Crufts 2018; My Thoughts

Being a veterinary surgeon, I’m a very big dog lover. Despite this, over the years, I’ve avoided Crufts.

I vividly remember when the BBC documentary “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” was released in 2008, my third-year of vet school. This documentary brought to light issues facing several pedigree dog breeds.  It was also a precursor to the BBC no longer showing Crufts.

2008 was the last time that I properly watched Crufts. I have caught certain moments over the more recent years on Channel 4 but I definitely haven’t watched much of the show and have turned over when watching the showing classes.

 

For many years I have believed Crufts should not take place as I don’t agree with showing dogs.  I have also struggled to understood why other veterinary professionals go. This year, however, with trepidation, I booked tickets and went yesterday, Saturday 10th March 2018. I decided to go because I didn’t want to judge something I hadn’t personally seen. Though, having said that, I still have strong beliefs that breed showing and ring craft are poor practices for animal welfare and therefore decided, for the most part, to avoid these parts of the show.

 

Throughout the rest of this blog I discuss my experiences of Crufts and how I felt.

I want to state that my comments are not based upon issues with any single individual but more upon the show, activities surround it and commonplace practices.

 

Trade Stands

On entering Crufts, the first thing I came across was a hall filled with trade stands. There were five halls in total. These sold everything you could want, not only for both show and dogs, and occasional cat items. Most large animal-related charities were also represented, especially those related to dogs, alongside displays of the many veterinary and animal health products.

 

My plan was to talk to many of the representatives at these trade stands; get an understanding of their products and services and discuss potential collaborations. Sadly, it was too busy to have an in-depth business-related conversation with anyone, so I decided to contact people at a later date.

 

I’m aware this doesn’t affect dog welfare whatsoever. I note that many of these stalls had reduced prices due to it being a show which is quite common in these sorts of occasions. This is really good value for anyone wanting to buy anything.

 

From looking around, I can safely say my prior belief that you could buy anything for dogs at Crufts is true. Therefore, if anyone wants to buy many items for their dogs at a reasonable price, I recommend Crufts for the trade stands.

 

Discover Dogs

An English Mastiff at Discover Dogs

Hall three housed Discover Dogs.

On arrival, the ring contained a woman discussing Bloodhounds, along with two bloodhounds and their handlers. The surroundings were very loud and the speakers were unclear leaving me struggling to hear what was said. I was horrified to notice that one of the Bloodhounds in the ring was obviously lame on one forelimb. No one else seemed to have noticed or, potentially worse, cared.

 

I moved on to the Discover Dogs breed stands. All of these stands contained pens approximately 1.5 x 3m in size.

The was occupied by three Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are large dogs and, therefore, need more space than something such as the Yorkshire terrier. I noticed many of the stands for large dogs had no more space than those for small. However, the pens appeared to be a standard regardless of the breed.

This was disappointing.

The area for Rhodesian ridgebacks had three dogs in one pen. One of these dogs was obviously stressed, standing with it’s ears back and head down in the far corner where no one could get. It obviously was unhappy and there it was potentially busier around the trade stands.

Many of the dogs on display at Discover Dogs were for hours on end, sometimes for several days. None of the stands I saw had areas for dogs to get away from the crowds.

I believe each pen should have a dedicated area big enough for a dog to safely and comfortably enter to get away from the crowds. This should be covered on both the top and sides to give the dog(s) privacy and any dog in this space should be left alone.

In many cases owners or handlers constantly interfered with their dogs. A Great Dane laid on his very comfortable large mattress appeared to not want to be on show. When I approached, the owner decided I wanted to stroke her dog; she kept telling the dog to get up, encouraging it to walk to me. The owner did this for a couple of minutes until the dog, appearing to have little choice, followed through with this.

I had a similar experience with the Dobermanns.  These were lively and interesting in their surroundings but the owner was making sure they jump up so their paws were resting on the top of the pen.  He especially instructed this when I was there.

