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So, Maggie and I didn't get the memo that our Novice obedience class was going to be full of dogs who know what they're doing and that they're totally going to show us up! I think we need remedial novice. Some of those dogs have real titles already.  She said, stand your dog for exam, and I'm like uh, what? And then it was, "hold the leash like this and hold the treat like that and put it right here..." And I'm thinking, people I'm going to need at least 2 more hands to do all these things at the same time. Especially if I'm not supposed to trip over the dog too. Coordination is hard, and those ballet classes did not help. Sorry, mom. 

Needless to say, we have homework. I'm supposed to teach Maggie to stand. We need work on our long sits and downs (3 minutes feels like eternity to me too.) Our figure 8's need some work. Ok, everything needs some work. But she's having fun and that's why we're doing it. I just secretly want her to be the best. I have to remind myself that 2 sets of classes ago she didn't even know how to sit. She should get an award for most improved. We like awards.

There is this Belgian Malinois in our class (I thought he was a mutt at first, and I kept looking at him and couldn't figure out why he still had his boy bits, when I realized he was a Malinois.) He seems like a nice dog, but so intense. His focus was incredible. It looked like he was saying, "awaiting my next command master." I've always wondered what it would be like to have a dog that was so high energy and scary smart - a malinois or a border collie or something. I think it would be a poor choice for me, but, I would kind of like to try it out for a couple days just to see what it felt like. 

In summary - tonight was a lesson in all the things I really kind of thought we already knew. Canine Good Citizen is as far in obedience as I've ever gotten with any dog. Now I know that there is so much more out there that we can learn and do.

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Stacy I had to laugh...mom, are you competitive much? LOL! You have done such an amazing job with Maggie in the short time that you have had her; you and Maggie deserve a trophy for all your hard work!

Belgian Mainois are a breed unto themselves; there is a reason why they are used in police work, the high energy, supreme level of intelligence and work ethic are top notch. Henry's trainer works with one that Henry had an opportunity to share in some play time at the lake recently...that boy was so intense even in play he made my poor muppet man look like a doofus LOL! It takes a special owner to have a Malligator (those jaws/teeth are no joke!) because they NEED to work and get bored easily.

I'm so glad you mentioned this, Dolly. Malinois are not dogs for the average pet owner, and there has been a terrible increase in the numbers of Malinois relinquished to shelters and rescues since that movie Max, just as the Belgian Malinois breed clubs feared there would be. 
 

I haven't seen that movie, but I'm sure he looks like the best dog ever. I think people don't really understand the work that goes into that. And can you imagine living with him? Only if he had an off switch. It's too bad people don't put more thought into getting a pet. I know people who take more time picking out a pair of shoes. 

Dogs are not all created equal. You can't just lump them into one group and call them dog. I love all dogs, but I could give you a long list of breeds that I would never want to own. 

You are so right Karen, they are very special dogs and require special training and ownership to fit into a "normal" family. The dog my trainer works with is owned by a family that owns a canine tactical store and they are former canine unit military members. While their Yeti boy is an amazing dog it is because of the immense amount of training and knowledge that they have invested in him. I know that Henry respects that, but gives Yeti a very large berth even in play...you can see the expression on his face, "dude, can you dial it down a few hundred decibels?"

So true!  A friend of my husband's has 3 which have not been properly trained, just hang around the property with no sense of purpose.  They are skittish, pace his fence line and bark/snap out of fear not protection.  I felt so sorry for those dogs but the owner thinks they are good protectors and won't accept any criticism about it.

That's why it's funny. If you asked me if I was competitive I would tell you not at all. But I didn't want those other dogs being more advanced than Maggie. Maggie's the best, smartest girl who ever was. She really has done so well. I have to remind myself that we are really just doing this for fun. She likes to go to class. I'm not going to get upset if she doesn't become a grand champion whatever. We're just playing.

The Malinois was so interesting to me. He was a lot smaller than I thought they were. I had a friend who had a Belgian Shepherd and he was much bigger. He was also a pretty laid back doofus. I always thought that those three dogs (Malinois, Tervuren, and Shepherd) were like the same dog with different coats. Maybe I got that wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. I know that would be a terrible breed for me but man, it was really cool to watch him work. 

There's a fourth breed of Belgian Shepherd, the Laekenois, which is the rarest and cutest, IMO. They have curly hair and furnishings. That's the breed that played the lead in that Winn-Dixie movie. Google them. 

Who knew? I think the terv is such a pretty dog. But the same thing with the intensity. There is one that we run into at the park sometimes and it always tries to herd Katie. I give the owner the side eye. Katie is not your little black sheep. Go find something else to do. That lady spends a lot of time at the park with that dog. I bet it's impossible to wear her out.

There's a something a bit too sharp in the Tervurens' faces that I find unattractive. 

I'd still take a good GSD over any of the Belgians, any day of the week. They can do anything, and they make phenomenal companions. There is no breed in the world that bonds faster or tighter to their owner. That's one part of what makes them such great K9s. 

I like the German Shepherds who stand up straight. I think breeders have done something terrible with the rear angulation. That doesn't look healthy to me. 

Well, in fairness, there is supposed to be a natural angulation to their hind quarters. It's not really about standing up straight. A lot of breeds are supposed to have what is called a "bend of stifle", Poodles among them. Stick straight hind legs are also not healthy, especially for the spine. Of course, there are some breeders who have accentuated the bend of stifle to the point where it's not a good thing.
When you watch the GSDs with correct conformation running, you can see that that slope to their hind ends does not in any way impede or affect their movement. It actually improves shock absorption. And since movement is one of the major qualities on which GSDs in conformation are judged, we know that the GSDs who win in the show ring are physically sound. 

Henry's trainer would absolutely agree with you Karen! She just adopted (she calls it a foster fail LOL) a GSD rescue that is the coolest, most confident dog I have ever seen. He is shear joy to watch in action, so beautiful...but the amount of work she has invested in him over the four months that she has had him is visible in their relationship and his temperament/personality. I love watching them work together, it is really fascinating to watch a good trainer with her students and the human/canine dynamic.

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