Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Yup, it's back ...

The blogger day of action has returned with the topic of Attitude. I have written about my attitude towards agility and competition and my dog's attitudes many times before. I have been wrestling with this particular post for what feels likes weeks now.
Attitude can be so many different things.
Positive or negative, deliberate or not we all carry it with us.

Once upon a time, about 19 years ago, in a large large city the Airmiles program was being introduced.  A client bought gas and went into the station to pay. The clerk asked if they wanted to sign up for airmiles. The client said "no", abruptly and rudely.  The clerk, having been recently trained in the joys of Airmiles Reward program was not deterred. They persisted in hawking this amazing, spectacular, free program. The client was quite desperate to escape and getting shorter and shorter with the chit chat. The clerk persisted until the client actually shouted and stormed out of the store.

I was present that day, I was the client. I am still horrified by that day. I will never forget it. I still, silently, apologize to the clerk in the store every time I drive past that location. I tell the story every year as I try to help my students understand that all kinds of factors can influence people's attitudes and we can never get in the mind of another person. I was driving urgently needed medical supplies from the hospital my grandfather was dying in to the bedside of my also dying aunt. They were both dead within 12 hours of this incident and I was one of the primary caregivers for both of them.  That clerk had absolutely no need to suffer from my lousy, self centered attitude. She pushed my buttons, it's true, but she also taught me a huge lesson. Now when someone is short with me I work hard to recall that day and that lesson. People look at things from their own perspective and set their own priorities: being nasty does nothing positive for anybody. I wasn't even all that nasty (and I did pay my bill) but I am not proud of that moment in any way shape or form.

I apply this lesson at trials. If a gate steward is a little, ummm,  hyper I make sure they know where I am. If I'm first on the line (which happens amazingly often to me so I'm quite fine with it) I am ready to run before the judge is in position. If something truly awful has happened I warn the people I am volunteering with and carry on. There are times attitude really is nearly everything.

In the mode of playing  training dogs an honest look at where one's head is so important. If your attitude sucks it seems pretty likely that the work you accomplish will not be stellar either. How can you just change your attitude though? It seems to be trickier for some people than others.

Self evident that our attitude affects our dog's attitude? You'd think so eh? But the cycle can work the other way round too. I get positively INFECTED with joy when I stand on a start line with any of the three pooches here. Their joy rushes up the leash into my hand and up my arm into my heart and brain.

I am so very fortunate!


Kathy Mocharnuk said...

Great post, I love looking at my dogs face, she is always so happy and eager to get going, how can I hang onto a bad attitude when I see her?

Muttsandaklutz said...

I always love your honesty. Nice post!