....unless they don't have a dog/bitch entered to compete against mine, then they seem to offer more assistance.

I also laugh over the part where people encourage me to show somewhere and then find out later it was really only in hopes of getting their dog the points and they had a scheme all worked out and planned ahead of time without my knowledge. Makes a person feel a bit used eh?

While I'm never one to enter just for point fodder (who can afford to do that?) I do still hold out that this only happens in my area and not to the greater extent of all CWC exhibitors? I have found the Briard people all over, and Cardi people from other areas to be most welcoming, offer advice freely (if i choose to take it or not is another thing) and welcome me to bunk with them, set up grooming with them, go out for supper etc.

When I went to college at NDSU I had many friends that went to UND our huge rival 70 miles to the north in Grand Forks. During the game we'd jokingly make fun of each other and cheer extra loud when our team would score over our friends, but at the end of the day we didn't back stab, lie, cover things up or persuade our friends to do something. After the game we'd go out for a beer and supper and talk about all the finer points of the game and those that were ridiculous calls or shots or something. Why can't dog showing be like that too? And why try to make our team look better even though they may not have one? I'm not buying it if my friend tries to tell me otherwise. Nor do I do it when they talk about their dogs that way.

If you are 'in it to win it' and nothing else you will soon find yourself alone with few friends and nothing to do at the end of the day. If that is what you like, so be it, but I don't own dogs and/or breed dogs or buy dogs just for the sole purpose of winning. I like to have them with me to play with, learn with, love with and cuddle with. each of my dogs has a distinct duty or job that they do on the farm. Each one does something unique with me and has 1-on-1 time with me each day, whether to train or just lay around with. While I'm training I only want to see improvement in their day to day training and the excitement I see in their faces and the way their eyes sparkle gives me the most pleasure and satisfaction that I could imagine....even if we never qualify or get those last pesky points for our CH.

I guess having friends in other breeds is better for all parties involved. There is no competition with them as we show different breeds, there is no backstabbing, lying or persuading...its just folks that like dogs in general and are ready to talk about the show over supper and a couple of beers.....or wine.....whichever is colder ;)

My trip to Canada this summer will be SO MUCH FUN traveling with people that do not have the same breeds as I do. Why didn't I think of that before? And there is no drama, and I am surprised that even though I am one of the youngest by age that shows dogs that hasn't been a junior prior to it, I'm one of the most mature acting. Something to think about.


coopercreek said...

Very good post, Garrett. Look forward to seeing you in a little over a week.


Cindy said...

I totally agree with you. A very to the point post and well, gosh darn it, people just need to grow up. This is supposed to be fun but it's hard when you feel like you are always having to watch your back or even when you try really hard, no one appreciates it.

See you in a week!!


Jinnie said...

Don't ya just wonder about people. I've come to realize that so many "dog" people don't alway have social skills. Not an excuse but sometimes I think it just makes the bad behavior worse.

Enjoy the people you enjoy :-)

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