Monday, February 17, 2014

Bitches...It's Not Just For Dogs

     Hey, y'all! Dachshund Mommy here today to tell you about our adventure to Snobs-R-Us  the Earthdog event we went to yesterday. Just a heads up: this will probably be a longish post!


    Anyways, we went to an Earthdog event in Pensacola yesterday morning (and I mean morning. We had to get up before 6am to make it to the sing in on time). It was me and Nola, obviously, and Sweetie and Sugar acting as paparazzi. It was an interesting and funny experience, to say the least!

    If you don't know, Earthdog is a sport for small terriers and Dachshunds that tests the dog's natural ability to go to ground and work the quarry. There are four "levels" or "classes" (this is important to know for later), and they are:

  • Intro to Quarry (IQ) (your dog doesn't earn any points if they qualify in this)
  • Junior Earthdog (JE)
  • Senior Earthdog (SE)
  • Master Earthdog (ME)

    Nola was entered in the JE portion of the sport for a couple of reasons. 1) Your dog doesn't need to do IQ to enter JE 2) We traveled for about 3 hours, so I wanted Nola to have the chance at earning a point if she passed this. I'll just give a quick overview on how that went before I start telling you about the rest of our experience.


     Nola was very quick to go into the ground once I released her, but came out after about 30 seconds and came right back to me. I could almost see her saying "I found it, it's boring, and not worth my attenion. Where's my challenge, Mom? What's next?!". She didn't qualify, but I am more than okay with that! This was just to see how she'd do, and to be totally honest I didn't expect her to leave my side at all. I know she totally grasped the concept, but to be perfectly honest the sport is a little slow and boring for her intelligence level. This experience simply confirmed my instinct to pursue sports were we work as a team, such as Rally-O and Agility. I would still like to try lure coursing with her, though!

     Nola is a highly, highly intelligent and active dog that needs a lot of variety and stimulation in training. Like most intelligent dogs(there is an enormous difference between a smart dog and a biddible dog), Nola gets bored easily. I can't do a lot of repetitions when I train her, since she gets bored and wants something more challenging. Thankfully she doesn't need too many tries to have it down! Earthdog, while engaging, isn't a mentally stimulating activity, and as such it wasn't something Nola enjoyed doing too much. 
She's also very handler focused and handler oriented, and wants to work with (never for) me. Earthdog is something the dog does 100% on it's own, with no interaction from the handler. Nola thrives on interaction. She also lives to preform, and in a dark underground tunnel where no one can see her, what's a diva to do?
See why my expectations weren't too high? But you never know for sure if you don't try, and it was a fun experience! I'm glad we did it. :)







At the briefing.

The testing area. 

Waiting while the rats get put in. Didn't realize until this picture Nola's fur perfectly matches my hair, LOL!

This is what a Dachshund should look like: long but not insanely so.  Decent leg lengh. Chest off the ground. Strong, well developed muscles. Every single other Dachshund there was fat with no muscle tone, legs so short the chest touched the floor. They didn't look like they could work, and in my opinion that is unacceptable of a hunting breed. More dogs should look like Nola.

I love her focus! No treats, and she's giving me so much eye contact Sweetie couldn't get her to look at the camera. 




Release the hound!

Going right for the tunnel mouth.

"I'm done now, Mom." The lady in the upper left corner of the picture was such a bitch.

We watched a bit of an agility trial. That'll be us soon!



   Now, onto the mishmash of snobs and tight asses we encountered on this little jaunt. If you do dog sports and are one of "those people" (you know the type, but feel free to read below for a full rundown), then you may want to leave now. I'm going to be quite honest, and I'm not sorry for feeling this way. If that offends you, you're more than welcome to leave.


   I have never in my life encountered so many rude, unfriendly and socially inept people as I did yesterday. From blatant rude and patronizing comments to superior looks and tone to outright intimidation tactics, it was bedlam. 

     First, I was chastised twice for carrying a treat bag on my hip. Treats and treat bags are not allowed inside the testing area. Okay, sounds reasonable right? And it would've been fine, had I had had it inside the area. I had it more than 30 yards away from the test sites in the general milling about area and around the outside of the buildings, where it's perfectly fine to carry treat bags. I treat each outing with Nola as a training opportunity, and as such I carry treats wherever I go with her. It's not your concern if I have a treat bag or not outside of the testing area. 
The first time was by some very seedy guy coming right up to me (he couldn't have been more than 6-8" from me) and "explaining" that I couldn't use a treat bag in the ring. I told him I was fully aware of that fact and had read the rules and regs. Nola, the tasmanian devil, helped him on his way with a low growl and standing her fur on end. She is a very good judge of character. 