The owner also held his sandwich straight in the faces of the Dobermanns. I appreciate he needs to eat but I believe this should have been done away from the dogs, at least outside of their pen given their little space. They were obviously tempted by this sandwich. A woman at that stand was also obviously taunting a dog with her sandwich.

There were other stands that were empty or the dogs were left to their own devices but these were in the minority.

Getting ready for flyball

The Arena

 

Just after lunchtime, we headed to the arena.

This was an approximate 45-minute wait which people unhappy. The exhibitors and dogs entrance was shared with that for the wheelchair users. This became very crowded with the dogs having to walk through a narrow path with people on either side and often got stuck amongst crowds.

Crowded spaces are stressful for dogs who cannot speak up for themselves and may accidentally get bumped into or even stood on.

Personally, I feel a dedicated lane should have been provided for the dogs and handlers to walk along to achieve paramount canine welfare and comfort. As Crufts has been going since 1891 and at its current location since 1991, arrangements should have been made to ensure dogs entering the arena area were given space.

Setting up for international agility
Agility

I watched two international agility classes.

All the dogs competing in these classes were very fit with owners who obviously cared for their welfare.

Whilst the vast majority of owners made a fuss of the dogs once I completed the course, I sadly noticed a few occasions where owners appeared to just take all the glory themselves, raising their hands to the audience and clapping whilst ignoring their dogs. I understand that doing well in an event at Crufts is huge, however, your dog should definitely be acknowledged.

The vast majority of owners were, however, incredibly interested in praising their dogs.

The agility winner just starting the course

I am glad to report I saw no punishment whatsoever for refusals, falling poles, or wrong lines.

These dogs are what I think of as “fit for purpose”, something Crufts kept quoting. I don’t, however, believe all dogs there “fit for purpose” though; for example, the previously mentioned lame Bloodhound.

 

Flyball

I watched a couple of classes of flyball one including youth teams.

Whilst the older competitors acted very calmly around their dogs, I noted young competitors were often winding their dogs up beforehand. I realise increases the dog’s adrenaline and therefore their speed, however, this can cause behavioural issues in other situations as well as anxiety.

About to start flyball

I noticed the new designs of the boards of flyball. No longer do the balls fly out as was the case a few years ago. But now, dogs picked balls out of holes within these boards.

This reduces the chance of injury and strain on the dogs joints and therefore leading to dogs being fitter for longer. Both dogs and competitors appeared to enjoy the event and, in the whole, I have no issues with Flyball whatsoever.

 

West Midlands Police Display

The best event I saw was the display by the West Midlands police.

Though this was heavily scripted, the dogs were acting as they would in a training session.

There was a lot of mention of the positive reinforcement methods used during the training along with a lack of punishment.  I’m hoping many of the dog owners watching this took note of that.

Despite being working dogs, these police dogs were obviously having fun and the display incorporated a lot of play.

The West Midland Police Dog Display

All the dogs looked at the peak of health and, very relaxed in the surroundings despite the spotlights.

This display was very the exciting yet informative showing many of the skills these dogs and handlers have which they use on a daily basis. The scope of these dogs is very wide-spread and all the duties were well explained.

 

Good display West Midlands Police!

 

Heelwork to music

Displays of Heelwork to Music and not only a crowd favourite but show a very high level of skill and obedience with very athletic and lively dogs.

I’m going to admit, it isn’t my favourite of disciplines. I personally just find it a bit bizarre. However, I can understand why people would like it.

The Heelwork To Music Display in Full Swing

When I saw was not the competition but was a display done by the winner of the international competition. The dog was very enthusiastic and often worked at the distance. Due to this distance between handler and dog, there was no way the dog was forced to do many of the exercises so always had the choice to run away if desired.  This demonstrated the skill of the owner and enthusiasm of the dog.  However, I wonder how many hours of training goes into this and whether this is too much for the dog.

I am unable to pass judgement on this without knowing each individual case and speaking to the owners.

