A truly awful performance

Discussion in 'Obedience' started by Joy, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    We went to a companion dog show yesterday (obedience class) and I felt so embarrassed and depressed afterwards I couldn’t bring myself to write about it until today. Molly’s behaviour included running out of the ring to pick up a scent cloth from the next ring (thankfully no-one competing in there at the time), stopping for a wee, stopping to scratch, running straight past me on recall to sniff a patch of grass and worst of all breaking during the stay exercise ( immediately, as soon as I left her). Molly has never broken the stay before at any class, either training or competing -I thought it was the one thing we really had in the bag.

    I know I’ve written before about bad experiences at shows, but those were KC shows where the standards are high and I was tense. I felt really relaxed and confident yesterday as we were placed at the last two companion obedience shows. She’s been so good recently when practising in the park - getting some good close heelwork even with other dogs and children playing near to us.

    She behaved perfectly well outside the ring.

    Molly had an awful nightmare last night -howled in her sleep. I rushed down to her and felt very guilty, as she must have been stressed.

    We’re already entered at a KC show in 4 weeks, but I’m not sure if we’ll go.
     
  2. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Oh no, that doesn't sound fun at all. All of those things Molly did sound like displacement behaviours; apparently, she wasn't relaxed, even if you were. Maybe it's something that's just not for her.
     
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  3. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Yes, I think you could be right.
     
  4. UncleBob

    UncleBob Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sorry that you had a bad experience, Joy.

    What are the major differences between your training environments and show environments? Are these something that you could gradually work on desensitising Molly to? As I'm sure you know, it's not that she has suddenly become unable to do the task in question, or that she is misbehaving, it's likely that it is the particular scenario that is causing her trouble.
     
  5. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    These things do happen, even the best dogs have mad moments in the ring. It does sound as @snowbunny @Joy says, there was an element of displacement behaviours, maybe the steward or judge were giving off something that spooked her? Or another dog had given her the eye, or someone outside the ring who was watching she found disturbing?

    I would give the training a rest for a few days, then start fresh again and see what happens, it may well have just been a 'one off'.
     
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  6. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sometimes it just doesn't go according to plan... It doesn't mean things will go wrong on the next occasion. While there's always a reason for behaviour it's not always our fault or a obvious training hole.

    I do Flyball with my dog Obi. I couldn't tell you how many times I've seen experienced and well trained dogs chuck their training out of the ring and go for a hooley. Yes, there's a reason (eg handler distracted and didn't focus the dog properly, or the dog was tired or there was a burger on the ground or the dog developed a sudden and powerful need to meet the cute Spaniel on the opposing team...(all of these demonstrated in style by me/my own dogs!!)) but it's often a one-off.

    So don't give up. Have a look at any training holes this might helpfully alert you to but don't stress. Give it a go next time. It's just a dog sport...if things don't go perfectly but your dog is still basically fine with the world and with you then what's the worry? :)
     
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  7. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I’m struggling to know why she found yesterday stressful. She was fine in the show ground (just a fairly small park, not nearly as big and noisy as the last one we went to where she came 3rd). She looked relaxed walking around the ground - tail in normal position, waving occasionally, she took food and played tug with me. It just all fell to bits when we went in the ring. I wasn’t feeling especially nervous, so I don’t think it could have been her picking up on my feelings.
    My OH wasn’t with us, so that may have contributed. Molly adores him and he makes her feel really safe.
    The other thing is that she hates early mornings. (I know, I can hear all the puppy owners telling me to count my lucky stars.) It was about a 90 minute drive to the show - but when I drove along the south coast a few weeks ago on a Saturday the traffic was murder and it took me ages, so we left home extra early and, because there were no hold-ups, were then hanging around - and Molly hadn’t had her morning lie-in. :rolleyes:
    The companion shows where we’ve been placed have both been within 20 miles of home so haven’t needed early starts.

    Thank you Rachel - this is very sensible and I need to stop worrying! :)
     
  8. selina27

    selina27 Registered Users

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    @Joy , sorry to read of your disappointment yesterday, it must be hard when you've put so much into the training as you do.

    I can see you've had good advice, I wouldn't have any more to add.

    But I wonder, would it be worth taking your foot of the obedience "pedal", and maybe doing something else with her for a while? Perhaps tracking or scentwork that you enjoy together in a slightly different way?
     
  9. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Thank you.
    Yes perhaps I overdo it (not with shows as we’ve only been to four in the last 12 months) but perhaps with training. Though I have to say Molly is usually keen on the training - I do it in the middle of walks rewarding heavily with play - and she nudges me to get going if I don’t instigate it.
    Perhaps the training I do is too informal, not enough like the set-up in a competition.
    But yes, I might have a look and see what else we could do. The one thing she did correctly at the show was to retrieve the dumbbell and deliver it correctly. So perhaps I should just do some gundog-type stuff for a while. (She couldn’t do real gundoggery as she won’t go into bushes! Or even prickly ground!)
     
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  10. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    A not so good day Joy, I feel your disappointment as you work so hard with Molly. I hope you're OK. xx
     
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  11. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Registered Users

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    Oh dear, so sorry you had a pants day.
    I think its part of dog ownership sometimes. They are always there to bring you back to reality....they are their own selves and we only have a tenuous "control" over them.
    Don't beat yourself up, try and put it behind you, it always gets better when you have had one of those days you just want to cry.
    xx
     
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  12. Cath

    Cath Registered Users

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    Try not to worry about it, we all have bad days. Something must of spooked her.
    Tomorrow another day. Hugs.
     
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  13. Naya

    Naya Registered Users

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    Sorry you had a frustrating day. I do agree that every dog has an off day and I know how unfocussed Harley can be if she has to be up early as she too hates early mornings. Keep your chin up x
     
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  14. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    Don't worry... you are both doing so well! :) Today Benson was sooooo bad I was tempted to disown him....:D:eek:
     
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  15. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    The main thing is, that you and Molly have fun together. It's your hobby, after all! If this is just a blip, then don't worry about it - but if this keeps happening then maybe you really should consider whether some other sort of training or competing might suit you both better.
     
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  16. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    That’s a timely reminder. I can get a bit obsessive when I want to achieve something - but I need to remember that doing something with Molly isn’t the same as deciding to write fiction or to learn to play an instrument.

    I’ll see how things are looking in a few weeks and decide then whether to go to the next show.

    PS Would a mod like to correct my spelling of ‘truly’? :eek:
     
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  17. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Title edited :)
     
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  18. selina27

    selina27 Registered Users

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    @Joy, I just wanted to say what a good thing it is to share the difficulties on here as well as the good times, I think it really helps everybody.
    Of course it's always lovely to read of successes, and positive posts. But it can be a bit lonely when things go wrong, coming here I find helps get a perspective on things. A few months ago when Cassie's behaviour was so awful I hated writing about it, but I'm so glad I put that log on the Forum, everyone's support was so unbelieveably helpful.

    Incidently, she's back in season again now and quiet to the point of lethargy, quite a different dog, but I feel I need to fasten my seat belt for the rocky hormonal road that may lie ahead!
     
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  19. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Bless you and her xx

    We all have our bad days, including dogs. It must have been embarrassing for you but those watching would either be smug or feel sympathy depending on their personality.

    All is learning :)


    .
     
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  20. Atemas

    Atemas Registered Users

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    Aah @Joy, I feel your pain. :hug::hug::hug:.
     
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