     Second, I may be younger than everyone in attendance, but I deserve to be treated with the same level of respect as everyone else. Do not treat me and talk to me like I am a child. I am your equal (although I'll admit to feeling like a superior around those people) and I demand to be treated as such. Don't look down your nose at me, dumb down your little entry speech, and don't go over every obvious rule and aspect of the event with me if you're not doing it with the rest of the entrees who are in the same class and Nola and I are.


     Third, chill out. Calm down, chillax, take a chill pill, whatever. Don't get your panties in a wad because I entered a class you wouldn't feel comfortable putting your dog into. It's my time, money and dog, and I'll enter whatever class I damn well please. Don't tell me I shouldn't do xyz because you didn't do it. And don't bitch about the collar my dog's wearing simply because you prefer your dog in a different kind. If my dog didn't slip collars except for martingales, I wouldn't have one on her. Her collar is within the rules of the competition. Get off your high horse. 


     Fourth, holy crap people it's just a game! Yes, it may be some people's passion, and that's great. That's awesome, actually, and more power to you! But at the end of the day, it's a game. A game is suppose to be fun and enjoyable for both you and your dog, regardless of the outcome. It's human nature to be disappointed when you don't win. I get that, I really do. I feel the same way sometimes. Regardless though, don't be a sore looser.
I was appalled at how some these handlers take the fact that their dog didn't qualify. This one woman yanked her Dachshund (who'd just finished or was still nursing puppies and probably shouldn't even have been there) into her arms and dug her fingers into the dog's chest and squeezed hard when the dog didn't qualify. Another woman repeatedly yanked her dog's leash and bitched to it when it didn't qualify, before promptly shoving it back inside it's crate. The other dog she entered did qualify and it was sad to see how much better she treated that dog. How you can treat their dog like this simply because it didn't do what they wanted it to is beyond me. Nola didn't qualify either, but I praised her and cuddled her because she did good and is always a winner in my eyes. I had a good time with my dog, and my love and affection for her doesn't depend on how she scores in a trial. She's my companion first, performance dog second. She's my pride and joy regardless of how she does, and she's not my accessory and ego boost.
This next encounter ties in with the next paragraph. The second lady described above walked past where we were waiting for our turn once her dog was done. Sweetie asked if the dog had enjoyed herself, and in a furious tone the woman replied with: "she would have been better if she'd actually done it right and qualified.". 






     And fifthly, this is the south. We're friendly here. You should try it. When someone compliments your dog, smile and say thank you instead of glaring and saying nothing. When someone asks you questions, be friendly and open. If you don't have time, just say so instead of being a dick. Politeness and good sportsmanship is something my mother taught me and clearly yours did not. I suggest you start learning, as you have a lot of ground to cover.


     Another thing that is worth mentioning was the discord between the majority of handlers and their dogs. The dogs wouldn't focus on their handler, or would cower and slink when around them. You could tell the dog didn't enjoy being with their person, and it probably has a lot to do with #4 on my list. Aside from Nola, the only other dog/handler team that looked happy and engaged with each other were a little girl (8, at the most) and her longhaired Dox.


     And that is the end of my rant! Obvious the "you" is general. ;)


    
     On a lighter note, our first Rally trial is March 1st! I have no doubt Nola will love this and do fantastic! 


Hugs,
Dachshund Mommy

15 comments:

  1. Ugh ... I hate saying this ... but sometimes (in my experience around dog show people) they are the worst!!! People always told me to go to dog shows to meet people and get to know dogs, but seriously it was the worst place. They were all so snobby and just looked down their nose at me (so I know exactly how you felt!). It kills me how these people act like not qualifying is a matter of life and death ... poor dogs! Like you I'm just happy with whatever I get out of Teach and praise everything. Rally people seem to be more laid back so hopefully you'll have a good experience there. We are going for our last leg in Rally Excellent on Feb 28th!!! Good luck to you guys!!!! (and I do think she will really thrive from it)

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  2. It is so sad that people would be like that at a competition. Not a surprise when you see the sport parents. Sorry it didn't work out for you and hope the next contest has nicer people.

