Kuvasz: Let me Count the Ways You Can Embarrass Me
You'd think by now I would have learned to not go off half-cocked. But no, I have yet to learn such a simple rule. It was interesting though. For years I have threatened to actually pursue obedience and get a CD on Frosty. Considering that I am one of those people who is happy to have a dog just mind me, I've never been one to be picky about heeling and all the other obedience exercises . I have also threatened to get a CGC on Frosty, so it was quite a shock yesterday when I followed through on my threat and went to a CGC test. I know people who actually go to class to learn how to pass the CGC but, no, not me. Frosty knows sit, down, and stay (sort of), and all the other parts of the test are just what a dog encounters at a regular dog show, so, heck, why not? HA-HA, you want to know, "Why not?"
Even that morning I hadn't decided whether to go or not. I messed with Frosty a bit: sit, down, stay, sit, down, stay. Only problem was, I couldn't convince him that sit was not down. That's easy enough so we worked awhile longer. He's always known down (that means he's gonna get brushed), but we hadn't done sit much since he was a baby, and that's been 3 years ago. Oh, well, he was pretty good, and I was more concerned about his listening and paying attention to me in a crowd. Well, heck, may as well try, as a friend says, how can you win if you don't show. So, we went, and, heck again, I was taking one, why not take two Kuvasz. So I put Frosty and Christy in the car. Poor Frosty, my car is big enough for one big dog and one smaller dog in the back, unless I remove the passenger seat. Which I hadn't done. Christy took up about 3/4 of the room leisurely lounging across the back seat leaving Frosty pinched up in the corner. Being such a sweetie, he accepted his fate by getting into the front seat, of which is way too small for him. He did get back later and scrunch into the small area Christy left him and used my shoulder for a head rest.
Another mistake: don't take 2 inside at the same time, especially when one can't wait to say hi to every dog he sees and the other just wants to go back out to the car and wait until it's time to leave. We got signed in and I put Christy back out in the car, may as well do the fun one first.
It's quite a long wait so I decide to work with Frosty some to see if he will do his sit and down with all the distractions. I get my first tip that this is not going to go well when I tell him to sit and he looks around as though he has suddenly gone deaf. I tell him several times to sit, with the same result. 'Sit' now means 'look around'. I finally grab his snout and turn his head up to me and tell him to pay attention, at which time he pulls his head away to look at what's going on in the ring near us. Hmmm, maybe we should just leave. NO, we're gonna try at least. I work with him a bit more and the results do not improve - Frosty has suddenly gone completely deaf to mom. Exactly what I feared.
We get in line behind a young Bernese who wants nothing to do with the strangers - hey, maybe we won't be the only ones to be embarassed. First test, walking up to a stranger and having a conversation. Frosty did great, in fact, there was a small girl outside the ring in which he was more interested in than the man I was talking to (the man thought he was a Pyr, which was better than the one who asked me if he was a Newf, and here I thought that was just a joke going around). Second test, letting a stranger pet him. Again, he passed, although by now he's getting suspicious that something is wrong at this dog show.
On the way to test 3 we pass a huge 5ft x 8ft mirror. Frosty has seen himself in a mirror before which made this reaction even more hilarious. As we passed the mirror Frosty noticed another dog in the mirror, and he lunged toward the mirror wagging his tail just as hard as he could with a big smile on his face to greet the dog. He bumped his nose on the mirror and just wagged as hard as he could. He had everyone within 20 ft of him roaring with laughter, included me. As I was forcibly pulling him away from his new friend, he looked up and saw another mom in the mirror, which really set his tail to wagging and illicited more laughter from everyone. It took us and our judge awhile to recompose ourselves. He, of course, did the grooming by a stranger well. But, as I feared, the next test he didn't want to sit. He did lay and stay very well, which is the part that Christy flunked. There was no way she was going to be in a sitting or laying position just in case she had to get out of there in a hurry.
The crowd of people was no big deal for either, which I already figured. The come when called was also good, as was meeting a strange dog. Although I wasn't too fond of the way they handled it. The dogs are not supposed to show more than a mild interest. Well, they brought in a dog that was a bit overexcited and obnoxious. My dogs are great with other dogs so long as the other dog is polite and well mannered in public. They do not like dogs that jump and bark and uninvitedly stick their noses into my dogs faces, which was this dog. My dogs surprised me though, they were interested and let this dog get in their face. They kept the dog there for an eternity sniffing my dogs from front to rear, which my dogs accepted quite well.
Their distraction part was interesting too, a woman in a wheelchair, a woman on crutches, a woman with a walker and a woman that slammed a big board onto the floor. Heck, I was more concerned than my dogs, considering the 3 woman converged on us in a semicircle all at once. They weren't real fond of the wheelchair but didn't get excited. Wow, so far, not a whole lot of embarrassment (except for the mirror and Christy in the sit and down and Frosty's sit).
Finally, one more part, the one I most feared, leaving a dog tied up. I never have and never will leave mine tied up. I was upset because I had heard that part had been changed and you could now leave your dog with a person, which is what I do when I leave mine. But this group hadn't heard about that revision yet. Even worse, they didn't have you tie them to something stationary but a heavy plate with a vertical post on it (like what some clubs use to rope off rings), maybe 15-20 pounds. Well, I left Frosty, he was pretty good for awhile, he walked here, walked there, checked out this crate, then pulled a bit, hmm, the thing moves. Then he walks over and sniffs his tieout, hmmm, hikes his leg on it, which again elicits everyone laughing, and me moaning. He walks some more, pulls again and it moves some more, we are now down to the last leg, 20-15 more seconds. What does my big independent boy do, starts pulling, and I can almost hear him yell, "I'm coming mom!". He comes out of the ring pulling his tieout with him and comes racing through the crowd and dogs straight to me. I'm moaning again, everyone else is roaring with laughter which I believe just eggs him on. He gets to me, his ears are back, his whole body is wagging, and he jumps up and kisses me. I'm scowling, "you couldn't wait just 15 more seconds could you?". But then, how could I be mad at him, he was so proud of himself, he came after me pulling this heavy weight. Heck, I think he should have passed since he walked right past all these dogs without a second thought and went straight after mom. Oh well, funny. That part Christy passed with flying colors.
So, after the dust settled, two dogs go in, two dogs fail, both minor failures, they each failed one test out of 10. Christy failed the sit and down on command, Frosty failed just barely on being left alone tied up (which he would have passed with flying colors had they had the updated version, or a heavier weight). Oh, well, we'll get it next time, since next time I will have talked to AKC and be taking proof with me that I can leave the dog with a stranger. We'll also work on our sits, downs and stays and most of all, we're gonna start working on our CD. I guess that's proof that I no longer have any respect whatsoever for myself, except as one heck of a masochist.
No need to worry, the second time around, both dogs passed with flying colors, and both are now also working as Therapy dogs, so I would say they both shine as Canine Good Citizens!