Author Topic: Why so few men In agility  (Read 6374 times)

Why so few men In agility
« on: May 24, 2012, 04:03:18 PM »
I have been running agility for about four years now so I am still learning.
After becoming hooked on this great sport I have often wondered why there are so few men involved. I am looking forward on hearing what all of you think.
Here are a few of my ideas.

1. To be a good trainer and agility partner you need to surrender a lot of your ego. You must understand that it is not about you it is about your dog and human team.  I think this is hard for many men my self included to do.

2. Agility in most venues is less about competing against others and more about  becoming the best team you can be.  I notice than many women are very happy running dogs that are not very fast but are out to enjoy the experience. I feel most men would not stay with it with dogs who are never going to be fast. I was blessed that my Jack Russel's love to run fast.
Had I started with a slow dog I do not think I would have lasted. My gut feeling is that there are more men in USDA running sweepstakes than in other venues.
3. Men are less apt to enjoy the social aspects of the sport.

I do not have any idea if the women of agility have any desire to have more men involved or if we are just tolerated.

Let me know what you think.





 
« Last Edit: May 27, 2012, 12:50:18 PM by worldsbesjrt »
It not the dogs fault stupid!

LJKing

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 04:21:58 PM »
I think you've hit the nail on the head.

An addendum to your "ego" point: A sociologist and dog trainer friend of mine who has thought about this also pointed out that dog training methods have radically changed in the last 10-15 years. Positive reenforcement techniques seem, in general, to suit women more than men. All that mothering and nurturing, don't you know. (Remember I'm saying "in general"....don't mean to say there aren't nurturing men!)  During that time, women have become the majority in sports where these techniques predominate, i.e. agility and obedience. I don't know about other dog sports?

Women are also more willing than men to allow themselves to look foolish in public, I think, and heaven knows we can look very foolish on the course.

Lynda in OR
Lynda King

TheQuestKnight

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 04:41:33 PM »
Hi Dad of World's Best JRT!!!

Once stupid, egotistical male agility person with 20+ years under my belt here . . .

I was SO FORTUNATE that my first competition agility dog was a WENCH that could be as big of a BITCH as a BASTARD that I could be!!!

My late Kali had an ego and an ATTITUDE that could match mine . . . and very often, she could find ways to keep me HUMBLE!!!

After MANY years of FIGHTING and LOVING each other . . . yeah, we were BOTH VERY STUBBORN . . . we came to NADAC and the "open" courses where she could run were what Kali had been wanting for 11 years!!!  NADAC rules and protocols demanded that I be "positive" and a respectable representative of the sport and NADAC to the general public . . . and I REALLY THANK Don Cuda for his "reminders" of that fact!!! <LOL>

I had the extreme good fortune to have a TOTALLY AWESOME partner in Kali that stood by me when I was being TOTALLY STUPID!!!  OK . . . she did get really frustrated a couple of times and she "tagged" me; but it was ONLY to get my attention to make me listen . . . which I grudgingly did! <G>

Kali took me places I never imagined that I could go . . . because of her, I became a judge for another venue . . . and eventually rose to the position of vice-president of that venue for a couple of years; but in all honesty, I was NEVER truly "happy" or "content" . . .

The time came that I left all of that behind and came to NADAC . . . an old handler with an old dog . . . and both of us had physical and mental issues . . . and NADAC is where we both "got healthy" because we once again FOUND THE FUN!!!

Before NADAC, Kali enabled me to earn all sorts of titles, awards and trinkets . . . but they really didn't satisy me . . . and if Kali couldn't eat them, she could care less about them!!!

In NADAC, we found the SHEER JOY of working as teammates, setting our OWN goals on a course . . . and NOT giving a hoot in hell if we Qed or got a ribbon . . . hell, we already had plenty of those!!!

What I finally found was a venue that FORCED me . . . kicking and screaming because I had a stupid ego . . . to remember my childhood and the SHEER JOY of playing with a pal!!!

Before Kali passed away, she mentored my new boy . . . Pellinore . . . and he is every bit as "bad", "attitudinal" and "humbling" as my late Kali ever was . . . and it's PURE JOY to run with him!!!  NOT because we may Q; but because we are BOTH ALWAYS "pushing the envelope" of our skills . . .

Pelli and I both have egos . . . but we've learned how to keep them in proper perspective . . .

I guess than because men have more testosterone, they want to "win" and "prove something" . . .

I can't speak for other men, but my late Kali taught me that the ONLY one that I had something to prove to was HER . . . I had to prove my worthiness to her in return for her unflagging loyalty . . .

After we connected on that level . . . all of the rest of the crap that so many males of our species strive for became easy . . .