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  3. Now, I've never been to an Earthdog trial. But I have been to a lure coursing trial held right next door, and had lunch with the Earthdog people. And I've been to Barn Hunt, which has a number of Earthdog people there. And they seemed very much like the competitors at all over dog sport venues I've been involved in. Which might just mean that we have awesome people in my area, or that you have horrible people there.

    I do want to add, for what it is worth, that Earthdog is not a sport where you WANT your dog to be engaged with you. My dogs are very engaged with me most of the time. I think that is obvious when reading my blog and seeing the photos I have up. But when we go to lure coursing, they barely even glance my way much of the time. They wouldn't look engaged at all. They are looking at/for the lure. Which is what they are supposed to do. So, some of your observations along that line may be skewed by the venue you were observing these people in, and not be a reflection of what they are like the rest of the time.

    All that said, I think the most important part of seeing new people at a sporting event is to be friendly and welcoming. Because without new people joining the sport, it will not grow. And the more people who participate, the more tournaments/trials there will be, and the more people there will be out there who share my passion. And it is very disappointing whenever I hear that dog sport people of any sport have failed in this.

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  4. OMG, I thought for a minute you had come to England for that event! What is wrong with people these days. You would think it would kill them to be nice or friendly or smile. It is depressing when you come across such patronising ar******s. I am not suprised you were p****d, LOL.
    Lynne x

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  5. It's even worse when you have the audacity to bring a mutt to any kind of official gathering.As if my dog isn't a good dog because I can't name his or her parents.

    You have the right attitude. What you're doing is good for you and good for the dog. So sorry you had a bad experience.

    --Woofs (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

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  6. My dogs have never competed for anything except who gets to sit in my lap (lol) but in the competitions ive seen on tv it always looks like both the dogs and their people are having a blast....together. This experience sounds horrible. Yuck.

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  7. Moms face would have been red & she would have been mumbling HBO words for sure
    Lily

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  8. I'm mystified why anyone would START this sport if they knew they were subjecting themselves to such nasty company. To everything you said: RIGHT ON! And like sketching with dogs said above, this behavior is on display in lots of other places. I say hi or smile at strangers all the time and you'd think I had pointed a loaded weapon at them. Seriously, you can't just smile or say hi back, people?

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  9. Oh my... that sounds awful, just plain awful. It's a hobby for most - so why not make it fun for the person and the dog? What you're describing is one small reason why I don't do any competition with my dogs...

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  10. I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience. It is sad that some parents, both to children & dogs, can be so shallow. I participated in dog shows years ago with my German Shepherd so I completely understand those attitudes. You do meet some wonderful people but there are always those that act like baseball/cheerleader parents. If you haven't been around THOSE folks, count your blessings. Finally, yes it is the south...we are nice people that speak, smile, and talk to complete strangers like old friends. LOL! Better luck next time but know you will always run into "those" types at any competitions.

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  11. Rats???? Did you say Rats???? YES PLEASE!!! Hey those biatches wouldn't mind if a 60lb hyperass Airedale gots in on the action, would they??!! I'll show them what happens when peeps are rude!! And nasty to their doggies?! I thinks that deserves a nip on the hinnie at LEAST! hehehe Seriously, WTF??? I'm glad Nola told that nosey pants off!
    Bless their hearts.....
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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  12. I wanted to write and let you know that I am presenting you with an award on my blog tomorrow, Tuesday February 18th. Please accept it with the love and admiration I intended. Thanks for being such an inspiration to me. My blog is Barking from the Bayou, http://mkclinton.com/
    Congratulations! Melissa Clinton

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  13. Unfortunately, you do get those people who are more into winning the sport in question than having fun with their dogs. And if they want to feel that way, then they are obviously very into it, however, they shouldn't take it out on the poor dogs who tried their best or the innocent people around them. You looked like you had a fun time.

    Earl and I.

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  14. Sorry about your experience. What hateful people! Good luck at rally, I am sure that Nola will excel, as it is a handler-interactive activity.

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  15. The thought of those people mistreating their dogs because they didn't qualify literally brought tears to my eyes. I can't fathom being ugly to my sweet babies because they didn't qualify in some competition. Your attitude is exactly right--your dog is your companion FIRST. Bless those people's hearts.

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