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Whatever Happened To…
“Obedience trials are a sport, and all participants should be guided by the principles of good sportsmanship both in and out of the ring.”
“Obedience trials demonstrate the dog’s ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring and emphasize the usefulness of the dog as a companion to man.”
“The basic objective of obedience trials, however, is to recognize dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs in a manner that will reflect credit on the sport of obedience at all times and under all conditions.”
All three of the above statements are taken from the Obedience Regulations Purpose page of the AKC Obedience Regulations. After two long days at my obedience club’s obedience and rally trials that were held in conjunction with an all breed show I have to wonder what happened to those purposes. I love my dog people friends. They are the most generous people and we help out our own. Sometimes I think we also need to smack the shit out of our own.
Obedience trials don’t take place in a bubble. They are put on by those of us that pay back our sport by donating our time and effort so that all of us can play at this game. A game, not rocket science or brain surgery. When something goes wrong you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again another time. Win or lose you get to go home with your dog. So when things don’t go your way don’t take it out on the volunteers. Do you go over to the other rings and scream at people when they are moving jumps or throwing a dumbbell? I seriously doubt it. So don’t have a freaking hissy fit when someone is sweeping mats or prepping ring equipment to be put on the truck. Yeah, your dog might be distracted and not qualify and that sucks. Proof for distractions in the other rings. My current dog is dumbbell crazy. Guess what I’ve done? I’ve trained him to not lose his mind when dumbbells are flying around him. Yes it took time and effort but it was worth it. I’m not going to blame another handler if their dumbbell is thrown while my dog is in the next ring.
The flip side of this is to be considerate. Don’t walk into a trial site and start loudly dropping gear. Don’t park your mastiff near the ring gate. Instead leave enough room for the next competitor to enter without having to squeeze by you and your dog. Pay attention to where your dog is when you have him out of his crate. Many dogs don’t appreciate your dog’s nose up their butts or in their faces. Would you?
Train, don’t complain but also practice common courtesy.