July 8th, 2008

I Believe

Loretta at the ACB convention

I saw my first dog guide instructor this morning. He understands my still lingering fear of dogs and rough play, and he helped me rough my dog up a bit and give her some stress relief. She needed it badly. Traveling gently down the halls and across the pedway is truly an art, and my dog has been rather traumatized. She's had  extreme cane tappers smack her hard on the side, people body slam her in the face, bigger dogs growl in her face, etc. She was a real trooper until yesterday; but yesterday it was like the life just went all out of her. This morning she did some great obstacle work, and I had a chance to give her some big rewards for it. That was good for both of us. I've dropped food (unintentionally) right next to her face, and she has left it alone.

This probably makes it sound like working a dog at convention is the cruelest thing on earth. To tell the truth, working my dogs at ACB conventions has always been a major part of the bonding process. We go home a better team because of going through the challenges. I learn how to interpret my dog's signals and respect her needs. She learns to trust me to provide for her emotionally and otherwise. I learn to trust her in challenging situations where there is plenty of help if I truly need it (including dog instructors); and that enables me to build trust for challenging situations when there is no help. That makes taking my dog to convention worthwhile.

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