This time the subject for this DABAD agility blogging day is “Internationalization.” To read all the blogs on this subject, visit:
The following is my interpretation of “Internationalization.”
England gave us The Beattles and bangers, but most importantly, AGILITY (THANK YOU ENGLAND!!!)
France gave us the Statue of Liberty, the guillotine and Napoleon.
Canada gave us hockey, curling and the Mckenzie Brothers.
Italy gave us pizza, the Lamborghini, and Mussolini.
China gave us silk, pasta and TOTALLY AWESOME takeout food.
Finland gave us the sauna.
Germany gave us Beethoven, Mercedes and Bratwurst.
Spain gave us bullfighting, tapas and Antonio Banderas.
And Austria gave us Arnold Schwarzenegger and Adolph Hitler.
Now, depending on your point of view, you may hate or love the things listed above. One person’s elixir may be another’s poison. I happen to think the Lamborghini is the coolest car ever made. I would have loved to own one in my lifetime, but, alas, I am now too old and, thanks to dog agility, too poor. I am sure Sir Cussalot would love to drive one, but the last thing I want to see is my 75 year old husband driving 110 miles per hour in a Lamborghini on a twisty mountainous road! Some things are best left to the young and/or professionals.
Just because something comes from a foreign country, it is not by definition a good thing! Some things that come to us from other countries are awesome, while other things not so much.
How many times did one of your parents ask that age old question: “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, should you?”
When was the last time you heard an Olympic hurdler or steeplechase runner whine because the courses were not challenging enough? They go around in a mindless circle leaping over the same jumps in the same way, yet you never hear them complain about the courses being too easy. They run harder and try to set new records, win a medal or beat their personal best!
- If the runners started complaining that the courses were boring and not worth running, perhaps the Olympic committee could spice things up by putting alligators in the water jumps or making them take the backside of jumps.
- Or maybe they could have people positioned around the track with bows and arrows shooting at the runners. That would make it more challenging.
- They could have cars driving on the courses in a figure eight pattern so the runners had to LITERALLY run for their lives.
So would all those things make track and field more interesting and challenging or just more dangerous? The gold might go to the bravest runner rather than the fastest.
For many dogs, back sides of jumps, super tight turn after super tight turn and other International challenges, are just plain demotivating. I know I find them demotivating! There are some dogs that just don’t have what it takes to keep going in the face of physically demanding challenges seen on some of the International courses. I am a pretty dang good dog motivator, but trying to get my 25 1/2 “ standard Poodle to wrap jump after jump after jump from the front or the back side would just take its toll on her very large body and very fragile mind. Her agility career would be over before it started. These tight and demanding courses favor a smaller and more nimble type of dog, like a Border Collie and not everyone wants to own or run a Border Collie
Our little Border Collie, Crush, would do those tight maneuvers all day long and never quit or even slow down. If the courses continue to go in the direction they have, the only dogs we will see in agility are Border Collies and other highly motivated breeds. Just go to any USDAA trial and watch the 22” and 26” classes. Count the number of breeds seen that are not Border Collies.
Now, before you yell at me that there are plenty of “off” breeds that excel in USDAA, I will tell you that yes, we had a standard Poodle who, in her prime, could whoop the best of them of any breed! She was one of a kind. Dogs like that don’t come along every day and we were blessed to have such a dog. My point is that these freak dogs are few and far between. It is like racing an Appaloosa against a Thoroughbred. Pretty soon, people get sick of beating their heads against the wall and either get themselves a Thoroughbred or quit the sport.
AKC is my organization of choice. I don’t want to go to a different organization to get my agility fix. As the courses get more and more International-like in design, I am finding it more and more difficult to physically get through them. Those of us who are handicapped and can’t run, or if we run an off breed that is not gifted in the drive department, will eventually get so frustrated, agility will lose its luster for us.
I love the courses just the way they are now in AKC. My husband, the infamous Sir Cussalot, prefers USDAA. I have no interest in it. He prefers more of a challenge than I do. Even at 75 years old, he is pretty darn athletic and a billion times faster and better handler than I am. I am a pretty good dog trainer, but I really don’t want to train any harder than I already do. I am too old, too fat and too lazy.
Hopefully, AKC will start running that Excellent C class for the “bees” and the “wannabees.” They can then put all the marksmen, cars and alligators they want on course and leave the rest of us to run the same “boring” courses we have come to know and love. We can then go for speed rather than turning our agility dogs into contortionists. Putting all those twists and turns into a course bleeds off speed. That leaves the door open to those who can run like the wind and lead their dogs around by the nose. Dogs on super tight courses don’t need to have the foot speed a wide open course requires, but they need to be able to turn on a dime, accelerate and decelerate easily. Neither my 25 ½” Poodle nor I can do that.
The other advantage to an Excellent C class is that I won’t have to listen to anyone complain that the courses are too easy and how they are just too cool to bother running them, or how I need to challenge myself more. I am SIXTY FREAKIN THREE YEARS OLD! I don’t have to challenge myself or my dog. I just want to go out there and have fun in AKC agility. For me, International courses are no fun at all. I find them tedious, boring and requiring much too much handler athleticism and speed. I grew up riding hunters, jumpers and foxhunting. My favorite thing to do was to ride full speed over a steeplechase course. I much preferred that to a twisty jumper course. I feel the same about dog agility. I think having the dog be able to run full out over a jumper course is much more exhilarating than cranking the dog around jump after jump after jump. What I also hate are the LONG ass runs followed by a challenge that requires me to be there to handle. I just can’t! My polio riddled body just won’t allow that to happen, and I find those challenges just plain mean for those of us who can’t move.
Did you know that crystal meth was invented during WW II? Did you know that Adolph Hitler was injected with meth daily? Did you know that his officers and soldiers used it as well? Look it up! Read about how crazed those soldiers were. We all know that Hitler completely insane! It sure explains a lot don’t you think?
So what does Hitler being a tweeker have to do with internationalization? Well…
NOT EVERYTHING THAT COMES TO US FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY IS NECESSARILY A GOOD THING!