Does anyone else have dogs that are family dogs and get quite stressed when the family unit separates.
My daughter does obedience competitions and I am her designated driver and helper. The problem is we can't quite nail what is the best position for me to be in whilst she is working our dog (Shelby). If I disappear off prior to the show Shelby will be constantly looking for me and trying to pull to where she saw me last. On the other hand, if I stay in sight near the ring, my daughters success rate has been mixed. On some occasions Shelby is not bothered by me, but on other occasions she won't stop looking at me. When it goes bad for her, it looks as though I am deliberately trying to mess her up and I often get comments from people telling me to move away. But what they don't realise is that Shelby will run out of the ring if I leave.
Anyway we are working on distraction techniques with Shelby, but I just wondered if anyone else had this problem and how they dealt with it.
Yes! Well, sort of. We do fun shows and once she's in the ring, Ellie will cry and pull if she can see anyone from our family. What I tend to do is get them to move once we leave to go in the ring i.e. we'll walk one way, the rest of the family will go another way. Or, I'll try and make sure that I end up standing somewhere that she won't be able to find them.
Oddly enough, Ellie is my dog and is usually a bit of a pain in the house if I'm not in, but she is also very aware that there are usually 4 people in the house and doesn't settle fully until everyone is in. So if we're out as a family, or even just in a pair, if one person goes off somewhere (like the toilet), she will cry until they come back. This also applies to my cousin if she's with us. We went to a dog show in the summer, just me, my cousin & her little girl. We took Pepper & Ellie and in the queue to register for classes, my cousin moved away from the queue and Ellie went mad so I had to let go of her lead so she could go to them. Immediately, she wanted to come back to me. So she's just a bit silly.
If I was close to my daughter and Shelby once they walked in the ring, Shelby would definitely be looking for me if I then walked away. If my daughter walks off for a while, Shelby still wants to return to me. The only thing I can think of, is that if my daughter goes off for a significant time prior to a competition then hopefully it will give her time to forget about me. My only concern is that my daughter is only 13, so I want to keep a close eye on her. I think maybe she should take Shelby off on her halti for a while (as she is strong) and I can follow her at a distance without being seen. It is a real pain as my daughter has Discovery Dog competition in October and I don't want to mess it up for her.
That's understandable paul. Does your daughter walk Shelby alone ever? And how does your daughter try to gain Shelby's attention back if she gets distracted in the ring?
I wonder if you could find a treat that's extra high value to her that only your daughter could use, so that even if you're there, Shelby will pay attention to your daughter rather than you. I suppose this might only work if treats are allowed in the ring during a competition. If they're not, it could still work if your daughter only ever uses that particular high value treat when training as then Shelby will be expecting it during a competition and hopefully pay attention.
Another thing that could work is if you walk with your daughter to the ring, but then sort of hide behind a bigger group of people once they get into the ring. That way you'd be able to see what's going on, but hopefully Shelby won't be able to spot you.
Hi Orpheous87. That's a good idea, I will try and get some special treats just for my daughter to use. My daughter only ever walks with me and the dogs. Its a quandary what to do, as I know it would definitely be beneficial if my daughter walked Shelby on her own, but she is just 13 years old and I am not sure I am happy letting her walk her without me. Shelby is very good and not as strong as our other dog, she also walks nicely on a head halti, so I know my daughter would be fine. I am just concern about those rare situations when a nasty dog approaches her. We have a patch of grass over the road from our house, which I think I will let her go over to. That way I can keep an eye on her through the bedroom window. I am close by at shows and it does work ok some of the times, so perhaps I shall try standing a little further back each time and close to other people (as you suggest). Thanks for the advice.
That sounds like a good idea paul. I can definitely understand your reluctance to let your daughter walk Shelby completely on her own. There are too many incidents involving unfriendly dogs these days. Things have definitely changed even since I was a teenager and walking my own dog and my neighbour's German Shepherd with their son who was even younger than me. I don't think we'd be allowed to do that nowadays. But the patch of grass across from your house sounds like a good compromise.
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