Maggie's Brag

Do you all remember when I was convinced that not only would Maggie hate me forever, but that she would also never be potty trained, or anything trained?

I just have to brag on this girl. She's come so far. 2020 has been a terrible year, but she still managed to get her first obedience title. Beginner Novice. I was really unsure about it, because in BN the dog does a sit/stay and the handler (me) moves 6 feet to the end of the leash and then the judge moves in and touches the dog's head. The dog has to stay sitting while this happens and not appear shy or resentful. As far as Maggie has come, she's still my girl and she doesn't love having strangers touch her.

But we practiced and practiced and she did it in 3/3 tries. The second and third trials were at my kennel club and I had volunteered to help so when I was at lunch with the Judge a couple days before the trial I had laughed and said I didn't know how she would do with that, and it may be my donation to the club. So during the third trial, he examined her and as I was walking back he laughed and told me that she had leaned in and put her head in his hand. Talk about a proud moment. 

I did not know, when Maggie came to live with me, that she would compete like this. It's something I've always wanted to do, but especially in the beginning I thought I would just be lucky if she didn't pee on the carpet. But she thrives on training. She puts her head up and she trots like a show dog. She needed a job. And we are such a good team now. She pats my leg and I feed her cookies. I'm very well trained. It's not about the titles or the ribbons (but I really love the ribbons!) It's about building that bond and enriching her life, and having more than just a couch dog. 

Rescue dogs can do amazing things!


I Still Believe In Magic - Maggie CGC, BN, RN, TKN

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  • My heart just bursts with happiness and pride over what you and Maggie have accomplished. And this is only the beginning. The sky is the limit!
    Do I get to brag a little for my part in bringing you two together? LOL

    • I agree that the sky is the limit for her. Originally I thought that she would retire after her BN, because the stand for exam for the CD is really going to challenge her. And I'm terrible at figure 8's. I struggle with walking at a consistent speed and staying the right distance away from the cones. It's a personal problem. I need a metronome to start with. But now I think we have the bug and I have a plan in my head for working on the stand for exam. She also really likes Rally, so that's another avenue.

      Of course you can brag! I'm not going to lie, there were a few minutes when I was not thanking you for bringing us together. But I thank you now! Really what you should brag about was the encouragement to train her. I was not convinced that it would work, but it changed everything. Even the first trainers commented about how she wouldn't even aknowledge my presence. She actively worked not to look at me. And now I have a dog who sits and stares lovingly into my eyes. She leans her head against me, like momma love me some more. I hate to think where she would be if she had gone to someone who didn't have the ability to take her to weekly classes for the last 2 1/2 years. I don't think we would have survived without that initial forced interaction. 

      I have to brag on Willow a little bit too. She's taking intro to Open this session, and she's turning into quite the little obedience dog too. I think she reads my mind. A little more maturity and a little less distractibility and she's going to take on the big dogs. 


      • Get a couple of cones and practice the figure eights in the yard. I know it's a bad time of year for that, but it will pay off in terms of your coordination with the exercise.  
        I've been wondering what Willow was up to these days. The sky's the limit for her, too.

        I wish every dog in the world had an owner as dedicated as you. The shelters would be empty.

        The power of the training bond is so underestimated. 

        • Willow is doing really well! She got Scent Work legs this year. She has one leg toward interiors, exteriors, and containers. But because of Covid we had to reschedule the SW trial twice, so she only got to go on Friday instead of the whole weekend. Maybe next year. 

          They aren't having any more advanced SW classes until the start of next year, so we went back to obedience classes. She's doing very well. I have some decent off leash heeling, (but distractions are hard!) and now we are working on the broad jump, dumbell recall, and drop on recall. We only have pieces of all of them, but I'm impressed that she went from not wanting the dumbbell in her mouth on the first week to actually retrieving it. For some reason it's really hard to sit with a dumbbell in your mouth. She is working on it - yes, you can hold it and sit at the same time.

          I still consider Willow a rescue. But the difference between rescuing a dog at 17 weeks, who had a decent start to life before I got her and a dog who has been mistreated for the first year and a half of their life is like night and day. She thinks people were invented to love her. And she's a soft dog, but she's also very confident. I wish Maggie could have started that way. I wish I could rid her of that emotional baggage that tells her people are something to be worried about.

          • "Articles" is the hardest part of Obedience training. Even my training idols (like the woman who owns Jasper's aunt with the UDX10, lol) are constantly working on and talking about Articles in the FB dog training groups. Getting a dog to even take the object, let alone hold it for more than a second, is surprisingly tough. I saw one "balanced training" explanation of how to do it that involved pressing the buckle of the dog's collar into her ear leather. Um, no. 
            Jack never got over that "people are something to be worried about" thing. And you know what? Sadly, more and more I think he was right to feel that way. 

            • But, when you have the scent articles down you will rock handler discrimination in Scent Work! Crossover training! 

              We are working on holding the dumb bell. I've heard of the ear pinch as a way to teach it, and I won't use it. My instructors didn't even suggest it. We are doing this for fun and that would not be fun for my dogs and the whole point is to have fun with them. 


              • And that made me me think of another "inspirational" quote that you will love. It's meant for agility competition, but I think it applies to all competitive dog activities.

                • That one is great too. 


                  I used this one in the last newsletter

      • I'm horrible on my feet too.  Hate the figure 8.  But if Maggie can come so far, so can you.  You'll do fine with practice.  And I guarantee you are capable of walking a figure 8--you're just psyching yourself out about it.  Get some painter's tape and tape a pattern in your living room on the carpet.  Or buy some hula hoops and lay them down.


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