Saturday, October 21, 2006

Naughty Dog...

Murph had fun today - I only wish he had included me in his fun! Two weeks ago the high jump was the enemy - he didn't want to jump into the crowd - fair enough. So we worked high jump retrieves for two weeks. Today Murphy got into the ring, got distracted and took the high jump for fun. Swell. Heel work marginal - possibly passing - probably not. Figure eight - Murph takes the high jump again - literally going out of his way (20') to take it. He had the crowd in tears of laughter. Oh and the mouthing is back - swell. We've got tomorrow under a judge that I don't like so all bets are off. I'll take a chill pill and just go with the flow.
On another note, I saw my biggest fear develop in the Open A ring - second group of sits. A mastiff got up and went over to the golden next to him - not sure what happened, but the golden squealed and bolted out of the ring.. The mastiff - not standing starts staring down a collie (who starts barking alarm). The GSP on the other side of the mastiff gets up and looks worried as the mastiff makes eye contact. An english cocker also gets up and runs towards the stewards, the Mastiff goes to give chase. A well-meaning steward grabs (and I mean grabs) the mastiff by the collar - a miracle she didn't get bitten. She's not holding the mastiff and cocker with the Mastiff growling at the cocker. A pointer breaks as well - visibly stressed. The Norfolk gets up and hides behind the gating - between the gating and the wall. The judge tries to coax the norfolk out from behind the gate. It won't come out, so he grabs it by the scruff and slams it into a down. Only at this point are handlers brought back into the ring and the mastiff is excused. The collie held and there was a little
Chihuahua at the very end who hid his head and stayed. Everyone else got the chance to try the down stay again.. It was a small wonder no one got hurt.
Lastly, It was sad to see an open B dog - multiple OTCH top 10 nationally dog working off a 200 go down in the long sit. The gasp from the crowd and the look on the dog's face when its handler came back said it all - it knew it was in serious do-do and it sucked to be her today. Now my dog is sometimes naughty and I try to accept that with whatever decorum I can muster. But I have never ever heard anyone joke that someone had better dig a hole in the parking lot because poor X (dog's name withheld) isn't going to get to go home tonight - a half-truth of course, but when I left a couple of hours after this team had finished the dog was still working or being worked. That's Utility B, Open B (and the warm-ups that go on before that) and two hours of schooling and correcting. Maybe it's because of the way I was raised - but that kind of rogue drilling just doesn't seem right to me. I don't learn that way and I don't expect my dog to learn that way - and here's the big secret - you have to have a border collie to do that. I don't know any golden who would take that constant work with zero positive reinforcement and still want to play the game.
Naughty dog is sacked out on the bed, he's had his bone and he's very content. I went out and worked him a bit before dinner - let's cut the food bribes, work for me now and the spam will follow. I deliberately set him up to be stupid and corrected him from doing so. A friend of mine here with me with her utility dog had some good wisdom - she's a soft trainer too - with a soft dogs - if we were talking horses she'd have a light hand. She suggested we put him in a down when he's naughty - we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm nothing if I'm not optimistic.

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