Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CKC Trial July 24, '10

Mika didn't run. As we were at the car getting ready for her first run, she saw a black Standard Poodle about 20-30 feet away, ran over, and snapped at him. Augh. We went over to the ring. I did our usual mental warm-up and she seemed focused again. So I went in the ring, still distracted from her reaction, but thinking that it was over with and we would do this run. As I began to lead out, Mika saw a Tibetan Terrier walking past the ring behind her and immediately ran over to the side of the ring, trying to find a way out. I called her and she started to come back to me, but just before I could grab her, she spotted the dog again and ran through the entrance of the ring. She raced over to the dog and started a scuffle, but to my relief, the owner pulled her dog away. I called Mika and this time she came all the way to me. We were excused from the run (but I would have excused ourselves anyway).

I'm lucky that I know the owners of the poodle and the Tibetan, and they were very forgiving. I wouldn't have blamed them if they were upset, but they didn't act upset in the least. I pulled Mika from her remaining two runs, both for her safety and for the safety of other dogs.

Things to change...well, Mika will be wearing a Gentle Leader to the ring from now on. It definitely helps keep her calm. (When she pulls on her regular agility leash, it makes her more excited and potentially reactive.) I'll be taking her for individual walks to work more on her reactivity to other dogs, like I did when we were getting ready for SuperDogs last year.

It's amazing; Mika is so much more reactive with big black dogs. She always has been. My guess is that it's because she was lunged at by a black lab mix in a pet store when she was 10 weeks old. She ran the other way, screaming and terrified. At the trial, the poodle was a big black dog. With the tibetan, she must have still been in that reactive state of mind. She's seen that dog before and hasn't minded him.

Later that day, I walked Mika around the trial a couple of times to play our reactivity games. In our second session, we were setting under the shade tent in front of the same ring she had run out of that morning. There were about five other dogs around her, some only a couple feet away, and she was lying calmly in her down-stay, staring at me. She didn't even offer a glance at one of the dogs, so I knew that she was feeling super-comfortable in that situation. Then, she saw a big black Whippet walking over, about 50 feet away. She stood up, completely tense, stared intensely at the Whippet, growling. I picked her up (I had to, or else she would have gone nuts) and brought her as far away as I could.

Hah, she's totally fine with 5 strange dogs crowded around her, but when she sees a big black dog 50 feet away, she loses it! What a dog! :)

Okay, onto Wall-e's runs. It was his very first CKC trial and he got his first Novice Jumpers with Weaves Q. The run was 19.71 seconds!! Our second run, another JWW, was fast too, but we missed some jumps. At the end of the run, he LEAPED into the air so high that I could have caught him. He knows how to have fun!


  1. I know everyone says it but dont you wish you could understand what goes on in dogs minds sometimes, and dont you wish you could communicate and get them to understand that big black dogs are fine and that one is nice, you know just have a big talk with them and help them understand. Glad it sounds like you were able to end the day on a fairly good note for Mika-and sounds like it helped you figure out a good plan for the future.

    CONGRATS on Wall E, those sound like some smoking fast runs, FANTASTIC. I would rather have a fast, happy, enthusiastic run with a few missed jumps then a perfect slow one with a sad dog, sounds like Wall E was feeling it if he jumped that high when it was done ;-). Good JOB!

  2. Sorry to hear about Mika's reactive trial experience. It would be nice to be able to talk to her like Kathy says. But I am sure you will help her over this minor setback and she will be fine and you and she will be a stronger team for having to do the extra training.

    Congrats on Wall-e's Q and on his unbridled enthusiasm! That's totally awesome!

  3. Sorry about what happened with Mika, but I can definitely relate... Walter has his triggers too and sometimes I mess up and he reacts... makes me feel so lousy, like I let him down... but hey things happen -- we learn from them, and we move on. Awesome stuff in Wall-e's runs though! He must have been SMOKIN'!!

  4. Bummer about Mika - but you seem to have handled it with great poise. I generally fall to pieces along with my dog when she reacts.. bad habit of mine!

    Sounds like Wall-E really brightened your day. He is doing just wonderfully!

  5. Poor Mika. I think bad experiences of the past may change a behavior. I hope all goes well with the gentle leader.
    Congrats on Wall-E! He's a great sheltie! Aren't they just so clever?

  6. I'm sorry to hear about Mika, but I'm certain that you'll be able to get her around that uneasiness of big black dogs. Abbey is still reactive toward Aussies, but she's learned to control it a little bit.

    As for Wall-e, congrats! I hope you took a video of that JWW run as you know I want to see it!