Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Professional Handler

I learned that Chou Chou would be the only briard in the whole Sacramento Dog Show. That's so disappointing. That means she cannot get any points. Still, I decided to proceed, for the practice and it sounded like fun; no pressure to do well, no competition. 

Chou and I have been going to a handling class twice a week to learn what to do in the ring. She has a show lead, and she is learning that when I put it on her, it's time to be serious and pay attention. I've been looking for a professional handler for the show. 

On a recommendation from a briarder, we went to a different handling class tonight, so Chou Chou could be evaluated by a handler. He charges for each day of the show, plus expenses ... I won't be able to afford much of this. 

He liked her and agreed to show her! But he wants her to lose some weight. He said she was fat -- and he's not the first person to call her fat; my briard friends did, too. ("That hurt, you know?") She weighs 69 lbs. So she starts her diet tomorrow -- half the kibble, adding peas and string beans. ("Veggies for moi? I think not!")

And he wants me to switch to a different shampoo and conditioner, and to brush out her undercoat; she is too fluffy and the hair should lay flatter. ("Why are we doing this?")

After the evaluation, we attended his handling class. There were only 4 dogs, so we really worked hard for the hour. Lots of running around a ring in circles, triangles and up & back, lots of stacking. Chou wanted to play with the small dog behind us, and was getting frustrated with all the standing still. Finally, she'd had enough ("You finally noticed?") and started jumping on me. 

Mike immediately came over, took her lead, and ran her through the routines for a bit. He was very firm! And he talked to her like a naughty child. The man in front of me told his dog, "See, you better behave or he'll do that to you, too!" 

Chou settled down, did what he wanted, and then he gave her back to me. But she acted up again when he tried to pat her down, and he popped her under the chin! She was very very good after that. All the handling training, plus the obedience class is good for us. 

("I am not a happy puppy.")

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