Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Working Girl

In every business there are two kinds of employees: those who work to live and those who live to work. One isn't better than the other and they both have their own set of complex issues, but the motivation that keeps them coming in every day is different.

Last night at agility practice we were discussing whether Roxy actually liked to do this or not. It's hard to tell with her. There are some days where she is focused, on point and excited to try anything and everything you throw at her. Then there are others where she is very distant, uninterested and it is obvious that she would rather be anywhere than practicing with me.

Sometimes it is a bit disheartening when you train with shelties. They are desperate to run the course, barking the entire time out of total ecstasy. Then you have Roxy who quietly performs what is asked of her (well, most of the time) and then when she is bored she runs to the side and lays down. No amount of hot dogs, chicken or affection will get her engaged again. Her work whistle has gone off for the day and she has punched out.

She's never going to be the dog that barks the entire course. I don't think she will ever beg to go out and play on the agility equipment. It just isn't in her nature. But I'm not sure that means she dislikes being out there with me and learning new things.  Roxy isn't one to get riled up, throwing a toy in the air or playing tug. But I'm not sure that means she's unhappy with her agility experience, after all she hasn't taken off and run back to her crate refusing to come out like she did when we attempted lure coursing several times.

I guess Roxy is like most employees. Some days she lives to work, while other days she works to live. I just hope I'm not pushing her to do anything she dislikes or doesn't enjoy. I guess only time will tell and she'll either be fired due to her poor work ethic or she'll be promoted thanks to her positive attitude and willingness to go above and beyond.

8 comments:

Eliz said...

My greyhound is sort of similar, but I don't think it is that he doesn't like to work, simply that he is more subtle in showing his affection for it, especially compared to the other dogs there. Instead its the smaller things, the happy grin on his face or the times when I turn my back on him he and has jumped up on to a platform or starts going through the tunnel without any encouragement. I think that is.. well maybe it is not love, but enjoyment.

houndstooth said...

I think greyhounds like to work, on their own terms and on their own time table. It is disheartening when you're working with highly motivated and demonstrative dogs, though!

BrittBeah said...

I have been in your shoes. Dan and I took agility classes last year. It is a bit hard to watch the other dog owners with their dogs that are bread to please. But then I would always stop to realize that Dan, was in fact, the best in my eyes.
We enjoyed our first two levels of class with a great instuctor. We were both learning new things and she was very quiet and slow with us. The third class was with a different instuctor, loud and repetitive. Our first class with her was an hour of sit- stays. He and I both were not amused.
Dan quits on me when he is done. He doesn't go away, but he does stop responding. No amount of treats or praise get him going again. After three classes with the new instuctor and Dan closing me out of his world I figured out she was not for us. Unfortunatly it has resulted in a big break in our agility training. We don't have any other instructors anywhere close. We were driving an hour to get to those classes.
I feel your pain. I hope you two make it further then we have. We did both enjoy it while we were in the zone. But those days Dan came with his head in a different world we def. frustraiting.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

It is interesting reading all of the comments. I think the trick to training greyhounds (or other hounds) is knowing when to quit. You have trained too long if no amount of treats will get your greyhound up and going again. If you can figure out the art to that, you will probably see the drive in your greyhound grow and grow. For example, last night in obedience class.... way TOO MUCH heeling...even though I was splitting time between 2 greyhounds... I felt I was nearing our combined heeling limit, put both of them way, and heeled without a dog practicing my footwork. So even though you might be paying for the hour... sometimes you get more out of not taking full advantage of it.... this just might be a good post topic!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

And, Heather, when ya coming up? Time for me to see Roxie.

Trina said...

I think that about our dogs and even the simple act of Meet and Greets or Cali's therapy work. Somedays...they are ON and meeting/greeting with the best of them. Other days..they turn the nose up, act aloof, and refuse to show any form of excitement. We never know what we are going to get.

gyeong said...

I used to do agility with my friend's two English Cocker Spaniels. One would practice as long as you had a treat in your hand. The other would do it once or twice, look at me to make sure I had seen her 'master' it, then sit on the side and watch everyone else practice.

Life With Dogs said...

Maybe I've had it wrong all of this time. I live to nap!

It sounds like only time can give you your answer for this one...