 

International Junior Handling Final

I was less impressed by the International Junior Handling Final. As mentioned previously, I am not fan of ring craft. I stayed to watch this as the person I was with want to watch it. I also wanted to see what occurred and was looking forward to Scruffts, timetabled for after this event.

The top 3 Junior handlers

When I heard these were the best junior handlers representing each country I had high standards for them to meet.

These handlers were given three unknown dogs throughout the day. I only saw them with their final one.

Handlers didn’t exhibit their own dogs and only had half an hour to get used to the dogs before showing them. This is a good way of examining handling skills as it doesn’t demonstrate any training in place and looks at how these handlers can deal with an unknown dog.

I saw a lot of use of treats. At first, I believed this to be positive. They were using them as lures to get the dogs looking in the right direction and following commands. I noted many of the handlers, however, appeared to be taunting their dogs.

In a lot of cases, whatever these dogs did they didn’t receive a treat.

 

[Edited] I saw some handlers whose methods of training I didn’t necessarily agree with.  The methods used included what I believed to be excessive holding back of treats.  I noticed this appeared to wind up some dogs which then, due to what I believe as to be frustration in the dog, caused the dog to jump up at the handler.  This behaviour is not something I believe to be bad behaviour of that dog, in fact, I believe all of the dogs in the ring had really good behaviour.  Another handler also appeared from the view I had to place her hand around the muzzle of the dog and turn their head when going around a corner when presenting the dog for the judge.

I feel these skills should be looked upon, more so across the whole of showing rather than just individual cases, or even just the juniors.

Alongside this, I recognise these handlers are still growing and developing and therefore will be learning from each dog they come across.  Getting used to and presenting a dog for showing is a very difficult take especially given the stress of the situation and the short time period. [End of edited portion]

The winner of the class was obviously very proud. He plans to become a professional handler. He was very proud to win and became incredibly emotional at his success. However, I noticed how on the lap of honour the leads on none of the dogs were slackened. I realise not slackening the lead is probably standard with showing and the same was true of all the dogs. Personally, though, I feel at the end a class when celebrating a win, giving your dog space to and enjoy your surroundings as much as possible would be worthwhile.  Laps of honour in the agility as well as in show jumping are done with slackened reins/ leads.

 

I also noticed several competitors wanted to not only become veterinary surgeons alongside professional handlers and I’m wondering whether the two careers are compatible. With many breeds having an array of health issues wouldn’t being a vet and handling these, often overbred, animals be conflicting.

 

Scruffts

Amazing!

 

Finally, a display of how dogs and their owners normally interact.  Real bonds were clearly visible.

A Scruffts Competitor with his owner

Not only were these crossbreeds and therefore not overbred, the dogs and owners were much more relaxed.

All the dogs were given plenty of space when they wanted but also fussed and given reassurance throughout.

All of these were walked on a slack lead with natural postures and all the owners seemed to be truly enjoying the experience which would have contributed to how relaxed the dogs were.

 

The inclusion of the class for crossbreed dogs in Crufts is an excellent start.  A lot of people don’t realise just how rewarding these dogs are and not only pedigree dogs are worth investing in.

Some Scruffts competitors

Given these dogs are not trained in ring craft, they were often much calmer than the actual show dogs. This tells you something about the handling style which I believe some show dog owners need to take on board. Do dogs really need to be stood in often of unnatural position just to enhance breed standards?  Also maybe the handlers should relax a bit and they may achieve better results.

 

Well done to all competitors in this class, you did great!

You should be proud of both yourselves and your dogs. You clearly show demonstrate what dog ownership means to the majority of the general public.

 

Other Observations

I want to end this by discussing my thoughts whilst walking around. Though only dogs within the show or exhibitions, and assistance dogs, were permitted within the grounds, I saw several examples of becoming aggressive.

At points, I was seriously worried there was going to be fights. On such occasions, nothing was done to redirect these behaviours. Dogs being show dogs doesn’t necessarily mean they are well trained. Not only that but it was a very busy and stressful environment so many will act out of character towards each other. I, therefore, wondered whether it was in the dog’s best interests to be at the show when not being exhibited.

