Author: Bob Davis
Let me lead off this installment by congratulating everyone for getting into that training class. Just like the prep for “swim suit season” everyone is fast preparing for spring and getting those dogs out to the parks and cafés. That perfect time of the year to get out and do stuff with your fuzzy buddy. Those urban excursions that will test all you have been practicing, your first entry into the competitive world. WAIT! What? How is an afternoon pilsner at Foothills a competition? It appears you have had a few too many stouts yourself. That is very likely, but let me explain.
Every day, every walk, every encounter is a competition. That walk for a frothy beverage to your favorite watering hole will illustrate all three of the universal competitions we as humans experience. We will compete against the environment we traverse. Good heals, perfect waits and sits, the most difficult down stay as fuzzy buddy yearns for a sip of that latest craft brew. You’ll have to navigate all the less enlightened non dog pedestrians who will do everything possible to break that focus and obedience. And the internal struggle, as you strive to mark all those successful sits and heals, the focus and obedience you will have to achieve personally, as you compete against yourself. And you will compete against others when you demonstrate all that solid training you’ve developed. Because, who doesn’t want the coolest dog in the bar. So for a beer you basically have to undergo a classic Greek Saga.
The same abilities you and fuzzy buddy have developed and refined for that evening brew stop is exactly the same type of competitive skills you will need for performance sports. Doubt me… Let me explain. That long down stay as you sip your ale is perfectly transferable for an agility lead out. That sidewalk healing, with waits and turns will go really well with a Rally-O career. And you’ll do this in every manner of distraction possible, exactly the same as a formal competition ring. And you got a beer. HA! That’s my kind of positive reinforcement.
Obedience and focus goes along way in life or in the ring, don’t ever underestimate it. Even if you are still reluctant to enter the competitive ring, I will strongly suggest to at least practice and play regularly in a dedicated sport. My secondary choice would be to investigate all 4 variations of the AKC CGC program (Canine Good Citizen). Either of these paths will provide a job for your dog, give you confidence, a bigger skills tool box, and build that next set of crucial elements you will want: communication and team work.
And an invitation to B.O.S.S.'s new Urban CGC title holders: an urban excursion to your favorite dog friendly brew house… first round is on me.