Monday, December 23, 2019

Bulldog runs Westminster agility course

I wonder why she speaks harshly to the dog. He seems so sweet. So eager to do this.

And she is not nearly quick enough to prevent the dog from running into a mistake. She needs to anticipate a fast dog and be there before the dog to prevent the dog from doing the wrong thing. 

A long time ago after I bought my first Belgian I went to a dog show just to hang out. I encountered the breeder downstairs grooming her dogs. By then I had learned just how different my Belgian was from my German Shepherd. The dog taught me how to teach her. The dog taught me to always be sweet, to never correct, simply withhold praise and that crushed their little hearts. Even I was eager to get to the place where I could praise. And then do that moderately or else the dog will just freak the f out.

I asked the breeder if she would like to see what we learned together. The breeder said, "Yes, of course." 

I ran the dog through the basic paces. Right there on the floor where everyone was grooming their dogs. Ordinary standard obedience. 

The breeder said that my timing with the the dog is remarkable. The speed that I walk, the 3-step slow down way that I stop. My exceedingly gently handling. I'm just ahead of the dog. A very fast dog. Super eager to respond. Given to mistakes of anticipation. Just a half-step ahead so the dog is always working up to me and I'm always there to praise her. Extremely gently, a touch to the ear, a very soft calming comforting, "good girl." Soft suggesting commands. 

So when I see trainers rude to their dogs it bugs me. They're little babies. 

1 comment:

MamaM said...

What a dog! What a run!

Nobody expected that out of a bulldog tonight." Bulldogs are notoriously stubborn. With minds of their own they aren't particularly intent on pleasing.

I didn't notice the trainer being especially harsh or rude to Rudy. To my ears she sounded excited and direct, and the dog did not appear to be seeking praise, so much as pleased with himself for completing the job he was given, knew and enjoyed. I doubt she'd have gotten that much enthusiasm and participation from him if they didn't have a strong bond between them. They both share the same last name, so I'm guessing he's her dog and not just one she trains.

Watch the two larger dogs that follow, Boca, and Verb the Border Collie and notice how much more attuned they are to approval at the finish, with Verb jumping into the trainers arms. Rudy doesn't care--he poured on the coal and did what he came to do, with a heart for his work and his owner that runs true and strong even if it isn't worn on his sleeve.

He's no little baby, though he may have a soft spot or two.