Saturday, March 12, 2011

Help wanted: Stalker for Ziggy

My  current training focus with Ziggy is to 

get more of this in the obedience and agility rings:

Shiny, happy Cardi smiling


and less of this

worried, suspicious, don't-stand-so-close-to-me Cardi
(a picture from puppyhood)



Ziggy is becoming more confident in the ring, but he still gets un-nerved when the judge follows him.  Unfortunately this is something judges seem quite likely to do.  It's as if they want to see how the dog is performing or something.  Go figure.  

While I am working on an idea to petition the AKC to get all judges to use binoculars and stand on the edge of the ring instead of walking in the ring, I realize this may take some time.

In the meantime I'm working to change Ziggy's mind, and get him to think that being followed is ok.

To do this, I'm pairing Ziggy being followed with the best treats a Cardi can imagine.  On open training night on Monday, I took the first step and asked one of my fellow club members to follow us around for a couple of minutes.  While we were being followed, Ziggy got a constant stream of "platinum level" treats.

We took our show on the road yesterday and went to PetsMart.  I didn't ask anyone to follow us there (I thought that would be a little weird and might attract the wrong kind of person), but I did give lots of treats when strangers were around, walking near us, etc.  

If I can convince Ziggy that being followed is a good thing, it should help our agility and obedience performances.  It's worth a try, anyway.

2 comments:

  1. I think your plan is a good one. Lots of dogs are suspicious of the creepy people who stare, and follow behind you but don't speak.

    You could also try and go to as many funmatches as you can- just do the heeling pattern and feed him like crazy. Not sure how many matches are in your area, but the ring experience would be worth a bit of a drive.

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  2. Okay, first of all - that second picture totally cracked me up! Our older Cardi Rufus is definitely skittish in situations like that. With Nick, I'm trying to do more socialization in all kinds of different settings with the hope he'll maintain his sweet, devil-may-care attitude. Good luck with Ziggy - he is a real sweetie!

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