Saturday, May 16, 2015

Contemplating Competition

I have been training Betty Spaghetti in Beginner Novice OB and rally. Not sure if I am going to compete but I am thinking about it. It has had me thinking a lot about my other dogs. I put CDs on a few dogs and had just started doing matches in Open for working towards Boris' CDX and competing in Open with a friend's dog before stopping due to some life changes.

Slater, my late Dachshund was a great OB dog. I trained him traditionally with treats and corrections. He finished his CD easily with two placements at all breed shows. For those who don't know, back then at least, most OB dogs were Golden's, Shelties or Border Collies  who were just getting into the AKC or out of the miscellaneous group. Dachshunds were certainly not super common in the OB ring and considered a "non-traditional obedience breed".  So, placements at those shows were kind of big. We blew a 193 score once when he wasn't sure I called him so he stopped himself from getting up and coming on the recall and I ended up giving a second command which DQ'd him.  He was a really great dog.

When I got to open with him I started training and then dropped it. At the time the thought among my training friends was that you pretty much had to do a forced retrieve (ear pinch) with all dogs:(  I didn't want to, but followed the herd. I did an ear pinch and made him cry. I will never forget the look on his face. It was like, "What are you doing? How could you?" Truth is, I couldn't and never did again. I just looked at him that minute and said "Let's not do this anymore" and we didn't and that was fine. Slater was trained with treats and corrections and he coped with it, but this was not reasonable or fair or clear to him. He would have worked through it, but I couldn't do that to him. Sad because he could have done so much.

Fast forward to today, about 18 years later and I am training Betty, a dog who I think might be fun to do this with. I still have to be sure she likes it, but I never have to worry about hurting her which always bothered me before. More importantly, maybe, is that now I know how to do it without doing things that upset me and hurt my feelings and hurt my dog.

No pressure on us, but nice to know the option is there for us if we decide to go there. This is fun.