Oh no! My dog is watching me as I type this …. but SHE’S SITTING! How could I have let this happen? Allow a show dog to sit? OH NO!! Now she’s lying down. Sigh. Her show career is over. Unless? Perhaps I could just teach her when she’s supposed to sit? Hmmm ……
To this day I remember getting in trouble when I was around 2 years old for sitting down while watching the changing of the guards. The GUARD walked over and reprimanded me! I’ll never forget the seriousness on his face nor the look of embarrassment on my parents’ faces. Well, I didn’t know it wasn’t appropriate to sit! My parents didn’t know! There were no blasted signs. (Besides, I couldn’t read yet).
Since pugs are perpetual 2-year old children, I guess the same applies here. As the human, I’m going to need to tell my pug when it’s appropriate to sit, stand, or lie down.
Honestly, I haven’t met a single conformation person yet who hasn’t warned me “never teach a show dog to sit.” It doesn’t make sense to me. Even when I’ve followed their advice, and deprived the poor pug puppy the opportunity to learn puppy pushups and other important life skills, the pup STILL sat in the show ring! And, horrors, on the conformation table too!
A show pug has one short life to live. Why should a show pug have a less fulfilling life than a rescue dog? Also, I can speak from experience when I say that a show pug who has NOT received obedience training is NOT a pretty sight … especially when living with a large grumble. And aren’t show pugs are supposed to be pretty 😉?!
So, I’m stepping out on that thin ice and breaking the rules. Yes, I’m teaching Lilibeth to sit.
She will sit while in a car.
She will sit while in a bar.
She will sit on my left side.
She will sit on our trike ride.
She will sit in front
And she will not afront.
Lilibeth, puppy pushups here we come! You will conquer everything with your brilliant mind and spirit. Never underestimate a pug or a pug owner.
This will be my first time to dual train. I’ve picked the brains of 100s of trainers who dual train and compete in both conformation and obedience on the same day. I’ve re-read my dual-training books. I’ll add a mirror and videotape sessions to make sure I’m keeping my body language consistent and clear. And I’ll let you know how it turns out.
My plan: Begin with conformation Boot Camp which will last 30 days as we prepare for a BPUP to be held at the end of March. We will work on other important skills for rally like attention, recalls, manners, leave it etc. alongside but wait to begin the hardcore skills of attention heeling, Velcro dog, fronts and finishes to begin after Conformation Boot Camp. ALSO, we will enter her first rally show in June and ONLY do rally at that show. The following month, we will participate in both rally and conformation.
I’ve got to make it fun …. we’ll start with …..
Eat meals on collapsed conformation table
Play and treat on “ “ “
Lead Breaking (follow pup around etc.)
Lure games (with lead on, treat using Left Hand/Lead Hand)
Obstacle courses with lure
Manners – leave it, drop it etc.
And, of course, Rapt Attention.
Let the games begin!
Amy Aberg McLelland, co-owner Pickwick Pugs