My tiger-striped chiweenie (possibly a chug) has a secret. Most Saturdays when the weather is nice, she pretends to be an athlete.
Like hide-and-go-seek or professional pickle ball, there’s little reward or chance of injury, but she is out there “competing” anyway.
Well so far, she is not competing. She’s taking Dog Agility for fun. You know like you see on ESPN with dogs flying over obstacles, through tunnels and climbing stairs and teeter-totters.
Only in the fun class — it’s not “flying over” as much as a “fearfully stumbling through”.
But Carol Baskins is so motivated by hot dogs, they call her the “Pocket Rocket”.
She’s definitely got the pocket down — rocket not so much.
“She really needs to take the competitive class,” said Brandy, the dog trainer. “She’s done with fun.”
The competitive class is supposed to start this spring. Qualification times and a “real coach” kicking our collective ass.
Most people do a few weeks of “fun” and move on. Carol and I are on our 5th session (6 classes each) and keep coming back, year after year. Every Saturday, she gets to eat a hot dog or two in 100 itty-bitty pieces, and I get to stroke my ego vicariously through a 12-pound chiweenie.
If she had someone who could run with her, she would probably be good. But after every obstacle, she has to stop and wait for me.
On a good day she won’t wait. No matter where the “course” goes, she will run in a straight line at every “trick” she sees. That’s instant disqualification on ESPN, but in “fun class” she makes it ‘rain’ rewards for every hoop, tunnel and dog walk.
Her favorite is the “pause table.” Dogs are supposed to jump on top, sit and “pause”. That’s usually a good place to give a reward, and no matter where it is on the course, Carol will sprint to “pause” and get a few slices of hot dog…
Recently, I had to stop giving her treats during the course. She has to climb every step, run every tunnel and fall down the teeter-totter before getting a small handful at the end.
Does that make her run the course like a pro? No. It makes for a pissed off little chihuahua, who spends the morning complaining of wage theft. I’m making her work while cutting her “pay.”
So between runs, she spends all her time begging from the other dog owners, who happily whip out pieces of chicken, fish and bacon to keep her from crying.
Dog Agility is supposed to be an athletic activity, but the way we are going about it’s more like Nathan’s eating contest with tunnels… Every week of practice, she needs more “motivation,” and she gains more weight.
“You might try running with her,” Brandy the trainer said, in an obvious nod to our combined girth.
Now I might need to get my knees replaced just to keep up with the pup. Maybe we will have to skip the “competitive class” and stick to the fun… that way me and my chiweenie can pretend to be athletes together.
Categories: Carol Baskins
I’m impressed. It’s hard to get a wiener dog or a chihuahua to learn tricks. We have both types of dog at our house, so I’m speaking from experience. But begging for treats from anyone who will provide them, does seem rather typical.
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Carol baskins is stubborn. You have to ask for everything three times. But her love for treats beats her bull headedness.
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