Sunday, December 13, 2009

If I Needed More Convincing

Agility is my sport.

I went to an AKC Obedience trial today. It's never been high on my agenda, but I like going to dog stuff and it was nearby (almost died nine times driving in the mushy snow, but that's besides the point).

I have never been in a room of more negative people. :(

(Note that I'm coming from this fresh off my Positive Dog Training Affirmation)

I'd say something like 97% of the dogs there were on choke chains. The other three percent were on martingales. I don't think it's because their necks are bigger than their heads, either.

No one seemed happy with their dogs or their run. There were lots of angry faces during their turn, even when those people went on to get 199.5/200. These are not untrained dogs, people. I get that it's in the rules that you can give practically no feedback or additional information during the run, but come on! Stop yelling at your dog to sit! Remember that part where they hear better than people?

But what killed me most is that there was no sense of humor. (This is a big deal to me; I don't know if you know this but I'm funny) I was watching the one miniature schnauzer entered and a woman sat down next to me and asked me if they were getting in. I kind of chuckled and said, "Well, kind of," because the schnauzer was being a schnauzer, which is to say he got out there and did whatever the heck he wanted to, and if that happened to coincide with what his handler wanted, so much the better. And she just looked at me with disgust and asked, "Well are they or aren't they?" So I had to confess that I didn't know and she totally dismissed me.

Come on people. This is dogs. Dogs are weird. Yes, even your three-times-a-champion UDX golden retriever. Dogs do funny things. This is part of why we hang out with one another. I understand wanting a title (because I do love to win) and not wanting to waste money (Hi, I'm a college student), but come on. It's. Just. Dogs.

So no AKC Obedience for us. Part of me wants to train the heck out of G and show those 40-year-old women ~*The Power of Positive!*~ (with a miniature schnauzer none the less). But to be honest? I was bored. Watching obedience isn't like watching agility. In agility, even though the course is the same for everyone, everyone runs it differently. And heck, it's exciting. In obedience, everyone does the exact. same. thing. Which, is kinda the point. And is boring. The most exciting part is hearing what words people use as cues. Because even their hand signals are the same.

Tomorrow I'll write up my review of When Pigs Fly: Training Success with Impossible Dogs, the other dog training book I got. In short: It answers my "How?" and I like it very much. Lots of updates while DF is pitching a fit at me.

In the meantime, enjoy these dog ornaments


  1. My first AKC Obedience experience was pretty mixed. I haven't been to a trial (will probably be going to one in Feb) but I volunteered at a match show for my club.

    I was originally disgusted because so many of the dogs were uncomfortable, throwing OBVIOUS calming signals at their owners and handlers.. yawning, scratching themselves, lots of slouching and lip licking, tails tucked.. I wanted to SCREAM at this one lady with an old white-faced dog who was seriously pushing the old girl too hard. Another woman with a big ol' happy faced dog totally ruined her dog's mood about the whole thing after literally picking the dog up by either side of the neck to get it into a sit from a down. And did it more than once.

    There were some good teams though. I met one of the top obedience dogs in the country. He was on a prong, but he was enjoying every minute of what he was doing. Several others looked like they were having a good time as well.

    Over all, though, I'm happy I'm not the only one who doesn't find the overall atmosphere very appealing. I wouldn't mind getting a Companion Dog title on Marge in the future, and I think she might actually like it, but you will never see me give my dog harsh corrections like that. Agility's plenty for us right now anyway..

  2. Exactly, I try not to judge other people's dogs, because what the heck do I know, but pretty much every dog that wasn't a golden had their tail tucked so hard it was tickling their belly button.

    I talked to a judge for a little bit (still terrified of all these crazy dog ladies) and she was very nice.

    Rally was a little better, but people were still idiots about it. Rally is even less srs bzns than obedience and people were flipping out because their dog wouldn't back up three steps.

  3. Yeah, I don't know what's up with that. When I compete, yes, I like to win, but the one thing I don't worry about is being embarrassed, or making a mistake, etc. So what if Marge screws up? We had 30 faults at our first agility trial and I still walked out beaming. That faulty run alone is more than most people have accomplished with their dogs, and that's the way I try to think about it.

    Crazy dog people are interesting, aren't they? It took me a while to get used to the whole thing. It's almost like becoming acquainted with a foreign culture - LOL. I know when my mother comes along to my dog events she is ALWAYS going off about how she thinks many people are rude, don't say hello, come across the wrong way. I try to just forget about the negative people though and have fun doing what I do.