Thursday, February 28, 2013

Caution, High Voltage

Agility trials can be long (sometimes stressed out) days, espeically in the winter when you're spending anywhere from 9 to 12+ hours in a cold barn having gotten up at a unholy hour to be there and may be doing the same thing the next day (or alternatively, have done the same thing the day before.)

This post at The Other End of the Leash  blog was particularly interesting and insightful. It's not just the dogs getting tired and worn out by the long days at a trial, their handlers can be as well. Something that is important to keep in mind.

Trialing with a reactive/scared dog is it's very own unique experience. Spencer is still very much a reactive dog who has some issues with perceived personal space. He absolutely does not care if another dog is near by and is ignoring him completely, but it's when they stare or are interested in him that it is a problem. 

It's supposed to be just fun and games!
Since there are generally a significant number of herding breeds that are motion triggered to stare at fast moving things in agility, this can be a recipe for reactivity. He is small, so he mostly only poses a danger to himself, but that doesn't lessen my obligation to other competitors and their dogs to manage MY dog, so that we all have a good time.

Agility is about the fun of playing with your dog. No one needs the stress of a unwanted encounter or your dog getting stressed out and upset by another while waiting to run to overshadow that fun. Especially in a already potentially tense atmosphere. Be kind and courteous to your fellow competitors. Give everyone some space and go have fun with your dog!

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