What do you do when your dog loses his mind in the ring?

Del Valle 2016

Del Valle 2016

I was at the Harvest Moon cluster last weekend showing my young Tibetan Terrier. In one awful moment, he scented a bitch in season, and it was all over! All the work, all the training. He acted like he had never been on lead and forgot everything we had worked on. Later that day I was watching another breed, and a professional handler was having a similar problem with a young bitch. I am embarrassed to say that it made me feel better to know that someone whom I deeply respect was also showing a dog that needed patient firmness to guide it through the class. It happens to all of us at some point because dogs are dogs, not machines.

Why am I talking about young dogs and basic behavior issues in the ring?

Dogs have their good days/bad days too, and young dogs still need ‘shaping.’ It’s not about you, but you have choices about how you respond. You can either walk away with head down feeling shamed, heaven forbid you could get angry, or you could use it as a learning experience and training opportunity for both you and your dog.

Now that I know my dog is going through that stage, I can do something about it. I can adjust my approach to his training routines and raise the bar for his level of attention and training. Go to DogShowMentor.com/Owner-HandlerProgram/ to check out how a shift in approach can help your young (unruly) dog.

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