It’s the Dog’s Fault…NOT!

17 Feb


As I sit here watching the Olympics, l began to ponder our sport of agility.  Dog sports is one of the few sports where our teammate really doesn’t have a say as to whether they want to participate or not.   



We train our dogs to become our teammate so that we can get up early on a weekend go to a show, hang with our friends, spend way too much money and have a wonderful day with our best 4-legged friend.  Many of our dogs love the game, some do it just because they want to please us and a few look like they would much rather be laying on the couch in the sun.   

Everyone’s goal for sending in that entry is different…some want to make it on world team, some want to go to a national event, some just want to Q and some just want to play this silly game with their dog. 

Whatever our reason is for getting up early and going to our show, we need to remember our teammate is the one jumping, weaving, doing the contacts and tunnels.  They are only doing what we have trained them to do.  None of our dogs get up in the morning and say “Today is they day I’m going to pull off the tunnel and blow that double Q” or “I really don’t feel like weaving today.”   

Over the past 6 months I haven’t been trialing a lot, but when I have I’m noticing more and more people getting mad or frustrated with their dog when something goes wrong on course.  I hear “my dog knows how to weave; my dog knows how to send to a tunnel” and the list could go on.  I hear them scolding their dog as they put the leash on, abruptly walking the dog to their crate and putting the dog in the crate with no reward.   

Maybe if they were to say “oh that was silly…you didn’t go in the tunnel” or “you forgot to finish your weaves” or even better yet:  “sorry, I told you tunnel and then pulled off to soon and you came with me…good dog” my stomach wouldn’t cringe so much.    

Have I been disappointed by the outcome of run – YES!
Have I gone and found a quiet corner and shed a few tears while giving my dog a hug – YES!
Have I thought my dog should have done something and they didn’t – YES.
Have I gone back and looked at the video and realized I caused my dog not to do the expected – YES! 

In 2017, I made finals at Westminster with Bria…I can’t recall in recent history having a run explode like that run did.   

Version 2

Westminster Agility 2017

Was I a little disappointed that I didn’t run clean…SURE!
Did I have the time of my life running my dog – ABSOLUTELY!    

One of my friends said the best thing after that run:  “If you are going to explode, do it in prime time, wired for sound, and with your best partner. Good job, Bria!”! 

99% of the time when something goes wrong on a run, we are to blame! 

The other 1%…well they are dogs! 

When things go wrong on course, we need to take a step back and remember our teammate is a dog, a dog that we have trained, a dog that is trying hard to please us and a dog that should be rewarded! 

Now get off the computer go play with your dog!  

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