The Utility Statue Signal & What NOT to Do/Be

Oh, the frustration of the Down Signal in Utility - how well I know thee! You give the signal and the dog stands there...

(source unknown but great photo!) an amazing statue. You probably could not train such an awesome stand-stay!!! The dog is a rock! Unfortunately, said rock is supposed to be down.

I went through the statue phase with Zoey...

I get that it is a tough issue to solve, and that it is frustrating. 

But come on -- strangling/wrangling/choking a dog to the ground for failing to down?! That is both mean -- and dumb. Let me explain...

The Meanness Factor.

Strangling and choking are illegal, FYI. And it is mean to do that to another living creature -- unless that other living creature is attempting to eat, assault, or otherwise harm you. If that is the case -- choke away.

Oh -- and choking is apparently acceptable if you are doing some kinds of sanctioned fighting -- my daughter informs me of this.

This is my daughter -- don't let looks fool you because she is actually a bit of a badass, according to her boxing coach and the guys she beats up in whatever fighting sport she is doing at the moment...

Anyway, in general -- it is mean to choke or strangle a dog (or person)..

The Dumbness Factor. 

True Story. Outside of the Obedience Building a local trainer was practicing the Statue Down Signal. Dog didn't down and so she marched back to the dog and did the aforementioned strangling/wrangling/choking.

Which thing that the dog did or did not do should he understand as causing the abusive behavior? Standing still while Mean Person approached? Not biting her ass? Looking at the ground? And so on. 

That wasn't a correction -- it was an adult bullying a dog out of frustration. It wasn't training either -- if it were training, the dog would down.

It really amazes me how people seriously think it is acceptable to beat up on a dog in the name of training. 

At the obedience part of our local show I stopped the above described abuse, and I had to tell another person that no, she could not carry a stick and hit her dog in our obedience match. Yes, I am serious.

WTH is wrong with people?! That is the kind of stuff that gives obedience a bad name, and it is just unnecessary for so many reasons.

Mean and Dumb are not good qualities for Life with Dogs - or just plain Life. You know that, right?

This is Claire -- although she is a bit of a delinquent at the moment, she is neither mean nor dumb.

Please have a kind, smart day! 


by Kay on Sat, 07/01/2017 - 11:15

Thanks for saying that. Frustration can sometimes cause misguided behaviors when titles become more important than the relationship with your dog. I think, in general, obedience training has become more enlightened than it used to be. That's because good trainers have been vocal about what is appropriate and effective when training a dog for the ring. That, of course, does not include choking or hitting. Please continue to spread the word!

by Mary-Ann on Sat, 07/01/2017 - 11:24

I think change can be hard because it seems to somehow suggest we were somehow "wrong" before -- not true! We cannot really be wrong if the choices we made were the ones we thought were correct because we just did not know another way :)

I prefer to think that change is a sign of life and growth -- not an indictment on the person we used to be. Someday our opportunity to grow and change will end -- we should take advantage of it while we can. At least that is what I think!

I love comments -- thank you!

by Lori S. on Sat, 07/01/2017 - 12:55

Those #&$holes are not doing obedience with their poor dogs. Perhaps there should be a submission competition - hell no, it would only encourage them, but you get my point.

by Maddie's Mommy on Sat, 07/01/2017 - 23:45

I know this wasn't the point of your blog post, but in passing I've just got to say that I'm so relieved to hear that others have experienced the hyper attentive "Mom, I'm Waiting for Your Signal--What Signal?" Perpetual Stand. I thought it was unique to Maddie and me...
When that happens in the ring, do you give a second command (and be NQ'd but then you get to continue the exercise) or do you wait for the judge to call time and therefore will finish the exercise? I usually give the second command, which Maddie invariably complies with, and then the Sit and Front follow as Day follows Night. But I wonder if I have set up a habit pattern for her to wait for a second command if she is unsure of herself?

by Deb on Sun, 07/02/2017 - 09:04

Yes, I've seen this sort of outrageous behavior, especially at obedience trails. I once saw a man hit his German Shepherd multiple times in the face with a leather leash. I still have nightmares about that. (I won't get in to the AKC rep's non-response when I reported this).

I've heard lots of people say that they use threatening, choking, etc. because it works and nothing else is as effective. They tell me things like, "I would NEVER allow MY dog to do that. I'd 'pop' him so hard he'd never forget." Luckily for all concerned, Mozzie is not their dog.

No ten-cent ribbon or title is worth damaging the trust we have built. Beside who, outside of the dwindling number of obedience people, really know what any of those letters mean? CD means certificate of deposit. Or compact disc. Or crazy dog-person.

I have been frustrated with training like everyone else, but when I look into those lovely brown eyes, I remember that I won't have that handsome face forever, and I want to look back on his entire life with pride and humor. I want to be proud of a relationship built on love and positive reinforcement. And I am.

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