 

Many dogs were sat in small stalls with very little space waiting to be exhibited. These are on show much of the time and therefore have no space to themselves or the ability to walk around.

In my opinion, this is unfair for the dogs.

They had nowhere to go for a rest, are constantly surrounded by crowds looking at them and are unable to exhibit normal behaviour or move around freely.

Exhibiting normal behaviour and having space are key factors to the Animal Welfare Act (2006) (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/contents). I wonder whether some areas of Crufts potentially go against the Animal Welfare Act (2006) or whether the relatively short time period precludes this.

Breeding of extreme features is currently a huge problem even though the kennel club advised judges to not pick dogs with these features the best of breed this year many were still present.

Many features of pedigree dogs impact upon their welfare. This causes issues the dogs not only during the show, but in the long-term.

Some of these conditions affect the breathing. I didn’t visit the Pug stand at Discover dogs however, I saw several pugs walking around show. These weren’t assistance dogs so I presume they were, in the most part, show dogs.

At one point I was outside in a noisy area. Two pugs walked past approximately 20m from me. their Even from that distance I could clearly hear the on furthest from me breathing really clearly and they were only walking. They sounded to be wheezing and snorting, signs of potential Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), a syndrome in brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds impacting upon their breathing.

There is currently a British Veterinary Association campaign, #BreedToBreathe, for this syndrome. #BreedToBreath aims to raise awareness of BOAS, mainly affecting Pugs, English Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs, amongst others. A recent study showed 77.6% of show Pugs are affected by BOAS.

I did not see any of the judging for these dogs, though, as said, I saw several examples of extreme features throughout this display.

 

Something also bothered me with show dogs being transported in metal cages. I believe transporting dogs in such a way will be stressful for the dog.

All show dogs should be fit enough to walk and therefore, I believe this should not be done.

If your dog is unable to walk the distance is needed are they really fit enough to be shown?

I understand the need to keep them clean however with areas indoors for them to toilet, getting wet outside is not a factor, getting rid of the need for these sorts of cages.

Walking dogs gives plenty of exercise which then allows them to calm down and therefore would’ve reduce the stress on such an occasion. However, as stated before, I do feel that more needs to be done to separate the crowds from the dogs to ensure that the dogs are not walked over or bumped into.

Work needs to be done by the organisers to ensure the dogs can freely and safely without stress or risk of injury.

 

In summary

Many aspects of Crufts were good but it was very busy and some aspects are far from what I’d like.

The key elements of the show I’ve disagreed with for many years are the ring craft and breed showing elements. I did avoid these to limited amounts which is why I’ve said less regarding this.

I felt the displays for the West Midlands Police alongside the Agility, Flyball and Scruffts were very good overall. However as stated, I had issues with both Discover dogs and the junior handler events.

 

Will I go again?

To be honest, I am unsure. I don’t know if I want to give the organisers my money once more. However, I feel spending the day mainly around the trade stands may be worthwhile and informative as I could talk to a lot of the businesses to see what they offer and learn quite a bit.

 

Whilst it was a good day it was infuriating in equal measures.

I feel the most important thing should be the welfare of the dogs and, as it currently stands, I’m not sure this show abides by all aspects of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This is very worrying and more needs to be done by both the Kennel Club and Crufts to ensure improved welfare not only with the breeds and altering of the breed standards, but throughout the four days of the show including maximum time periods when dogs should be displayed at Discover dogs.

Author: Kim Halford

I'm a qualified vet and animal behaviour and welfare advisor. I am dedicated to improving the welfare of animals. I also want to work with organisations to improve the education of animal welfare and behaviour as well as improve the bond between animal and owner.

