Dog Sport Etiquette

Weight pull, Protection, Agility, Flyball... you name it!

Postby maberi » July 22nd, 2009, 6:10 pm

For people that compete in different dog sports, do you find differences in the dog sport etiquette based on the breeds that dominate those sports?

After attending a dock diving event I was floored at how willy nilly people were with their dogs. Many people allowed their dogs to run off leash, while others would allow their dogs to come right up to your dog while waiting in line to use the dock (half of which were unneutered males).

I often see this same type of behavior at some flyball events where people enter and leave the rings with their dogs off leash.

As a bully breed owner when I am out and about with my dogs and other dogs, I probably tend to be a bit overly cautious but even the basics of common courtesy to other people and their dogs don't seem to follow suit at some of these events.

Is behavior like this common place because most of these people own social butterfly breeds that just get along with everyone and everything that they tend to forget basic dog etiquette?
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Postby DemoDick » July 22nd, 2009, 6:20 pm

Think this stuff happens at an ADBA weight pull? Or an all breed PP tournament?

I really think that people tend to gravitate towards sports, breeds, and overall temperaments that are in line with their own socio-political views. Social butterflies don't want game-bred pits to do protection work, and those of us with more prickly dispositions don't have much use for lovey-dovey dogs to do rally with in between doggy kisses on the sidelines.

So I think that regardless of the breed or the sport, it has more to do with the personalities and dispositions of the people involved.

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Postby maberi » July 22nd, 2009, 6:25 pm

Well I guess that explains the guy in crocs with the Portuguese Water Dog
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Postby DemoDick » July 22nd, 2009, 6:34 pm

maberi wrote:Well I guess that explains the guy in crocs with the Portuguese Water Dog


So you're saying that Portugese Water Dog owners are more likely to be homosexual? Interesting...

This whole thing varies by personality. If you go to an upscale Schutzhund club (where they handle the dogs with those fancy training vests) and whip out a deadly serious, defense driven (but stable) dog, you may get uninvited back. Bring that dog to a serious, old school Schutzhund club (where the head trainer has scars all over his hands and arms from real bites) and they'll be all over you with compliments. There's just a different expectation of behavior from both handler and dog, even though both are Schutzhund venues. It's controlled by who's in charge and what their personality is.

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Postby maberi » July 22nd, 2009, 6:40 pm

DemoDick wrote: There's just a different expectation of behavior from both handler and dog, even though both are Schutzhund venues. It's controlled by who's in charge and what their personality is.
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Well not to get totally off topic but if that is the case, do you feel that judging at these venues would differ based on the personality of the individual (I realize the answer should be no, but I'm curious as to the reality).
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Postby pocketpit » July 22nd, 2009, 6:47 pm

I think Demo's got a very good observation and I'd tend to agree with it. The old adage that dogs are like their people is true.
The dog dock events I've attended have not been too bad but folks there are less inclined to think that someone else's dog may not be as social as theirs is. Flyball in my area sounds much like your experiences. People not watching their dogs, wanting play parties after practice or tournaments, etc.
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Postby DemoDick » July 22nd, 2009, 6:54 pm

maberi wrote:Well not to get totally off topic but if that is the case, do you feel that judging at these venues would differ based on the personality of the individual (I realize the answer should be no, but I'm curious as to the reality).


You're right, it should be no, but it is not. The judging is very subjective. Schutzhund, just to use an example, was once a BST for GSD's, and the dogs had to be REAL. As REALLY ready to eat the bad guy. Nowadays you're better off walking onto the field with a point-robot who hangs on the sleeve like a wet towel, at least in most clubs. There are still a few places out there who emphasize the right stuff, but let's be honest, if the big money is in breeding high in trial point-dogs and NOT dark-alley dogs, what direction are breeders likely to go?

This is the dilemma between sport and street. Personally, I don't give a rat's ass if my PP dog has a retrieve over jumps or a flashy heel. I want a dog who keeps his head under pressure and who trusts me in obedience, but who will bite a tree if I tell him to. I have to be honest, I'm pretty sure I have that dog now.

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Postby blabsforbullies » July 22nd, 2009, 10:45 pm

Matt,

Although I wasn't at the event you describe, I can say that the club is a very new one, with many people that are new to the realm of dog sports. Additionally, this was dock time for new people who may be experiencing this sport for the very first time. Does it excuse the behavior? Of course not! Is that typical of a dock diving event, absolutely not. That is a unique situation because of the location, and yes, they were lax on the rules.

The rules clearly state that each dog needs to be leashed, on no more than a 4' lead, and must be 6' away from all other dogs. It is, unfortunately, a case where the rules were obviously not clarified, and with a group of new people in the sport, it is a diaster waiting to happen. I agree that it shouldn't have been that way, but please keep in mind that this is NOT typical of an event.

If you have concerns, and I believe you have valid, very good concerns here, I hope that you will pass them along to the appropriate people so that it can be rectified.

As for the breed fitting the personality, I will leave that for another time.
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Postby amazincc » July 22nd, 2009, 11:18 pm

I don't do dog sports... but I often find differences in the dog etiquette based on the breeds in my neighborhood/on the street. Does that count?

