Top Notch Toys September 2018

“There is nothing more satisfying THAN WORKING WITH A WELL-TRAINED OBEDIENCE DOG.”

reachable goals. Just like people, Pugs come with a variety of mindsets and natural abilities. They have their pref- erences and strengths just like you do, and your dog may be better suited for one type of companion competition over another. Fortunately it’s the rare Pug that isn’t happy doing whatever you want him to. If you are happy they are happy. Go and watch Obedience, Rally andAgility.Which ones of these do you think you would enjoy?Where do you feel comfortable? Which ones “fit” you and your dog physically and mentally? I have never been totally at ease in the Rally ring. You could say it doesn’t fit me mentally. If my dog messes up it is never his fault, it is alwaysmine. I read the sign wrong, turn the wrong way, give the wrong command and more. But Pugs seem to love Rally because you can talk to them and they eat that up! Many people with Pugs love Rally and devote their entire time to it. Rally was originally designed as an introduction to Obedience but it has taken on a life of it’s own. I train the

Rally exercises because I believe they help with a dog’s Obedience prepara- tion. Once in a while we will venture into the Rally ring with the hope that Mom can get it right. For me, Obedience is the most rewarding and Agility is the most fun. There is nothing more satisfy- ing than working with a well-trained Obedience dog. As a trainer, Obe- dience has continuing challenges such as focusing on my timing, being clear with my commands, being con- sistent, having a training plan and most of all keeping it fun. All of these challenges make a difference in how fast the dog will learn and how well he will perform. Pugs will not toler- ate harsh corrections, jerking or what I call “drill and kill”. Short, varied training sessions seem to be the most successful for Pugs and always use positive reinforcement. What does your Pug need to excel in Companion events? Your Pug needs to be structurally sound, fit and trim. Trimness was an issue for me when I was campaigning one of

my champions and trying to train in Agility at the same time. In Confor- mation, many judges want “hefty” Pugs and knowing it wasn’t safe for my dog to be doing agility at his Con- formation weight I had to make some choices. I chose to finish showing him that year and was thrilled to win an Award of Merit at the Garden at his retirement show. After he was done with this show career, I dropped his weight down and we started compet- ing seriously in Agility. He earned many placements and titles and we had a ball! In Northern California with our year-round mild weather, all Agility training facilities and trials are out- doors or under covered horse arenas. When I first starting going to Agility class there were some definite chal- lenges with my breed. The surface at the training facility nearest my house was wood chips. Did I mention Pugs will eat anything? I would toss a treat reward and he would eat the reward along with a mouthful of bark! Need- less to say I had to find another place

T op N otch T oys , S eptember 2018 • 61

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