21 thoughts on “Crufts 2018; My Thoughts”

  1. I’m a volunteer in a local dog rescue – I’m no expert on dogs and don’t claim to be but it seems to me the KC and their followers cannot take any criticism, when aesthetics take precedent over health the morale argument is lost as far as I’m concerned – the rescue world is where the real love for animals is

    1. I think you are getting confused with people who breed for the good of the breed and people who back street breed for money which is the dogs you will see in rescue!! Responsible breeders likenthe ones this person was referring to pay out to have their dogs health checked before breeding them and provide lifetime support for any puppies they sell. This was not about aesthetics but about some persons ignorance as to what was happening in the ring in a handling competition. They edited the original post as realised that they had got it all wrong!!

      1. My thoughts on Crufts are based around both the showing and the breeds. The reason I edited my post was not because I realised I’d got it all wrong, if that were the case I would have changed it to be completely positive, which I did not.

        I have seen both good and bad breeders of both kinds. I realise to keep up with demand breeding does have to go ahead and I’d much prefer that to the importation and smuggling of dogs into the UK from elsewhere in Europe. There aren’t enough rescue dogs to keep up with that demand and some charities make it very difficult for people to adopt. However I do have issues with some breed standards as well. The kennel club are improving research and testing schemes and there appears to be a growing uptake though which is positive and yes, you’re right, isn’t seen with most “backyard breeders”.

  2. You state that you were a third year vet student in 2008, so you are a relatively young woman. A veterinary surgeon has to deal with all types of animals, unlike a medical Doctor who has only humans to deal with. I cannot help but wonder what dog experience you have. Yes, you will be able to treat dogs with medical conditions, however, I do not believe that the majority of vets are canine specialists, many can’t identify various dog breeds nor are many knowledgeable regarding the behavioral characteristics of individual breeds. How many vets are capable of training a dog to a high standard, how many have hands on experience of handling Show dogs or for that matter Judging specific breeds. IMO you appear to believe that your profession has bestowed you with more knowledge than you actually possesses.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment.

      You’re correct, I am relatively young though my age need not come into this. My veterinary experience has included mainly dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. Also having an MSc in Applied Behaviour and Welfare I am more aware of breed characteristics than some vets. I am also very well able to assess how the environment affects the dogs; hence where my concern about how the arena affects the dogs especially entering through a very crowded area which will induce unnecessary stress. I also able to assess canine body language having also had further training in this though I believe, in part, this comes with experience anyway..

      I do not claim to be a show dog expert or anything of the like, in fact the opposite. As said in the blog I have avoided watching the majority of Crufts for 10years now. This blog post is purely regarding my thoughts on what I saw and my opinions, I am not trying to state I know more about dogs than anyone else and I definitely don’t think I’d make a good show judge, the opposite in fact.

      What I did pick up on is the behavioural cues of the dogs including frustration and, at times, anxiety. Given the scenario being very busy throughout the NEC that day, to some extent what I expect. I thought the majority of these dogs behaved extremely well. But I did see cases where, likely due to the situation, they acted what was probably out of character, as I would expect for the majority of dogs. I do not believe you need to know the individual characteristics of each breed to assess this especially when a decent percentage of behaviour is based around socialisation and experiences anyway as well as how the individual brain works.

      I don’t believe you have to be an expert in showing dogs to have an opinion on Crufts which is all I have relayed; a first hand experience of several aspects of the day.

  3. Crufts is a unique event in the dog world. It is full-on for both dogs and their handlers. But it is only for 4 days at most and isn’t a true reflection of the usual atmosphere of dog shows. It is a showcase for the Kennel Club who have to pull in big crowds to make it pay. Believe me, show dogs love going to shows and look forward to it, and when at home most have a normal doggy life. I feel your comments reflect your theory of dog behaviour, but not the practice. I found your views to be biased – why is it ok for Police Dog training, but not ringcraft?

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your reply.

      I am aware Crufts isn’t a true reflection of showing and my post is just about Crufts rather than showing in general. I believe Crufts is definitely more exaggerated in terms of stress placed on the dogs due, in part, to the crowds which I think especially getting into the arena put more stress than needed on the dogs which could adversely affect their welfare in itself. This is down to the NEC and Crufts itself/ the KC to look into though I’m going to contact them based just on this aspect of the show.

