Friday, September 10, 2010

Fun At Agility

The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go. ~ Winston Churchill

Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on. ~ Colette

Had an interesting time helping at beginning agility last night. We have a new group of dogs (none that are dog aggressive, thankfully!) that are great, and we have one intermediate dog who's there to work on his see saw -- he's a Bull Mastiff (for those of you who don't know what that is, Mastiffs are one of the giant breeds, and pretty much the heaviest breed of dog, averaging about 125 lbs -- though some males are larger). This dog has trust issues with people and he had a bad experience on the see saw one, so has been refusing to put even one paw on it.

Last night the instructor was having me work with him while she ran the class. Though I have no fear of dogs, I have a healthy respect for the breeds who can eat me. So things got a little interesting when he started getting stressed. Thankfully, I know how to read the signs ... and when he froze and tensed and wouldn't take a treat from me any more, I backed up. From that point on, though, any time I got close, he'd growl. He really didn't like me anymore -- associated me with the scary see saw, I think, so that left it all up to the owner to work with him and she's not a big lady.

Later, as I was working with the other dogs in the class, my job was to block the chute opening so the dogs couldn't come out and could ONLY continue down the chute to their owner. One little guy (a shih tzu) popped out of the opening and I grabbed him to stop him from running off... he didn't like that at all and growled ferociously.

His bad luck to do it after I'd been working with a mastiff -- after being growled at by a dog nearly my own size, a ten pound ball of fluff wasn't really that scary.

Anyway, it was the first time I'd had issues with any of the dogs. It made DD a little nervous, though. But if she really intends to work with dogs, she needs to see that there are some who aren't going to be super friendly. That's the kind of animal folks are going to need a trainer for most of all.

I'll say it again, though: there are no bad dogs (or bad breeds) only bad owners. Puppies aren't born aggressive or mean, they're made that way. Some breeds have a tendency to be more dominant than others, some are typically more shy -- both attributes can lead to aggression if not handled correctly.

People have a tendency to not investigate breeds thoroughly before getting a dog. "It's so cute!" isn't a reason to get a puppy.


You Are Blue

You are detail oriented and focused. You enjoy keeping your life in order.

You are a perfectionist, and you tend to take your time with tasks. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

It's hard for you to deal with dramatic, flippant, and silly people. You value maturity.

You are a good listener and you expect others to be the same. You expect to be taken seriously.




Maria Zannini said...

It's always the little ones I worry about. Their owners rarely discipline them so they end up becoming holy terrors.

groovyoldlady said...

My mom had two little "shits-zus" and I agree with Maria. Little dogs...I don't trust them! I've only known one bull mastiff and she was wonderful. Except for her drooling (eeeeew!), I adored her! Hopefully both these newbies will settle down and learn to trust!

Marianne Arkins said...

Only dog that ever bit me was a chihuahua. I absolutely agree that you're more likely to be bitten by a little dog (for a LOT of reasons). The difference is -- if the bull mastiff had bitten me, I'd have ended up in the ER. If the Shih Tzu had bitten me, I'd have used a band-aid.

I can grab and control a little dog -- grabbing and controlling a dog that outweighs me isn't as simple.

And, Groovy? This is the first aggressive mastiff I've ever met. I'm a HUGE fan of the breed. Something clearly happened to this guy, and it's sad. But his owner (he's a rescue) is really determined to work with him.

Liz Fichera said...

I've not had good experiences with standard poodles (the big ones). Had several scary experiences with them as a child. We had some idiot neighbors who raised them to be quite nasty. It's the owner, not the animal, that I blame when this happens.

Dru said...

It takes a while for me to be around dogs before I'm comfortable with them.

You Are Green

You are laid back and quite patient. You are naturally very calm.

You are an understanding person, and you believe in forgiving easily. You prefer to keep the peace.

You get annoyed by pushy or aggressive people. You don't like anyone trying to dominate you.

You always have time for someone genuine and friendly. You seek out similarly mild mannered folks.

Very true.

Have a good Friday.

Tori Lennox said...

I have a friend with a mastiff (don't remember which breed of mastiff) that's already 125 pounds and she's not even a year old yet! She's gonna be a BIIIIIG girl.

And I've always personally found small dogs to be more vicious than big dogs.

dogsrbest said...

i have a friend who owned a kennel and raised and bred greman shorthaired pointers and english pointers she fostered dogs for a chow chow resuce group, last year a drop off showed up on her doorstep. she ended up geting in a run with a male english pointer. i have one of the puppies. she thinks the mommy dog was an american bulldog mix. i don't know but the puppy is now a year old and he is huge! i love him so much. my german short hair tolerates him. he has an overabundance of energy i swear he has doggy adhd. reminds of the dog marley.