I'M the turd in the punch bowl. grin.
Y'all know I'm trying for Toe's novice obedience title at the English Cocker Nationals on Saturday the 28th and Tuesday the 31st, right? He has 2 scores and just needs ONE more! I think we can do it!
To improve our very sucky heeling, I need to get Toe out and about, so he gets used to paying attention to me with all sorts of distractions. I've been smuggling him to work on cool days (we aren't supposed to have dogs in cars in our parking lot). I cover his kennel with a blanket so no one can see and he can't see to bark at any one or any thing.
At lunch time we go on our little adventures. We go to parks, Home Depot, PetCo, Wilburs Liquor Store, sidewalks in front of strip malls... and I practice heeling with my little stump wagger.
When we practice in public, people will stop to watch the dork with the dog in weird places like a liquor store heeling up and down aisles... making right and left turns... going fast and slow... and some will smile and tell me, "Oh, he's so GOOD! He listens to every word you say! How do you do that? Did you train him yourself?"
And that makes me giggle on the inside because they have no idea that we really suck.
Then I'll go to random obedience drop-in classes. These classes have people and dogs who have been doing obedience competitively for YEARS. When I show up to those classes I'm the turd in the punchbowl. People sort of automatically give me wide berth and instinctively move away from me, not making eye contact.
Toe isn't spot on, competitive obedience like these people and dog teams are. They don't know what to do with me. When they group up in teams of 3 for a figure 8 exercise... I'm the last one picked and you can tell the instructor feels sorry for the other 2 people that have to be paired with me. Or the instructor will make blanket statements loud to all the people like, "If your dog can't do X, let me know..." while looking at me.
I'm the new face and no one knows what I know or don't know. Quite frankly, I don't know what I do or don't know anymore either.... dog training is really different after 10 years!
It's o.k. I don't take offense at all. I know I sort of rushed this novice obedience thing without realizing it. For some reason after 8 or 10 years pass, you forget how much goes into all the obedience work and it seems like it should be easier than it is... you sort of think you know more than you do and then you find out ya really don't.
And did I tell you I signed up for a June 6 beginner agility class? Gulp. Agility scares me - I think The Little Toe dog is gonna think agility is great fun... and as long as he's happy....