We got to pugfest...or pugoween as it was called this year and were immediately told by Kelly (who had corned me into doing it this year) that there wasn't going to be a demo, the outside space where the demo would be, was actually rented to someone else and cops were already out there to get people and pugs off that space. *Great*, I just don't enjoy this sort thing, it's crowed with too many people and too many dogs and I get claustrophobic and want out of there! The demo at least was going to be some good training with oodles and oodles of distractions, it's a small miracle if you can get everyone to actually clear the course while you're running.
I really wanted to pack up all four dogs and head out of the city to explore some new hiking trails in the great Fall weather. We did find a trail right by the fairgrounds in south park where pugoween was held, but I didn't bring Rudy or Willy, so it was total guilt hiking, fun, twisty and steep trails, but couldn't help but to think about those two sitting home on a great day. Next year, I'm saying NO, repeat....."no, we will not do the agility demo"....please remind me not to do this again next year!
Another thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is the difference between "pet" and "performance" people and dogs just wanting to say "Hi". Among people who show dogs in breed, agility, obedience or whatever, you never, ever let your dog go right up to another dog unless they know each other, you just don't, certainly not in the dogs face, if the dog doesn't take your dog's face off the person attached to the leash may take off yours. This is just the way it is, then you go to a "pet" event and every single dog is right in your dog's face. Here's where I start to get really get torn and confused about this, their (pet people) dog's don't seem to care one bit, my dogs (and most dogs owned by show/performance people) are utterly offended and annoyed by this. Kittie hides behind my legs and ignore them. Abby did a lot better than she has in the past, only told off one pug who just wouldn't take a hint, she's getting a lot more confident and doesn't seem to need to tell off every dog who is doing wrong in her opinion like she used to. I'm certainly not going to start walking my dogs on flexi leads through crowded events telling them "say hi" as it's just not safe or necessary, but it makes you wonder if performance dogs are less tolerant of it just because they are not used to it.
Bill had an interesting take on it, agility/obedience etc dogs are so absorbed in paying attention to their owners, that other dogs in their immediate space get in the way of that, they have been so heavily reinforced for "attention" that everything else becomes a barrier. I'm not entirely sure about that, but it's an interesting concept.
My dogs are pretty tolerant, even friendly with dogs they meet in the park, but it's like when the leash is on, they're potentially on the clock, so to speak.