So, let me paint a picture for you. In Victoria, there are currently 4 dedicated ‘agility clubs’, and two people who currently do ‘private group classes’ over my side of the city. One of them is me, the other is very into Susan Garrett and I think we have a bit of a clash of personalities. Which is fine, I just don’t want to train with them, even though they have good dogs and they win lots of things. Two of the four agility clubs are on the other side of the city – both are just over an hour away without traffic, and the other two are closer by but closed to new members and have been closed for a long time. They’re so closed that even though I put Lumen’s name down when I got her as a puppy, 2 years ago, we still haven’t been able to join.
Just after the New Year they had membership applications open for new members. There was a little questionnaire with questions like: your dog’s current level of training & where you train, any experience/involvement in dog training (not just agility), any experience instructing classes? Why would you like to join (this club)?
So I filled in my application.
And so I’m thinking, ok, here I am – I’m a known person in the agility community given that I started competing with Mallei 9 years ago.
I was a previous active member of this club.
I was in the Top 10 dogs of the state 3 years in a row, and came 2nd one year.
I represented Victoria in the Nationals in 2008 with Mallei, and got into the Finals in Masters Jumping.
I had the 2nd Agility champion in the state, the 1st Australian Shepherd Agility Champion in the country. He was probably the 4th or 5th in the country to get it.
I’ve managed to train 2 dogs on my own to be pretty damn good (even though Loki isn’t competing yet, he’s awesome).
I’ve been to a bunch of seminars and joined heaps of online classes.
I’ve instructed at a couple of different places including on my own, and offered to instruct at this club as part of getting in as a member (whether I wanted to or not, I would have done it if they’d asked).
I bring different experiences and knowledge that they wouldn’t have seen before (OMD, Silvia Trkman, etc. There is more to the agility world that SG, people.)…
And I was rejected.
Nope, not good enough. So what the hell did they want?
Am I too different? Do I not gel with their methods? Did they sense my ambivalence towards SG? Did they smell an imposter? Did they figure I was fine by myself so why give up precious membership positions to me? Did they not want to take in dogs who were already past the foundations stage (even though I said I’d be happy to go through that again with Loki if needed)? Did they not want someone who could potentially get to the top of the sport here (and I’m not ringing my own bell, I promise, but I am competitive, I am ambitious, and I have a damn good dog in Loki) and represent the club? Are there people on the committee who just don’t like me? Did I not kiss enough ass in my application and go on about how wonderful the club is and how I could not wait to join such a shining beacon of quality agility tuition?
I mean, in the end, I can do this by myself. I’ve proven that with Lu. She’s not perfect but we’re doing ok. And I will do it again with Loki, by myself, that’s fine. I just wanted him to get in the class environment, to learn to work with dogs around. I wanted somebody else, for once, to look at my handling and critique it – something I can’t do in the moment without filming, watching and breaking the ‘flow’ of our training. I would have liked to have tried different exercises that I might not have thought of myself, or might have pushed me to try something different. Hell, I would have even been happy to have done some SG games and stuff that apparently they incorporate into their foundations. I made it clear that I was open to anything and everything and that I brought new ideas, too.
I’m sorry my blog is so full of complaining today. Maybe if I get it all out in one go it’ll become more positive again.