a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: The Cost of Vanity

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Cost of Vanity

SUMMARY: The cost of "The Campaign"
I keep waffling emotionally on the whole Campaign that I've outlined for this year. I'm just thinking out loud here; I'm sure this is familiar ground.

Cost in weekends: With Tika's age goading me, I'm trying to fit in as much as I possibly can this year in competitions (CPE and USDAA only). You can see what a frightening red mess my calendar is with this plan. This really means probably cutting back again on everything else, because SOMEtime I'll have to do errands and chores and so on.

Cost in, well, money: Tika still needs roughly 90 Qs to finish her CPE C-ATE; with a roughly 74% Q rate, that means we need to enter about 120 runs, at $13/run. Sure, I'll get a few of those discounted for working, but not a lot of them. And as long as I'm running Tika, I might as well be running Boost, so double that.

Oh, yeah, and then there's gas prices going up again, and hotel costs for the winter months.

In USDAA, for Tika's LAA-Platinum, she needs roughly--huh, interesting--90 Qs. With a roughly 65% Q rate, we need to enter about 138 runs at an average of $14/run. Ditto on some discounted. Aaaaaand yes, if I'm running Tika, there's Boost, too.

Cost in other time: Really, if I'm going to be spending this much time competing, I need to push myself to spend more time (and possibly $) training out our weaknesses. And Boost has so many! I'm not sure whether seeing that her littermate Gina is in or near the Top Ten in all five categories this year is a motivator or a discourager. I counted down, and I think Boost actually made it into something like the Top 400 in a couple of categories. But I digress... this means more time, more focus, more planning...

Well, we'll see whether I completely melt down and decide to stop this madness. I entered only one trial in January to give myself a little break and the last one was Dec 9-11, so that's SORT of a month and a half off.

And we'll see whether I run out of discretionary dollars, too. I'm putting this ahead of some other delayed maintenance that I think can be delayed longer. Maybe I should go buy a lotto ticket.


  1. Can I just ask you something? Please don't take this the wrong way but why do you care so much about titles? I'm especially confused because it's not like you love trialing that much and the $$ and time thing seems to be a source of stress for you.
    I understand about having a goal, believe me I do, if I didn't I wouldn't go to any trials at all, but I try to make my goal something I can control and getting a title isn't really controllable, is it? I guess it sort of is if you're starting with a younger dog and you're talking about getting a MACH or an ADCH. But when your dog is aging, wouldn't you rather spend your time with her doing something that doesn't cause you to stress and maybe not enjoy this time with her as much as you could?
    Sorry, I hope I don't offend. I just don't understand the titlequest thing.

  2. No offense taken at all. That really is the question. At some point, I loved doing agility with my dogs. Sometimes I still really do. My dogs seem to like doing agility. Ideally I'd love to do what I'm doing *and* get titles. I just feel like, if I'm devoting time and money to compete, I'd like to have something to show for it, as in titles. Otherwise, yeah, if I'm not enjoying it and/or not earning titles, I might as well not spend the time and money and just go do something else, you're absolutely right. Some of this might be that I feel that titling with Tika is *more* controllable than with my younger dog. Or any other dog I might bring on board. Because she has been pretty reliable in recent years. I just need to keep reminding myself to focus on enjoying the journey and not getting upset with myself for my own mistakes. If I can't, yup, I should stop.

  3. Ahh, yes, I do understand wanting to have something to show for all the time, effort and money we put into this sport. Maybe the answer is to change your goals? One thing that the Daisy Peel Goal Setting and Mental Management course taught me was how to formulate goals that are reachable but exciting and worthwhile--and controllable but not easy to reach. The trick is to have a goal that is worth the effort you're putting in but not have it be something you really have no control over (like winning, for example.)I've over simplified for the sake of brevity but I really learned a lot from that course. Even though Daisy didn't put it this way, to me it's a very Zen kind of thinking. I've only been able to reach some of my goals by letting go of them. (Cue Eastern music).

  4. I've been through lots of goal-setting courses and reading. I've thought about what else I could focus on: "Go and have fun?" it's not a stretch and it's a lot of $ just to have fun. I'm out of other ideas that seem to make any sense after all these years. "Try not to forget any courses while running them" would be nice but I always try to do that anyway. "Be aggressive in my handling," I always try to do that, too. I dunno. It would be goals outside of the competition, which I mentioned in my post: Spending more time training out our weaknesses. I can quantify them and put plans together for them. I'm trying to be enthusiastic about those. I try to remember my fiascos with trying to get our 3rd Super-Q or trying to get Boost out of Level 4 Colors in CPE, just amazingly stupid things over & over that were clearly symptoms of wanting those things and some loose screw in my brain preventing me, no matter how much I meditated or relaxed or went over things in my head--in other words, there's definitely something to be said for reaching goals by letting go of them. But I'm finding it hard to find a place between--"go and have fun and relax" (why bother, might as well go hiking, and in which case I won't get those titles and I think I'd regret it) and going and wanting to do my best in the competition, which to me means Qing.

  5. I was on a bit of a campaign with Walter last year, focusing on Standards and Gamblers to try to get a particular title. Well, Walter's agility "career" came to a sudden end recently, and I regret not having done other things during that time which we both would have enjoyed more. In my case I mean I would have liked to enter more Jumpers and Steeplechase courses and fewer Standards and Gamblers, even though we couldn't have gotten any more titles in Jumpers and would have been a long way off to another Steeplechase title, but Walter always liked the flowy courses the most and so did I.

    So I guess all I can say is I hope that whatever you decide, that you have joy throughout the journey.

  6. I am very grateful for my dogs' continuing health, and I am trying to watch carefully to be sure that they enjoy the journey. I know that, at Tika's age, it could end any time.