Friday, November 16, 2007

Tickets Travels - History

This is Ticket’s story ... about what agility has done for a dog that many people shook their heads at … some recommended re-homing her, some recommended destroying her and others advised us to return her to her breeder ... well, anybody who knows us, knows that any dog that comes into our home stays. So here’s some history on Tick.

Maghera Fan The Fire aka “Ticket

My journey with Ticket started when she decided she was definitely NOT going to allow show judges to come anywhere near her. From around six months old she developed total fear of any human other than us (the family she lives with). She would wet herself and would not go within 5-10 meters of any stranger. If cornered in her own yard she would wet herself and in public open space she would bolt without looking back!

When Ticket arrived with us at 8 weeks old, directly from her breeder in Victoria, she was happy, outgoing and quite sociable.

She did have few small incidences (small to us) that happened during her first few months, and we could pin the blame on them. However, we can not be sure how/why she developed this fear that has stuck with her to this day. There was no way we could show her in the conformation ring with this behavior – a judge could not even examine her. We gave her some time to see if it was a “stage” she was going through, unfortunately it “stuck”. She would not take food from people and if they tried to make friends she would become more suspicious of them, retreating behind us very quickly to the end of her lead. After about 12 months of trying to socialize Ticket, with little success, I started to teach her agility … thinking it is a sport where she does not have to have any contact with people and she could still be in control of her situation without being forced.

So the journey began ……

Ticket LOVED running and jumping … she burned up the ground as she played on all the jumps and tires. I allowed her to get away with all sorts of things, after all she was having fun and showing some confidence. I didn’t really take her training seriously … I never dreamt that she would make it to the trial ring!

So we never really did any foundation training. I never taught her contacts (bad move!) and we never did any sort of jump training. Ticket’s priorities started with RUN FAST at the top of the list, and anything that slowed her down was not allowed in the equation, even me! We had some serious training to do in order to make things a little safer … the first thing I had to teach her was not to run across in front of me (especially when I was running flat out!)

Ticket blossomed with this training. She didn’t overcome her “people problems” but she had come ahead in leaps and bounds … she learnt that it was OK to stand closer to people. She would stand within a couple of meters of a group of people now, still a little nervous, but she thoroughly enjoyed the training. I realized that I had to invest some serious time with her and started to look at our training a little more constructively …

Stay tuned for the next chapter on Ticket’s history.

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