Working with one's dog ain't a damn bit different than living with one's spouse . . . it invovles COMPROMISE, HUMILITY and a desire to constantly work on the RELATIONSHIP to keep it VIBRANT!!!

I've been lucky . . .  I married a TOTALLY AWESOME gal . . . I my first dog that taught me SOOOOOOOOOOO much was another TOTALLY AWESOME gal . . .

Sincerely . . .

Al & Pellinore . . . and Kali at The Bridge Bar & Grille
Castle Camelot: Al, Barb, Dred, Gael & Pellinore . . . and from The Bridge Grill & Pub,  Kali, Flurry, Promise, Chico, Romulus, Trix and Tony.

Ed and Dino

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 05:10:28 PM »
I have often wondered about this myself.

I believe it may be explained by some of these:

Men have too many other hobbies to pursue, hunting possibly with dogs, fishing,  football, baseball, you name it.

I agree some men may not have the patience for dog agility.

I disagree with your slow dog comment. I run a beagle and he was very slow in the beginning. I did NOT give up. I kept working at it and we did better and ran faster. Dino is getting older and we'll likely not never see Elite but we are a FUN team

I don't consider myself extremely social and many men are more social than me so I disagree with the social explanation.

And going out on a bit of a limb, as a man, sometimes I enjoy watching the woman running more than the dogs.
So that should be a plus for participation by men!

 
Ed & Dino (At the Bridge)
Morristown, NJ

Jean Sather (McCreight)

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 05:29:26 PM »

I do not have any idea if the women of agility have any desire to have more men involved or if we are just tolerated.

Let me know what you think.

Up here in Montana we are blessed to have a number of men involved in agility -- and we LOVE 'em!!!  Really helpful when it comes to moving equipment, fixing equipment, etc.....  Plus they are just fun to have around ....

And it seems that all of them have a pretty good sense of humor so "feeling foolish in public" doesn't seem to be much of an issue ..... (not mentioning ANY names to protect the innocent!  ;D)
Jean, Zack & Tux
Montana

Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 05:40:52 PM »
Great replies thanks for sharing lets keep em coming
It not the dogs fault stupid!

Marj Vincent

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 05:55:11 PM »
Well Ed, I can only speak for myself, but I enjoy watching men run agility.   ;)  And as far as the social aspect, I agree with you...I don't think men would get into agility if they weren't comfortable with being social. It is after all, a very social sport. I have made more life long friends, men and women, in agility than any other sport I have ever played. And I have been involved in sports my entire life. 

I do think women have more patience than men when it comes to training dogs, be it agility, potty training, basic manners, obedience, or whatever. My mother used to say "Patience is a virtue, possess if you can, seldom found in women, never found in man".  I find this to be quite true.
 
There may not be many guys involved in agility but I take my hat off to any man that is involved with agility because he wants to share in what his wife is interested in. ;D 
Marj Vincent
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Ed and Dino

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 06:35:38 PM »
There may not be many guys involved in agility but I take my hat off to any man that is involved with agility because he wants to share in what his wife is interested in. ;D

And that is why I'm a little odder I am a single guy with a male dog.

About half the men I know in agility also have a wife also at the trial, I'm there just with my bud.

Also seems many men have female dogs. Not all but many.
Ed & Dino (At the Bridge)
Morristown, NJ

SpringCrew

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 07:37:11 PM »
Well I can only speak for myself, but as a man, I have a lot more patience than my wife.  I wish I had the patience I had when I was young!! ;-)  Guess I'm just a grumpy old man now.  :)  My wife and I started dog training together.  Agility became my thing when classes fell on the night she worked late.  Guess we are the odd couple, wife following the husband to the trials.  We have made many friends all over the country because of this sport.  I think it has caused great changes in me.  I was always the shy guy that never said much.  Now if someone starts talking about dogs -- I don't shut up ( just ask Chris).  ;)  Of course, I'm not normal unless you put an Abbey ("Abbey Normal"  from Young Frankenstein) in front of it.  It is true that most exhibitors at shows are women, but we do have several guys in NC and VA playing the game.  I do think there is a need for nurturing, that is more common in women, and it just takes a man's willingness to put in the effort.  I can honestly say I don't regret a minute of it!!  :-)

Tim Spring
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Mary Kapner

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 09:04:47 PM »
My husband would love to do agility but his work schedule (always on-call) makes it impossible.
Mary Kapner
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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 09:31:04 PM »
A very interesting question--one I have pondered off and on.

As far as I am concerned, men are not just "tolerated" in agility.  I'd like to see more of them in the sport.  I see more of them than when I first started, but most, as Ed noted, are part of a husband/wife couple doing agility.  Another interesting point have seen quite a few women try to get their husbands involved in the sport, but with one exception, they have not lasted.  It HAS to be THEIR idea.