Three houses away from me live three yappy chis... I've yet to see them being kept on-leash or even securely confined to their owners property. The argument is that "they're too small to REALLY hurt someone". Apparently hurting someone a "little bit" is okay. :rolleyes2: :doh:
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Postby Hundilein » July 22nd, 2009, 11:21 pm

amazincc wrote:I don't do dog sports... but I often find differences in the dog etiquette based on the breeds in my neighborhood/on the street. Does that count?

Three houses away from me live three yappy chis... I've yet to see them being kept on-leash or even securely confined to their owners property. The argument is that "they're too small to REALLY hurt someone". Apparently hurting someone a "little bit" is okay. :rolleyes2: :doh:


That happens here too. I was out walking Renee the other morning and some people were out with their Chihuahua, on a flexi lead, lunging, growling, and barking at Renee from across the street. The people laughed. I guarantee if Renee had been behaving the same way towards their dog, they would not have been laughing.
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Postby LMM » July 23rd, 2009, 7:53 am

amazincc wrote:I don't do dog sports... but I often find differences in the dog etiquette based on the breeds in my neighborhood/on the street. Does that count?

Three houses away from me live three yappy chis... I've yet to see them being kept on-leash or even securely confined to their owners property. The argument is that "they're too small to REALLY hurt someone". Apparently hurting someone a "little bit" is okay. :rolleyes2: :doh:


So you probably don't want to talk about my neighbor 3 doors down with two perfectly lovely and social pits who are free to run around in the front yard unleashed. The first time I saw it I honestly stood there in stupefied amazement for 5 minutes with Mia going "mommy what?!"

I've met them and I've met their dogs but I am currently working up the nerve to go down and talk to them to tell them why it is a colossally BAD idea. Especially in this neighborhood.

I have been to a couple events and I have to say, depending on the event the etiquette really does vary.
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Postby maberi » July 23rd, 2009, 10:07 am

blabsforbullies wrote:Matt,
Although I wasn't at the event you describe, I can say that the club is a very new one, with many people that are new to the realm of dog sports. Additionally, this was dock time for new people who may be experiencing this sport for the very first time.


Hi Alisa,

I hope you didn't take offense to my post. I wrote Christin and Todd and thanked them for putting on a wonderful event and was planning on sending out a follow up with the concerns I had (although I wasn't sure who that should go to).

I've been to numerous events where dog owners new to sports could try them out so I realize that this often contributes to the behaviors described. I was a bit surprised to see some club members with off leash dogs and no notification to newbies that off leash dogs were not permitted near the pool area or where people were lined up. Again, part of this is probably attributed to the club being new as you described and the large turnout of people and dogs at the event.

Overall the event was very well run and the club members were EXTREMELY helpful to us newbies. The only suggestions I will pass along is the enforcement of leash rules and possibly another system so that instead of having people line up side by side to wait for the pool, numbers are given out to each participant and those numbers are called when it is the handlers time to use the pool. There were a few minor dog fights while people were waiting in line with some of the newbies so I think a system that didn't require people to wait in line would prevent those.

I'll definitely pass my suggestions along and the boys and I will be back at the dock for the competition in August.

Good luck this week with your crew

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Postby napster » July 23rd, 2009, 12:32 pm

great topic! normally in any situation where i'm in a heavy traffic area i will have my dogs on a 1 to 2' lead and they are not allowed to visit other dogs nor do i "invite" other handlers to engage in "conversation" with them. i treat others dogs the same way - when they are getting ready to or in the middle of working I ignore them.
if mr/ms happy handler's dog comes to close i politely tell them to "control your dog". i use to say watch your dog until a jackarse replied "why does your dog bite?". theres really no "stereotype" for bad handlers.
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Postby mnp13 » July 23rd, 2009, 12:52 pm

In my personal experience, the attitudes / handler behavior at a dog event has as much to do with the venu and breed as anything else.

The "working dog" venues seem to have handlers that pay attention to where their dog is and what's around them. Of course, there are always exceptions, but that's a general observation. I've seen a few things at UKC events that would get a dog thrown out of an AKC event that people just shrug off and go about their business.

The last thing you'd see at a PSA event is a dog hanging out 6 feet from the handler and being allowed to meet every other dog and handler in the area.

At the obedience shows I've been to, people seem to be much more lax about that and it really ticks me off. The lines always seem to fall on the "good breed" "bad breed" thing.

There are a few dogs in the obedience club I'm in who would nail you if you just reached out to pet them as you walked by, but they are "good breeds" so that's ok. I got kicked out of an obedience class last year because my dog broke his sit during someone else's dog's recall. People lost their minds over it, because the big evil Pit Bull got up when the little rat dog ran across the ring. It didn't matter that two other dogs did the same thing, those were good breeds.

It's frustrating and, yes, I'm a bit bitter about it.
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 23rd, 2009, 12:53 pm

I definitely see more loose dogs in flyball...including one that belongs to a judge. I've always chalked it up to being a very dog/dog-friendly sport...by that I mean that dogs have to get along to some extent to play. Aggressive dogs that act on their feelings cannot play the sport...(I do know some dogs that would love to tear into another dog, but contain themselves in the ring).

My guys just shuffle past others...and ignore them for the most part...and that's what I see most dogs doing once they play long enough. ;)

My problem early on with Inara was that she thought about biting the HUMANS involved...so I used to carry her in and out of the ring each time...so she couldn't act on any of her feelings! :rolleyes2: Try shaking hands with your competitors each time while holding a 40# Aussie on your hip!
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