Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Today was fun.

Shakespeare had Agility class from 9 to 10, and then after that I took Laev into the ring with another six month old Dobe, and Carolyn and I just practiced individual behaviors with the dogs ignoring one another. They were great! Two six month old pups, working within inches of one another, ignoring each other to focus on their people. Awesome.

We weren't really working on agility, which was good, as Laev pretended she had no clue what a tunnel was for. ;-) No fear, just going in and turning and bouncing out again. But her heeling was very nice.

As I left, I called Jon at work and asked if we could meet for lunch on my way south. A couple of hours later, I parked in an underground garage downtown and led Shakespeare and Laev upstairs into the Circle Center Mall (I'm pretty sure this is a no-dogs area, so don't tell) and out the door to the sidewalk. Laev had been here once before, but I discovered in the parking garage that Shakespeare had not seen an escalator before! No problem; I just let him think about it a moment and then he went right up, though a little uncertain of this moving staircase.

Two escalators up, across a lobby and we're outside. A block over, a block up, and we're at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument on the Circle (and see here). Jon was waiting there with my steak quesadilla. Shakespeare and Laev ignored most of the people (Laev is still distracted by people who make direct eye contact or speak to her; Shakespeare couldn't care less unless I direct him to "say hello"), and they lay down beside us while we ate and shared bits for good dogs who lie quietly and don't bother eating humans. ;-)

Then we went back through the streets, the mall, the garage, and home. Then Shakespeare and Inky and Laevatein and I took naps.


Anonymous said...

Do you regularly advocate taking dogs into places that they aren't allowed. You aren't doing anything to help the reputations of so called "dangerous" breeds.

Laura said...

Interesting comment. Only a few days ago I gently chastised someone for violating the leash law with his well-trained dogs.

First of all, I don't at all advocate taking dogs into places they are disallowed. In fact, when a store manager approached me this past week to ask that I remove my dog, even though I had previous standing permission from a higher store director to train while I shopped, I complied. I believe first that we have a duty to be responsible citizens.

But when I find myself in a parking garage which exits only directly onto a busy street with no sidewalk, or through a mall with a quick direct route to a door, I'll take the pedestrian- and puppy-safe door.

Secondly, the second part of your comment makes little sense. How is the public visibility of my two very well-behaved dogs causing additional fear and hysteria regarding "dangerous" breeds? Those who know me know I am very proactive in public education on the idiocy of BSL (breed specific legislation); I certainly wouldn't risk adding weight to said prejudice! Rather, we should display our well-trained and well-socialized "dangerous" breeds to demonstrate the ridiculous nature of such prejudice.

In fact, I can total our public interactions downtown below:
- a gentleman who asked about natural-eared Dobes, liking the look
- a woman who smiled at Laev
- a woman who turned her stroller so her baby girl could see and interact with Shakespeare
- a couple who found the sight of dogs on the escalators amusing

No one, including the security guard we passed, seemed alarmed or disapproving of the dogs. I wouldn't take them downtown if I thought the dogs would give reason to be otherwise.

Anonymous said...

That is interesting. I have followed your comments on an email list on line and have seen at least twice that your Dobe and Rott have been out running loose once at least over night. That doesn't help the rep of the breeds.

Also do you feel your dogs would have been as well received if they were not natural Dobes??

I am a Dobe owner, and my Dobes have various Obedience and Rally titles as well as being therapy dogs. My Dobes look like a Dobe should look and are not generally well received.

Laura said...

"My Dobes look like a Dobe should look."

/grin/ Now I see why you're anonymous. That's okay, though.

Yes, Shakespeare and Inky got out once at 4 am and were gone for much of the day. That was detailed on this blog, in fact, so it's no secret. It's also no secret that it wasn't intentional and that I was worried sick over it. It certainly wasn't anything I planned or am proud of.

As far as "how a Dobe should look" -- please see my previous post on the topic. I don't have a problem with cropping and docking, but don't you think it's a bit malicious to criticize me for having a rescue dog with natural ears and a puppy whose ears and tail are in keeping with the laws of her breeder's country? Or are you saying that as a responsible owner I should have cropped Laevatein's several weeks too late -- and Shakespeare's ears at nearly 1 year old?

By "how a Dobe should look," do you mean a short military crop with almost no bell at all, true to the original specimens and the dogs of WW2, or do you mean the overlong show crop that hangs when the dog is not being baited? I am curious, if there is only one acceptable look, what that look should be.

By the way, the gentleman who asked about the natural ears had instantly recognized Laevatein, even young and with a tail, as a Doberman. So I don't think that's as salient as their behavior in determining public acceptability.

Anonymous said...

I understand the taking of the well-trained dog through the shortcut of the Center. There are no sidewalks, plus construction, and it's not fun for a human wearing shoes to take the outside route from the parking garage. I don't like to think of what there is on the ground for a dog's paws to pick up. Glass. Gunk. Not to mention the close proximity of fast moving cars.

Laura's dogs are very well behaved, and I've walked with her and Laev through the shortcut in Circle Center. No one shied away from us. No one frowned at us. We took the puppy up the escalator and out the door to the street. I hate escalators. Laev loved the crazy thing. So did the three businessmen who saw us go up on it.

The things that contribute to bad reputations for "dangerous breeds" are owners who can't or don't control their animals, and animals who act aggressively when uncontrolled. I do not believe that the circumstances outlined in Laura's "Today was fun" post showed evidence of uncontrolled or aggressive dogs.