This is all my opinion, but:  I think a lot of it has to do what I call "the manly men" culture.  Have worked in a profession dominated by men (law enforcement), I've noticed there is a code of conduct involved in being a "manly man."   I think many men are swayed by what other men or society thinks of the activity.  Football, yes!  Embroidery, no .  It takes a unique person to buck the tide.  (Anyone remember Rosey Grier?).  Also, if an activity is predominated by females, I think makes it less likely for other men to get involved in it---why are they doing something that mostly women do? 

And perhaps the need for patience, nurturing, and the willingness to look foolish is part of the reason too.  None of those are "manly."  (I personally disagree!) And the competitive spirit is important.  I read somewhere that humans are hardwired to "win" (both men and woman) as winning meant survival.  Most men define "winning" as prevailing over someone else.  The social aspect may be important too.  Most women have friends to "talk" with.  Mun have friends to "do" things with--sitting around and talking is not their cup of tea.

I realize these are stereotypes, but most stereotypes have some truth in them.

Another thing I have found interesting is that no matter the activity, even if men are in the minority, they end up in the supervisory positions.  I wonder what the proportion of male judges to female judges is.  I'd be willing to bet the proportion of men to women is higher than in the group of competitors.

As for men having predominately female dogs think that is a whole 'nother topic.  I have a theory about that, and I think it's how we see ourselves in our relationshop to our dogs.  Most people tend to favour one gender of dogs over the other, and I think it's a sort of anthropomorphization of the relationship in some aspects.


And what is your name, worldsbesjrt?  Here's an example of how women predominate in the sport--when I first began reading I assumed you were a woman, as no name was supplied and it IS mostly women involved, until you made a comment that indicated you were a man.    8)
Sheila & the Shelties

Joe Fisher

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 10:10:32 PM »
Umm..thanks Jean...I think...lol
Joe



Up here in Montana we are blessed to have a number of men involved in agility -- and we LOVE 'em!!!  Really helpful when it comes to moving equipment, fixing equipment, etc.....  Plus they are just fun to have around ....

And it seems that all of them have a pretty good sense of humor so "feeling foolish in public" doesn't seem to be much of an issue ..... (not mentioning ANY names to protect the innocent!  ;D)
Joe Fisher
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Shirley Wallace

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Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2012, 03:51:01 AM »
A very interesting question--one I have pondered off and on.

As for men having predominately female dogs think that is a whole 'nother topic.  I have a theory about that, and I think it's how we see ourselves in our relationshop to our dogs.  Most people tend to favour one gender of dogs over the other, and I think it's a sort of anthropomorphization of the relationship in some aspects.


An interesting idea, Sheila.  Years ago we had a musher friend who would NOT run a female dog on his team.  He said that when he had to "get after" a dog for biting snow or slacking off or something, if it was a female he felt like was beating his wife.  So he never ran a female in his team.
I need to add that training methods in sled dog racing, as in other dog sports, has greatly changed since we started in it 35 years ago.  Might be some vocal getting after, but we rely more on positive reinforcement.
Shirley
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 08:51:47 AM by Chris 'CJ' Nelson »
Shirley Wallace

Re: Why so few men In agility
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2012, 05:25:55 AM »

And perhaps the need for patience, nurturing, and the willingness to look foolish is part of the reason too.  None of those are "manly."  (I personally disagree!) And the competitive spirit is important.  I read somewhere that humans are hardwired to "win" (both men and woman) as winning meant survival.  Most men define "winning" as prevailing over someone else.  The social aspect may be important too.  Most women have friends to "talk" with.  Mun have friends to "do" things with--sitting around and talking is not their cup of tea.


And what is your name, worldsbesjrt?  .    8)

My name is Dave

I think everything you said is partof the reason men do not do agility..
the reason I got involved was because I had a very activity JRT who needed  an outlet for his boundless energy before he drove me crazy. We started doing Jack Russell racing, go to ground and lure coursing. The JRTCA also offered agility so we tired that. There are few JRTCA events so we started to more and more agility. The first thing I noticed after I understood the game was the Q's are more important than being first. So it is in some ways like playing golf by yourself you compete against par. At the higher levels you compete to win championships. I think many men as you state what to overcome not just a natch but other teams. This does not happen in agility except at the highest levels. ie Nationals.  The JRTCA does one thing that helps solve this problem of needing  to win the local trail level
by offering a major award for the High Point Champion. They add up the score from two standard runs and one jumpers or game run. And a champion is declared at each of the two jump heights. I would love to see NADAC do something like this. It would feed my need win. Very important to us men.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 05:29:33 AM by worldsbesjrt »
It not the dogs fault stupid!

Steve Stochaj

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Why so few men In agility
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2012, 12:25:22 PM »
Agility woman are scary.

Steve
Steve Stochaj