The rules at USDAA trials are rather loose, like no requirement to have a dog on a leash, and some vague "sportsmanlike conduct". AKC, well, there's long list in their code of conduct. I can see how this code is appealing to the small dog handlers.
There appears to be an "us against them" mentality between the small dog handlers and the larger dog handlers. Just because your dog is bred to give eye, bite, herd, give chase, or whatever doesn't mean the behavior is acceptable towards other creatures.
Someone posted a picture of a dog gripping a cow on Facebook, very pleased with her dog's (a relative of the pictured dog) mouthiness. Only thing about it is... this dog does NOT participate in herding - it's an agility dog.
Bragging about this got my panties in a bunch. Why? Bug has been a victim of this dog's mouth. Twice. And, the handler NEVER apologized.
Scout just doesn't like most other dogs. I monitor everything around her, as I don't want her to have the opportunity to react. I give warnings. "My dog doesn't like other dogs." I apologize if I haven't been vigilant. Upon hearing Scout's story during an award presentation, most handlers were surprised that she is reactive. "I never knew... you manage it well".
Here are some of the things that my dogs have been subjected to:
- Walking Boo around at a trial where there was limited space. I chose to return to my setup with my dog that looks like a walking lamby toy through an uncongested area. A border collie rips out of a setup and nails Boo. Boo is clueless and keeps walking. Handler came to me in tears, apologizing, and offering to pay for any veterinary care.
- Getting Bug ready for a run. He's at my feet, and I have him growling and tugging. A leashed BC is giving him the eye, then goes in for the bite. No apology.
- Same trial, getting Bug ready for a run. Same BC does same thing. This time Bug reacts, snapping and lunging at the other dog. No apology.
- Walking Bug, getting him to do his business before his run. Walk 6' behind a BC at ringside whose owner is getting him jazzed up by watching other dogs (BAITING). Dog turns and nips Bug. I get the "why is your dog harassing mine" look.
- Bug's first day in agility class. Aussie in the other group has fixated on him from the moment we walked in the gate. Aussie is over 75' away and attacks Bug, who is leashed and attached to a weave pole.
- Scout, Ms. Reactive, is being prepared for a run. Her routine is a series of left and right spins and barks. She jumped 16" in Performance, first dog in a large class, so I'll never understand why these morons had their 16" Championship dog out 30 minutes early. The handler of an Italian Greyhound, a breed with petite bones, was rubbing his dog's side, asking him if he wanted to... get Scout - the last dog to ever use as a bait dog.
- Getting Boo ready for his turn in class. I'm about 30' away from equipment, and he's doing his "rev" routine - kicking his hind legs and barking. The dog currently doing the exercise makes a beeline towards Boo. Twice. I am fortunate to still have quick reflexes, and snatch Boo off the ground. Twice.