--Alicia McConnell

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous simply because I don't have a blogger ID. I am not trying to argue, but in following your posts on more than one email list for a long time, I think you put yourself on a pedestal of greatness...

I am sure you are talented with what you do, but you seem to think you are an expert in many areas when all I can tell you have done is put a few "pet" titles on a rescue dog.

When I say my Dobes look like a Dobe should look, I mean a docked tail and medium standing crop. There is no way I would do the ridiculus show crop and I don't care for the look of the military crop. I have looked at the pics of Laev, and I don't feel that most people would recognize her as a dobe. It may just be the bad pictures, but she doesn't exactly have "the look of eagles". You yourself have posted in the past that Shakespeare has been mistaken for Rotts, and Pitts, so he is not really representative of the breed as a whole.

As usual you are just upset that someone has an opinion other than yours, and so therefore they must be wrong. If you only knew what people who you think like you say behind your back.

Laura said...

You make several points, so let me answer them separately, please.

Direct quote from a public post to CS earlier this month:

"I'm not on a pedestal looking down on this. [snip] I also know
that I still inspire some resentment and misunderstanding occasionally, and I am still working on that. I made a specific point of telling someone this week that my assertions are an opening for discussion, not a claim that I invented the dog and know everything about it. I recognize the need to be specific about that, because I think my own confident opinions can come across too strongly at times. I'll probably get all that in order about six months after I die. :-)"

So if I'm writing that about myself -- in a forum where you are observing -- then maybe I'm not really trying to be as elitist as you think.

Why would I publicly list all my trouble with Laev if I were trying to represent myself as perfect? "My dog jumps on me" and "I screwing up my dog on the track" -- that's sure not indicative of a supertrainer.

My thoughts on dogs and training have hugely changed over the years -- from "dogs are outdoor animals and good trainers NEVER EVER use treats" to my current position of sharing my house and using frequent food rewards along with toys, etc. I'm always looking for new ideas, etc. I'm certainly not fixed in one mentality or convinced I have the "only way."

So you don't care for the looks of the show crops or the military crops, while others could make arguments that each of those is the "correct" look for varying reasons. What we have then is purely personal preference -- which I'm fine with.

/laugh/ If you read that Shakespeare was mistaken for a Rottweiler or a pit bull (I'm assuming you don't mean Brad Pitt?), you also read that he was also mistaken for a German Shepherd. I've also posted that my black mostly-Newfoundland was called a Golden Retriever twice and that my Rottweiler was called a Dalmation. That was an illustration of how little John Q. Public knows about identifying dogs, not a statement on Shakespeare's body type. For the record, his shoulder is too straight but otherwise his conformation is pretty decent, though not show ring typey. I felt a lot better about the way he's built after sitting through the judges' education seminar.

So you can't recognize Laev as a Dobe. That's fine; your eye is trained to look for cropped ears and docked tails. I look at a lot of European Dobe pictures, and my eye looks for square body type, etc.

Again, the gentleman who stopped us on the street yesterday knew her as a Doberman; he just hadn't seen one with ears and a tail before. But he knew immediately what she was.

I'm trying to figure out where in this post I said anybody with another opinion was wrong. In fact, I specifically said that even though my dogs weren't cropped, I didn't have a problem with cropping. So what is narrow-minded about that?

If only I knew what people said behind my back.... Well, vague as that is, it wouldn't be anything new. I don't need to know, really.

I could run through a long list of things I know others have said about me, but what would be the point? People say things about other people, too, to me. I try to ignore that, though I don't claim to be perfect in that area, either.

You know what? I can't make other people happy. So I do the best I can do.

If it amuses other people to talk about me or to follow closely what I do, then that's absolutely fine. If people like to give word of mouth references, that's fine, too. I don't ask for either. I do what I can do, and when I learn how to do something better, I'll do that.

vicky said...


Huh?? "If you only knew what people who you think like you say behind your back."

Well, for what it's worth, this IS NOT my opinion. My impression of you (and it is really kind of impossible via email...) but I am guessing that you are aproachable, and down to earth.

Actually, when I read the first few posts from 'anonymous' I really thought they were joking:
'Not doing anything to help [continue the bad] reputations of...'
and...'My dobes look like a dobe should' meaning (I assumed) that people could then recognize them (maybe!) I thought they were being sarcastic!

I remember years ago, some children were petting, 'scritching' my croppped doberman, who was loving it...and their mom said (calmly) what kind of a dog is it?

I really didn't want to tell her...but I did, and she said, "Oh, aren't they supposed to be dangerous?"

I said, "Well, some people think so." No problem.

Anyway, Laura you have detractors, and least you are being noticed!

Still walked your calm 'dangerous' dogs through the mall, and you weren't 'doing anything to help the reputations' of these beasts...well what should you have been doing to help the reputations...??

If you are getting tired of my posts to you, let me know!

Laura said...

Thank you, Vicky. :-) I'm glad you've seen a little of the real me through my email -- I fully recognize that I don't always come across well in a text-only environment, but I think some would describe me as being so down-to-earth that I'm underground. My classes make jokes about me. :-) I am hugely dependent upon extra-linguistic communication (vocal tones, body language, etc.) though, and I'm still learning how to communicate casually through mere text.

And yeah, I not only have spammers and critics, but regular critics! Who take the time to follow the blog in order to criticize! I'm really flattered. :-) And the spam just made me laugh, so I didn't delete it. UK wedding photography? Too funny.

Never tired of comments or posts. In fact, I love some of the photos on your site, so you can comment frequently so your URL gets listed a lot. :-)