      In terms of my views between showing and working dogs it’s partly due to the role they play. Police/ military dogs are useful to help protect society as a whole. Showing it’s the fact it is more looking for that “perfect dog” based on, at times, what appears to be an individual judges viewpoints though I am aware this is heavy backed by breed standards. It is this judging based primarily on looks which is more of my problem rather than the training side of things as the likelihood is to train in ringcraft it follows very much the same principles as are used by the police, namely positive reinforcement either be that via treats, play or desired items such as balls. One thing that is noted, though, is that such as the police, assistance dogs, farm dogs etc don’t tend to withhold treats in the same way as what I was noting, in terms of with the ringcraft the handlers were often holding treats for several minutes even when the dogs were performing the correct behaviour whereas with others it’s perform correct behaviour, give the positive reinforcement immediately. I am aware though that this may be needed to keep the dogs in the correct position especially with handler-dog teams who are very new to each other in the case of the junior handling competition.

      Apologies if that doesn’t make complete sense. I would be willing however to join people on say a ringcraft training session to see for myself what is involved and do admire the amount of training both handler and dog gets to be at any show, never mind Crufts.

      1. After 33 years of breeding and showing dogs, I am not prepared to continue a debate with someone with little practical experience in this matter. But, please please please, if you want to help the welfare of dogs whether pedigree or not, concentrate your energies in trying to tackle the irresponsible backyard breeders and puppy farm breeders. They are the ones that need help.

        1. After 33 years of breeding and showing dogs, I am not prepared to continue a debate with someone with little practical experience in this matter. But, please please please, if you want to help the welfare of dogs whether pedigree or not, concentrate your energies in trying to tackle the irresponsible backyard breeders and puppy farm breeders. They are the ones that need help.

          1. Oh yes I am wanting to increase the awareness of this issue and aiding with it’s reduction as this is a huge welfare issue itself alongside the importation of puppies both legal and smuggled. I’ve had clients come in, passport in hand, not even realising that the young puppy wasn’t born in the UK.

  4. I think this post is awful. You had clearly decided your opinion before you even got there, and are now making degrading comments about people who’s whole lives revolve around their love of dogs, including juniors working so hard. Looking for the bad because your bias was clearly so strong beforehand. What about the thousands of dogs getting constant cuddles and attention and treats. You convenient didn’t see any of those? And the working dogs having fun DESPITE being working dogs? My working dogs have much better lives than lots of other dogs BECAUSE they are doing the jobs they love.

    Well I have been every year since 2011 as long as many other championship shows throughout the year and can tell you that if you could just open your mind a little bit, gain a better understanding, you would probably see that you probably have a lot in common with the thousands of people there.

    Please can you post the details of your current practise that you work at, so we can all make sure that the avoid anything to do with you for better welfare of our dogs.

    1. Thanks for your reply.

      Firstly I haven’t an issue with the working dogs. Police dogs are working dogs through and through and I have said in my post how I feel their display was great. I also said how they’re clearly enjoying the work that was portrayed there. Other than that I haven’t mentioned my views at all on other working dogs.

      Yes I did see positives, I’ve mentioned seeing the agility handlers clearly fussing their dogs. I haven’t seen much of the showing elements at all so I wasn’t going to comment on them due to the fact I can’t; I don’t know whether these dogs were or were not fussed. Most, of not all, of the ones in the young handlers definitely were, I’m not debating that. I’m also aware the amount of dedication it takes to become a handler, as said in a previous comment, my previous dogs (I currently haven’t got any since my last one died) were not trained to a level where they would do the sorts of behaviours asked for there in that scenario.

      We all have views and I have never claimed this to be non-biased. Also I know I have a lot in common with many, if not all there just that some of the things we don’t see completely eye-to-eye with.

