Canine Good Citizen Class did not go so well last night. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't perfect. There are several factors that played a role in last night's not so great performance. First, I was getting sick. I had an endocrinology appointment at Walter Reed in the morning. I was there a long time. Then I got an urgent appointment with my PCM at Ft. Belvoir in the afternoon. Because of all the driving we had to do, plus the time at the appointments, Topher and Tanker were home alone all day and bored. When we got home, they were full of energy and extremely happy to see us. I felt horrible and Wes was starting to not feel good. I took the meds that the doctor gave me and we both took a nap. I woke up feeling much better and we decided to go to CGC class. (I stayed away from everybody and we practice in a HUGE gym, so I didn't pass germs to anyone.) Topher and Tanker were happy and full of energy. We did not feel well enough to help them burn any of that energy before class.
One of the dogs in our class is being trained for bite work. He has to pass the CGC certification for whatever line of work he is going into. His handler likes to practice his bite work with the dog in class quite a bit. Topher has never seemed to be bothered by it. Last night, at the beginning of class, the guy was practicing with his dog. He was not that far away from us. It upset Topher and he whimpered a lot. He remained in a down and stay, but was clearly upset. I rubbed his ears and comforted him.
That incident pretty much set the mood for the night. Topher never shook it off. He did perform well most of the time though. We did a lot of individual work while being evaluated by the instructor. A lot of walking, left turns, right turns, sits, downs, waits, stays, etc. Topher did really well on that. Tanker did excellent too. While sitting along the wall waiting for our turns with things, we sat next to the GSD being trained for bite work. Topher did fine and layed there, but was aware of him next to us. I was feeling horrible at that point and the instructor even asked me if I was still there or if I had completely zoned out.
The last task we did before the end of the night was walking up to someone with a neutral dog and shaking their hand. The trainer's dog's name is Kera and she is a well trained lab. Topher has always done fine with this task in the past with Kera. Topher was the last to go with this. While other dogs were walking past, the pit bull had gotten aggressive with Kera, the other GSD was on high alert and competing with the bite work dog. The instructor had to warn the handler that her dog was not giving off good body language. The bite work dog was actually pretty neutral. Tanker was Tanker. He didn't care about anybody else. While meeting and greeting with the instructor and Kera, the other dogs were getting rowdy again, and Tanker barked. That set Topher off. Like I've said, Topher really looks out for his brother. I think that because he has been with Tanker through his seizures, he's been trained to bark and help Tanker through his seizures, etc, he feels protective of him. We were right next to Kera and the instructor when Tanker barked. Topher turned quick, ignored me, snarled at Kera who was in the way between him and his brother, and then Kera went after Topher. The trainer quickly reprimanded her dog. It was a horrible situation and a complete fail on the CGC and Delta test if we had been testing. I felt devestated. I should have never put Topher in that situation when the tension was so high in the room already. I feel like we went two steps backward last night. I up and left the ring at that point. Topher was really shaken up, but he walked nicely past the two GSDs and back next to Tanker. The pit bull was already out of the area at that time because of the aggression he was showing.
This week we are going to work with the vacuum. There are two things that Topher is acared of: over rambunctious/aggressive dogs and vacuums. (three things if you want to add Neo to the list. ;) He is not scared of trolleys, loud noises, Marines bombing at Quantico, cars, trains, strangers, snow plows, etc. I am going to work on him walking past the vacuum on the leash with me and trusting in me. I will keep the vacuum off to not scare him. I think it would be a good confidence booster for him to be able to overcome that fear. I just hope that last night's class didn't make him regress much. He is such a sweet boy. No wonder he's scared of mean dogs. Topher doesn't have an ounce of mean in him.
A happy end to my note: Tanker and Wes did EXCELLENT last night. I love watching the two of them work. Wes and Tanker both have such a heart of gold. Their energies mesh well together. We did a rally course last night, in which Tanker and Topher both did excellent on. I loved watching Tanker and Wes. Tanker gets all prancy when he walks and constantly looks up at Wes for commands. They have so much confidence in each other. They are a great team. Wes is a magnificent person. Dogs can sense that. They can sense his calm demeanor, his confidence, his intelligence, and his love. Actually, I may have Wes work with Topher in our next class if the same situation presents itself.
Off to get some sleep. I have bronchitis. I think Wes is getting it too and he is headed to the doctor this afternoon. Let's hope it clears up for him by Friday because he has his PT test. He has been working really hard on it despite his back injury and he would be devestated if he did bad on it because he was sick.
About The Foster Zoo
- Lindsay, Wes, and The Zoo Crew
- We have decided to blog our adventures again. So much has changed since we last blogged. Bella and Shiloh both went to their forever homes and they are in wonderful families. June Bug got adopted. We quit fostering dogs after those adoptions because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. We quit doing therapy dog work because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. Tanker passed away June 9th, 2013. We adopted a senior border collie named Shania Tankerbelle in his memory. We still have our two cats, Sweet Pea and Little Bit. Wes has started rescuing pitiful bettas from Wal-Mart and we currently have seven. We have a camper. We camp. We have focused on giving our animals the best lives possible. We are The Foster Zoo Crew and we like to have fun.