Monday, July 12, 2010

Dog Show

Back from a super-exhausting weekend at the outdoor dog show in Woodstock, Ontario.  It was only our second show ever, and our first outdoor show, and was it ever an eye opener.

First and foremost--both of our puppies did well, after a fashion.  :)  Kai won for his first time!  (Go Kai!)  Poor Lance was the only one at this event in his class (Senior Puppy --  puppies 9 to 12 months old), so while he won all of his events, it didn't really count.  Still, he and his handler, my DH, gained lots of experience in the ring.  (10 trips to the ring over two days), and he got some very pretty ribbons.  Don handled Kai, too, but that was a nightmare due to having to switch too quickly between the two dogs.  Look like I'll have to grit my teeth, endure my aversion to being in the public eye, and handle Kai.

Moving on to more unpleasant topics, I unfortunately witnessed the first dog fight I'd ever seen.  A Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog who had escaped from his owner attacked a Shiloh Shepherd who was waiting to enter the ring.  It was very upsetting to witness, even from a few hundred feet feet away.  The site was incredibly violent, and the sound, which was clearly audible across the field, was unbelievable so.  The Catahoula, which was apparently overstressed, went on to attack another dog and bite a human before being restrained.  An ambulance was called, as well as an emergency veterinarian, as the dog collapsed after its spree. (The two dogs it attacked suffered minor injuries, as did the young woman whom it bit.)

That incident, and a few much more minor ones, illustrated to me that a great number of show dog people know nothing whatsoever about properly training a dog, other than for showing.  Now don't get me wrong--I also met a fair amount of people who seemed to know a lot about training their dog to be a dog. But the majority I met owned dogs who were badly behaved and badly socialized outside of the ring.  And even in the ring--I heard of one dog being seriously injured at another show when he was attacked from behind while showing, and at this competition I saw one handler who had to forcibly restrain her dog from attacking the one next to her, right in front of the judge.  I witnessed dogs wearing choke collars and muzzles, dogs who were fearful or aggressive when they got too close to another dog, dogs who were anxious in crowds, etc, etc, etc.

The main problem, I believe, is that owners avoid contact with other dogs for fear of injury to their own prize dog, thus totally hampering the socialization of their animal, which could prevent "incidents" in the first place. I even heard from one of the more knowledgeable owners that it's not uncommon for people to isolate their dog from all contact with others.  I couldn't believe it!

Goddess knows our dogs aren't perfect, and they are not the best trained in regards to showing, but at least Lance is friendly and relaxed around dogs of any size and knows how to meet, play, and interact with them, and Kai is getting there.

No comments: