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Discussion Starter #1
Alrighty. Tomorrow is Day Three of Open with Simon. First day, not too bad! Today, second day, much worse.

Here is the back story from today:

http://justlabradors.com/forum/lab-chat/106842-todays-show-dont-make-me-go-back-there-tomorrow.html

I am seriously giving some thought to scratching tomorrow. Now, it's not because I can't take my licks. Remember: Angus. I have taken plenty of licks in the last four years. LOL

I have a bad feeling that today's inattention from Simon had something to do with the loudmouth woman showing before us. He has NEVER acted the way he acted today. Never, in all the years we've been showing. I don't call him "Steady Eddie" for nothing.

In case you haven't read some of my posts about him in L/C, what concerns me is, Simon is very sensitive. He's a rescue, and when he first came to us we couldn't even watch TV programs where people were yelling at each other or there were loud noises. He was so terrified at first, he would roll over and pee on himself. It didn't take us long to figure out we couldn't yell at Angus, or each other, in front of him, because he would be convinced it was about him and run and hide.

He is much better, but we still have to be careful. He finds yelling very upsetting and takes it extremely personally.

I honestly did not notice if this woman was yelling at her dog during the run, as I was just busy trying to keep Simon's focus. But it would have been hard to miss her yelling right beside us on the stays. Good GRIEF! Isn't there something in the rules about giving your dog overly harsh commands? Seriously, you all, there is no doubt in my mind that hers would qualify as overly harsh. It was ridiculous. She almost busted my eardrums.

So now, I'm worried she was doing that in her run also, and it's what upset the balance with Simon, and I don't want to subject him to an experience that would make the ring seem like a scary, unpleasant place. We have enough other things to work on. I don't want to do a bunch of damage that takes me a year to undo. :(

I guess my options are:

1) Scratch and just don't show up.

2) Go, and scratch only if she shows up (she's on the program for tomorrow, right beside us again).

3) Go, try to warm Simon up really far away from the ring, and just make a mad dash when they start calling our name and see how that goes. But we'd still have to be next to her during stays.

What do you all think?

I am also giving some serious consideration to whether something like this should be filed as a complaint. :( She is a very experienced handler - apparently everyone knows her and she's been doing this for a long time. Everyone knows her well enough that my mentor even knew to warn me about it.

I just think if you have to yell at your dog that way, something is very wrong and maybe you shouldn't be doing this. :( I will admit I have yelled at Angus in the ring when he's pulled one or another of his stunts, to try to keep him from running out of the ring, but this was different. It was standard procedure for stays with her, for sure. Horrible. I'd hate to be that dog.

Oh. The most bizarre part was, as we were walking to the room for out of sight stays, someone said something to her and she replied, "Well, I just don't want my dog to be stressed!" Um...OK.
 

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Tough one to call Connie. But, I'd go and see how he is before the run. His stays were no problem today, despite her yelling. If you can treat and reward (or whatever works for Simon) when she is yelling at her dog, maybe you can start working on conquering his yelling problem. If she yells, Simon gets a jackpot, kisses, belly rubs and told he id the bestest dog in the world! If it appears he is too stressed before his run then go ahead and scratch. If you do scratch, and you are brave, tell the lady why you scratched. (I am a wienie though).

Has retrieves been a problem for him in training? I do a 'walk-by" fetch exercise just before entering the ring with both Kodi and Hoss because they are so wild that they bounce and play with the dumbbell so bad. It might improve his focus and return to you. What sort of jazzing up play do you do with him in between exercises to keep him focused on you?
 

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Go. It's good practice.

I posted in your other thread.

Just wanted to add.. about the "loud" lady. I think you are more worried about her than Simon is. Chill out. He will pick up your worry. He should be focusing on YOU, not on what it going on around him. Warm him up and keep his focus/attention.

Go and have fun. You paid your money and the experience is invaluable to your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your thoughts, you guys.

Karen, he does sometimes have to be told twice to retrieve in training, so I guess I shouldn't be shocked this is happening. Tonight I tried linking the dumbbell with his most favorite thing in the world: The bumper. We played, "You retrieve the dumbbell for me, and I'll throw the bumper for you." Have no idea if that helped, but I guess it didn't hurt.

I didn't play a lot with him in between exercises, but I try to do a lot of praise and telling him how great he is. I know I have seen some people play "touch," or jump up. Maybe I could ask him to jump in between things. He likes doing that. Maybe I have not been animated enough. He really lost focus today...

