Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets. www.greytinspirations.com

BooBoo goes to the shows

 

Blue at home

Blue at home

I played show dog with one of my dogs this weekend but things did not go well.  I entered Blue in a couple of shows not too far from home so we could drive back and forth each day.  I spent Thursday and Friday last week getting him ready.  That’s when I had my first inkling that things were going to be difficult.

 

 

Blue is 19 months old now.  He’s just at the age when he thinks he doesn’t have to do what I say all the time.  It’s like teenage rebellion.  Granted, I had him on the grooming table for a few hours, off an on with lots of breaks, but he was being kind of a brat.  He didn’t want his ears cleaned.  He didn’t want his teeth brushed.  He didn’t want his nails done.  All of those little jobs were a struggle, at least at first.  Then it was time for his bath and he tried to run away and hide.  He’s never done that before.  I had to track him down and practically drag him into the bathroom.  He’s never been so uncooperative before!

 

Don’t misunderstand — he was still racing to get up on the grooming table because he gets treats every time he gets up there and treats while he’s on the table and treats when I let him get down.  But he was being awfully fussy and bad about some of the individual things we had to do.  We clean ears and brush teeth and do nails all the time so this was very unusual behavior.  And he’s never objected to getting a bath before.  He likes to sleep in the bathtub on hot days.

 

We finally finished getting him ready and went to the show early Saturday morning.  Blue loves going to shows.  And so does Pearl.  She was very upset that she wasn’t going this time.  In fact, when I took Blue outside to put him in the car, little Pearl came climbing OVER my back gate — a four-foot high chain link fence — and raced to the car to go with us.  I saw her do it.  I was horrified!  This meant that I couldn’t trust her to stay inside the fence while I was gone.  I scooped her up and brought her right back in the house.  I had to put her in the huge crate while we were gone for a few hours.  Now don’t feel too sorry for her.  She’s tiny and the crate is big enough for a Great Dane.  We were only gone for about four hours.  I don’t usually crate my dogs when I leave but I couldn’t risk that she would climb out of the fence again when I wasn’t here.  I’m glad I keep the crate set up for emergencies like these.

 

So, Blue and I finally set off for the show.  We got there with plenty of time and got ready.  He looked very good, I thought.  I looked presentable, I thought.  Everything had been done to the best of my ability.  All of the other people showed up with their dogs — very nice dogs.  But I still thought the Blue had a good chance.

 

I had never shown to the judge before.  I didn’t know anything good or bad about him.  That was fine.  We went into the ring to show and, unfortunately, Blue decided to pace instead of trot.  We lost, lost, lost.

 

If you don’t know what pacing is, it’s like in harness racing.  Some horses are pacers and some are trotters.  When they trot the animal moves diagonal pairs of legs.  When they pace, they move both legs on the same side of their body.  Most dogs naturally trot but some do pace.  Wolves will pace as well as trot.  Pacing is often an energy-conserving movement since an animal can keep it up for a long time and it uses less energy that trotting.  But, when it comes to showing a dog, you have to trot for the judge to evaluate the dog’s gait and movement.  If your dog paces, you’re toast.  Blue and I were toast.

 

Blue has paced in the ring before.  He paces and trots here at home.  He doesn’t seem to care which he does.  If he’s excited and wants to get somewhere fast, he trots.  If he’s just fooling around in the backyard, he may pace.  I never know which one he will do when I show him.  The last time I showed him he paced, too, and we lost, even though the judge liked him a lot.  It’s so frustrating.  I asked for advice from people that time and I tried to follow it, but apparently I didn’t do a good enough job.

 

I practiced with him some Sunday morning and I thought that I had him trotting but we lost again Sunday anyway.  I’m not sure if he was pacing or trotting in the ring that time.  I can’t always tell when we’re in the ring and I can’t look down to see.  I’m going to work with him some more this week.  We have a couple of shows next weekend.  I hate to keep throwing away entry money.

 

So, for people who think that show dogs are just these perfectly trained little robots –they’re not!  And if you think it’s always easy to get a dog to trot around the ring — it’s not!  Some things are harder than they look.

 

If you’re wondering why any of it matters — who cares if a dog trots or paces, for instance — dog breeds have traditions and heritages like people and cultures do.  They’re worth preserving.  So, if the standard for a breed calls for a dog to move a certain way, then that’s how the dog is supposed to move.  But beyond simply preserving what’s gone before, most breeds had or still have a function and role in helping humans — hunting, guarding, herding, etc.  It’s the old form follows function dictum.  If a dog’s function is to hunt birds, then it will follow that he will have the form (and movement) that will allow him to do that work.  That’s why it matters how a dog moves.

 

Blue’s a very big dog.  Bigger than average for this breed.  That may have something to do with why he paces.  It may be easier for him to haul his body around at that gait.  We’ll work on it and see if we can get him to trot consistently when the judge is looking at him.

 

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June 8, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , ,

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