Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sometimes, quitting is the right thing to do

Last night, I quit Miikka's obedience class. We are half-way through the 8-week course, and I had just had enough.  What I wanted - more practice on self-control for Miikka, more practice on stay and down, and general better home behavior - was not what was on offer in the class we were in. Instead, it was focused on show ring obedience - staying for an infinitely long time with squeaky toys and treats being offered as distractions, heeling perfectly and sitting precisely parallel to my feet - none of which Miikka did well at, nor did I. To be fair, the class was what it claimed to be; however, the description on the website did not make clear just how much emphasis would be placed on show behavior.

So I quit. I have no intention of ever trying to show Miikka in obedience. If I even want to compete in anything ever, it would be in agility, and though we need certain obedience commands there, I don't have to worry quite so much about the eternal stay or the perfect parallel sit. After class, while explaining myself (without mentioning my objections to the assistant teacher - she was totally condescending and didn't even give me a chance to show what Miikka could do before she tried to "make" him do things, not a good idea with him - and the physical correctives applied to the dogs, and the pinch collar incident) the teacher suggested that I might want to try the Canine Good Citizen class instead. And indeed I might, and I might have signed up for it instead, if it was even mentioned on the website anywhere. I just checked, and it isn't mentioned anywhere except on the class application. Sigh. Anyway, the class coordinator suggested I audit a class in a week or so, and if I want to take that class next session, I could do it for free, as a make-up or retake.

I hate quitting anything. It isn't in my nature to give up on something, even when it would be better for me to do so. Taking that step last night was hard, but I know it is the right choice for both Miikka and me. I want my training time with Miikka to be fun and enjoyable, not flusterating (as one of the teachers put it last night). I also know that not every training session will be pleasant, but I am going to do the best I can.

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