OK Linda, I will try not to worry about loud lady. He really did do great on his stays. You should have seen that ACD. Holy cow!!! I have never seen anything like it. Especially walking along the edge of that wall.
 

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Go, with the intention of treating it more as a practice than a trial (can you do this in obedience? Run FEO , then stop at some point where you have had a successful series of exercises, thank the judge and leave? ) If that's not kosher, just chat him up and tons o praise and encouragement between the exercises - repeat the cues if you think it will keep him focussed on you and less prone to stress and wander - repeated cues are just points off, right?
 

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That's a tough decision. Honestly, I agree with Linda that you are probably more worried about loud lady that Simon is. Your worry makes Simon worry. Somtimes I have gone to trials and had a lousy day and considered not going the next day, thinking I don't want Miles to practice bad ring habits. I have always gone back though. Often, I find the next day is a new day and we do great. Two weeks ago, we had a ghastly heeling pattern in Open that NQd us and we came back and Q'd the next day. Whatever you do, just stay positive.
 

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Connie, I understand how easy it is to get discouraged by something like this. However, this is a training opportunity for Simon and you. I was so impressed by Simon's stay-big congrats! Now if you end up with the Loud Lady in another competition-no worries you will have trained through it. Have fun today and give Mr. Simon big pats from me:)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That was my other thought too - is it bad for him to practice bad ring habits?

OK...I am going to try it. You guys give great pep talks! Thank you so much. I really value all your advice. I'm very lucky to have a panel of experts to consult!!! :D

Here is the new plan for today: There is a large building next door with plenty of room to practice. I'm going to take him in there a few minutes before we go on, and practice a few retrieves. It seems like it's always the first few retrieves of the session where he hesitates, then he goes on one command. So maybe a warm-up with this will help. I hope that this will transfer over to the ring.

Otherwise, I am going to step up the happy happy today. I'll try anyway. I will try to engage him in some kind of play, something he likes, between exercises. I watched the video, and even though it felt like I was being very up, it didn't look as much like it as it felt. That was Kevin's critique, too: Be more animated. He said I was trying to keep him too much under control. But when they start wandering, you feel like you have to do that...but if I had been more engaging, maybe he wouldn't have done that in the first place.

At any rate, I think the judges seem to really appreciate when you try to stay happy about it, even when things are going badly.

He's only shown three days in a row once before: His first trial, when he was pretty young, and trying to get his RN. The third day went horribly, and he NQ'd. In Rally Novice! On a leash!

I remembered this morning, I have met loud lady once before. She was at a Show n Go I went to once. She yelled at me for not watching my dog (Angus) during stays. I had looked away from him for a moment, and he had repositioned himself. She is a huge asshat. :( It was misery being in the hallway with her.

I wonder if the ACD will be back today. That girl had like three dogs there, and was running around like crazy trying to make different rings. She actually held up our stays, while we were waiting for her to do Rally with another dog. Which turned out to be very good, because I got to be in the ring with Simon for three or four minutes, doing whatever we wanted to do. We played. I hope that made it seem happier for him.

I really do think he would do it if he could. Something about it has stressed him out (probably me), and he is getting confused.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Also, if Simon Q's today, we are leaving the building immediately, driving to the nearest McDonald's, and I'm going to buy him a hamburger. :D
 

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I too think you should go. People are always yelling at doggie events, something you want to proof him against as much as possible, especially if you start competing in agility. Or worse, dock diving or flyball! LOL ;)

Personally, Peanut is also very soft and I have similar worries about her. When we work with the superdogs she needs to be held by someone while I get a head start, and some folks are rougher/louder than others. I can tell the difference when she's held by someone who intimidates her, but she's getting better all the time at shaking it off and focusing on the task at hand. That just doesn't happen without exposure, you know?

Go and have fun. :)
 

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Thanks Kate! You're right. It will help to get him used to all types. Maybe it will be good for him, even.

OK - we're out the door! If you have time today, anyone, please channel some good thoughts for us! :)
 

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have a super time! ( years ago, pre-agility conversion, I had Kaylie entered in a NAMBR obedience trial.. she was doing beautifully until the group stays, when she was beside a pair of white GSDs. White GSD's with seperation anxiety. They both shriek-whined, like only a shepherd can do, throughout the entire sit-stay - Kaylie put up with it for about a minute, then had to run to me .. it was AWFUL and they should have been excused there and then...
 
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