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Getting Measured

Posted by , 07 October 2007 · 508 views

We did Agility this weekend and I took Simon for the first of his two "Official Measurements" for his AKC Height Card. Simon was a little frightened of the Table which was surprising because he loves it everywhere else, but I think he picked up the smell of fear, as lots of dogs were up and down on the table and they probably scented it strongly with the pheromones that are emitted when they are fearfull. It comes out of the feet.

The Table has a device on it which is swung over the dogs back and dropped down until it touches their shoulders and it measures how tall the dog is. It looks like a device the devil invented, and I don't blame him for being a little leary of it.

Anyway Simon "tolerated" being measured, and his height at the withers in 16.675 inches, which means he can jump in the 16 inch class in AKC and 18 inches in International Competition. Which is the International Sweepstakes Class that the AKC occassionally offers.

Simon met another agility IG at this trial and we had a really nice off leash play with them. Laila Holmes and her two IGS from Portland came up for Sunday and she competed with Duccatti in Open and she had her puppy Joey along with her. Joey who is 8 months loved playing chase with Simon who instantly liked the little guy.

At these trials I try as much as I can to have Simon pay attention too me. He is so interested in sniffing where other dogs have pottied that he looses his head. So when he's on the leash I reward him for being with me and paying attention, and when he's off leash and comes when called, he gets huge rewards too. I still have to time the call, to when I know he doesn't have his nose buried in a spot where another dog has been. He just doesn't respond fast enough in that situation, so I usually don't call him until he's got his head up and will actually come when he hears his name. Eventually, he'll drop whatever he's doing and come when called no matter what, but that will take more time and work. If I call him at the wrong time, he just keeps the command in his register and when he's finished smelling or marking, he'll come, but it isn't immediately, so I try and time my commands so that he will succeed, and not have an opportunity to ignore or delay doing what I've asked.

Simon gets lots of attention from a lot of the competitors and behaves himself when he meets everyone. If he really likes you and knows you, his greeting is to say hello by climbing up on your lap if it is available, and putting a leg on each shoulder and looking you right in the eyes, maybe licking your nose, and then giving you a love rub, which is a nice nuzzle of your neck or chest with his head. It's very cute.

It must be hard for a dog to keept its concentration with all the distractions going on around them all the time. I don't know how they do it.
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QUOTE(Linda @ Oct 15 2007, 08:28 PM)
It must be hard for a dog to keept its concentration with all the distractions going on around them all the time. I don't know how they do it.

Hi Linda

Thanks for the comment. You are right, the world is very distracting for dogs. They smell everything, and unlike us, they don't get sensitized to the smell. We will initially smell something, but as we spend time around the smell, eventually we don't even notice it. This is one of the theories that has been suggested by anthropolists when they try to explain what makes humans able to live as social animals and in large groups. Before hygene became an easy thing to maintain, people had a genetic ability or defect (however you want to look at it) to eventually put that the foul odor in the back of their mind. For dogs it's different. The scent is always there, and it doesn't dissapate.

I'm going to ask a lot of Simon over the next few months, and in order to do that I had to have him think that I am more interesting than anything that tweeks his interest when we are working together. He's come a long long way over the last few months, and the change is accelerating now, so I'm really hopeful this is going to work out.
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