Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What Next? Drag your dog's corpse around a course?

I'm not going to name names or venues, but some people are just stupid. If your dog is NOT CAPABLE of performing the obstacles, perhaps it's time to retire the dog, or find something else to entertain both you and your dog.

My point of contention is lowering an A-Frame for obese dogs, geriatric dogs, and otherwise physically unable dogs. If you are dragging and coaxing a 12.5-year-old dog around the course, the A-Frame height doesn't make a damn bit of difference.

"Lowering the A-frame for my grand-vet dog made a huge difference. Everyone knew the A-frame would be lowered , when it would be lowered and I felt the time to lower it was not detrimental in slowing the run order down"
The person who posted this has an old BC that, I'm being nice here, trotted through a course. Watching this dog was like having my eyes raped. It was pure torture.

If you have a fat, legless dog, chances are pretty good it's not fast enough to propel itself up the A-Frame. Heck, why stop at legless - how about just plain fat. And the handler is torturing their dog and spectators because...? Cruelty? His misguided belief that it's agility or else? Why?

Agility is not for all dogs, just as no sport is, nor ever will be for all people. Every professional athlete has RETIRED at some point. Our dogs, however, do not not get to make this choice for themselves. Our dogs rely on their owners to determine when it's time.
  • If your dog cannot meet the performance standards, it's time.
  • If your dog cannot keep low jump bars up, it's time.
  • If your dog cannot run any longer, it's time.
  • If your dog is physically incapable (like hip dysplasia), it's time.
I suspect that there are some people out there whose desire for running their dog is so great that they will leash their dog's corpse and drag the dog's lifeless body around an agility course.

Please be fair to your dog.

Here are some of my words on the topic:
"I have both a small dog and a veteran dog. Neither have problems with the 5'6" A-Frame.

With any sport, human or dog, there is the inherent chance of injury. The best way to prevent injury is conditioning, corrective action (weight loss, surgery) or to not participate. Just as not all humans are capable of playing sports, it is reasonable to assume the same of dogs.

My orthopedic surgeon doesn't want to see me again. Ever. So he told me to give up basketball, volleyball and treadmills. It really sucks, but it's best for me. I know that Scout will tell me when her body is ready to retire from agility. It will suck, but I will do what is best for my dog."
And some more, regarding safety:
"Why stop with the A-Frame? What about teeter and its bounce? Check out the article on weaves in this month's Clean Run. Get rid of those! By the time all the concessions are made for each dog's need, what is left? Is there anything safe? No.

Not everyone, dogs included, are cut out for sports. Don't assume a tall person is a basketball player. Don't assume a really, really big dude is a sumo wrestler. Don't assume that every dog is capable of agility. Agility is NOT going to be for all dogs, as much as the handler desires it to be. What's best for some dogs is to not participate.

I am aware that I have a 9.5 year old dog. I am aware that her retirement is in the near future. I will be devastated when that day arrives. However, I will do what is best for her: stop participating."
And finally:
"The only problem I have is watching people torture their old or obese or otherwise incapable dog into doing agility because the HANDLER wants it sooooo bad. Did these people force their children into T-ball and soccer? My mom coerced me into playing volleyball when I was in fifth grade. All I had to do was stick it out one season. The decision to continue was my own. Dogs don't get to make this decision.

I took Scout lure coursing one weekend. Even though mentally she still wanted to go, physically she was done. Did I keep running her? No. I did what was best for my dog.

As I stated before, not all dogs are cut out for the sport. I played four years varsity basketball and volleyball in high school. I had try outs every year. I watched tons of girls get cut. I watched varsity players from the year before get cut the next. Not everyone is capable of playing, or of playing well enough to be on the team.

If you are going to lower the A-Frame, do it for all the dogs or none."