Picture it: Sicily, 1922… or a dog sport venue, 2016. Whichever works for you.
An adult human being stands in the middle of the course/field/ring with his or her dog. Complaining. Loudly. His/Her dog, previously amped to be there with him, excited to do the task he has trained for, is now subdued, ears tucked back almost like an embarrassed kid whose mom has asked to speak to the manager. The man/woman is ranting and raving about a recent rule change/equipment change/ring setup. A perfectly reasonable change… a change he/she has had time to prepare for. Yet here he or she is, being a dick.
Don’t be that asshole. Just don’t. Do you even remember why you’re playing this game? Could it have something to do with the dog sitting at your feet. The dog that could be playing the game he loves to play with you but is instead being completely embarrassed by your lack of ability to behave like a grown ass man/woman.
We know, we know. Dogs don’t think like that. We get it. However, we do think you should be embarrassed of yourself. You paid your dollars to be here. Probably a lot of them. You can claim you did it because your dog just loves the sport so much but we know the truth. Your dog would be delighted playing in the park or on a hike. There’s some part of you, rather you admit it or not, that is here to win. Maybe not the entire competition but you’re here for titles or you’re here for points or world invites or… something. If not, your panties wouldn’t be in such a twist over this new rule, or that little screw up, or the weather or whatever it is that has you up in arms.
Can we ask you again not to be that asshole? Think about the novices that are here for the first time. These people who have been told by trainers and friends what a warm welcoming environment such and such sport is. How much fun it is, how wonderful it is to walk into the ring or onto the field or course with their dog by their side to play the game they’ve trained so hard at. Then those novices arrive, fresh faced and innocent, to see you shit all over the sport that was supposed to be friendly and welcoming. And you’re obviously in the know, as someone who has been playing for years. Someone with a successful dog, someone who was here to win.
We aren’t saying that competitors shouldn’t complain. Of course we’re not; We love to complain. We love to complain amongst ourselves and god knows we love to complain online. You know what? Complaining gets shit done. Look at this week’s agility news. Bye Bye Chute, don’t let a dog get trapped in you and break a leg on the way out. There’s a time and a place for those complaints. Send emails, talk to reps… just don’t make an ass out of yourself in the middle of a competition. Of course, there’s also the option of voting with your money. Don’t compete in events where you don’t agree with the rules/regulations/equipment… but that might limit your opportunity for glory/accolades/a fifty cent piece of ribbon and we couldn’t have that, could we?