I recently read one of Sarah Stremming’s blog posts over at the Cognitive Canine. I will give you a second to go read that …
I keep telling myself that this is what I have done with removing myself from almost every sport and all classes for the past year. The exception of course has been disc, which provides a consistent set of locations and people, an inherently fun game for him, and as low pressure an activity as I can find where I am still involved (I want to do things so badly that my desperation oozes off of me despite every effort to remain chill and that pressure doesn’t help Sei one bit). We have made progress there, glacially slow, but progress all the same.
Sei just can’t function in class or sport environments. Hell, he can’t take food in most places away from home or walk around the block most days. I’ve spent most of the past year beating myself up for quitting and not trying hard enough. But I’m going to dread going somewhere all week, stress Sei out, both of us have a bad time, and come home crying, is that really helpful for either of us? The answer is obviously no! But then, the problem is my attitude: if I could just have a happier outlook, be more empathetic, be a better trainer, then it wouldn’t be like that. Or so my brain tells me.
So at what point does getting out of the pool equal quitting? When should I try to get back in? When will I know when Sei is ready? Actually, that one is fairly easy, he tells me pretty clearly when I have a mind to listen. When will I be ready to do what Sei is ready for, rather than what I want to do?