  5. I could say so much…….but will restrict it to a short sentence……You have a lot to learn!

  6. I am the owner of the Dobermann you have referred to and unfortunately did not see the uncalled for comments that you made about my dog and the young handler. I can assure you at no time was my dog mistreated by this handler as I was there throughout the day and do you really think I would allow him to have continued?? Perhaps you need to spend more time at Dog shows especially in the more bouncy breeds and see just how they interact with their owners and handlers. You have certainly got no idea about the breed and how to achieve the best from the dog by using reward based interactions. My dog is a young bouncy Male and was acting just the same with this handler as he would with me and I can assure you that he was happy and well treated all the time. Learn handling techniques and breed background before you make your nasty comments in future!

    1. As mentioned in my previous reply, I never once stated that I believed your dog was misbehaving, in fact I said the opposite. I believe he has a very high standard of behaviour but the circumstances he was in were difficult, I believe, he reacted to that.

      I stated that he did jump up and from reading his body language I believed this to be frustration and still do.

      Not once did I intend to give the impression that I thought she mistreated him, I do not believe this to be the case one bit. I’m sorry if my wording may have come across in that manner, this was not my intention. What more my belief is is that the handling techniques generally used in ring craft are ones which do not necessarily help to calm all dogs down and can, at times cause, them to become more irritated.

      As stated in my previous reply, I also was unaware your dog was only young. I believed him to be older (though I am still unaware of his age) and therefore actually feel his training is incredibly good for his age; I did state in my post (prior to editing) that I believed your dog to have very good behaviour and I still believe this is the case. I am well aware that all young dogs can act differently in situations such as these for varying reasons; if nothing else the lights, noise, crowds and unfamiliar scents, many of which dogs will be able to pick up when we cannot. I’m sure you’ll agree, dogs are not robots and therefore I expect them not to just stay perfectly still and therefore his behaviour was no different from what I’d expect or see the potential for.

      I appreciate your feedback and will take this on board in the future.

      1. For the record he was 1 year and 4 days old and his first ever time in this type of situation and I believe him and the other 3 Dobermanns there behaved impeccably

        1. Given his age, the situation, and the surroundings in the arena (overwhelming even for myself sat in the audience at times), especially it being his first time I do believe his behaviour was on top form. Yes there were hiccups but then as I say, I believe this would be the case with any dog, even top obedience dogs trip up, and my previous dogs (I currently don’t own one personally due to my circumstances though likely will do again soon) wouldn’t have behaved as well as he did, that’s a fact.

          As said, I perhaps worded some areas wrongly and I definitely regret some of what I included (hence the immediate editing, though I am aware this doesn’t solve everything and I sincerely apologise for that). I actually believe all the dogs in that arena behaved incredibly well and appropriate to the all-round difficult and complicated scenario involved in the tests these handlers and dogs were involved in.

  7. I personally think your comments are disgraceful. You obviously know nothing about the subject you are commenting on!! I spent a lengthy time with the handler you have critised and my dogs adored her. To single out a young person I think you are a vile woman!! Maybe you should go back to school and learn English grammar and also retake your degree in behaviour as you are commenting on the behaviour of a young dog as if he is a fully trained adult. Puppies do jump up!! All I get from your comments is negativity and you obviously don’t like pedigree dogs. Maybe once your clients have read your comments they will find a nicer vet because I personally wouldn’t let you near mine animals!!

    1. Thanks for your feedback. I have taken this on board and edited this part of the blog.

      I didn’t think about the implications this may have had and therefore I apologise for my mistake. I regret it and I have definitely learnt from this.

      I do have respect for these young people and it is something I would never be able to do and recognise it takes a lot of skill, time and dedication to get to this level.

      With regards to your comments about puppies jumping up, I am well aware of this. What I wasn’t aware is that the dog in question was actually a puppy. The fact that I didn’t realise this fact is, I believe, a testament to how well trained the dog is. As I said in my prior to editing, I do believe this dog was incredibly well trained and I am sticking by that, as I believe all of the dogs in that ring were.

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