Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got this on email from the agility/obedience club I've attended. Thought it was worth passing on. Those of you who compete in obedience, do you think it is an overreaction or should the group long down/stay in competition be modified or eliminated?

There is a petition, I can email it to anyone who would like to see it, or you can email the individual listed at the bottom of the story.


Debbie and I have been asked many questions about Jasmine's attack during the Group Stays. It has been very difficult to discuss the occurrence. But, we wanted everyone know what happened. Hopefully, this will help with questions about the incident.

In early May 2008, during the long downs stays of the Open B Obedience Trial in Big Spring, TX, Jasmine, our eight pound four year old black Pomeranian was lying perfectly still and had dozed off awaiting my return from out of sight. Two steps after the judge called out "Return to your dogs" the sixty pound strong male Dalmatian, placed next to her, leaped up and pounced on her with extreme aggression and shook her like a rag doll. She screamed in terror as she tried to escape from his jaws.
Just a few moments before the attack, the environment was a good as anyone would want; nice clean indoor show on mats, quite room with only two rings for obedience with respectful spectators (competitors, families with children, etc). Conditions were perfect. Jasmine had been in stays, previously, with this dog. Harm from him was not a concern. We will never know why it happened.

25 feet away, I could not have gotten there fast enough. When the owner of the Dalmatian and I got to within three feet from him he broke off the attack and let her go. Jasmine took off behind the row of downed dogs. With horrifying screams, she ran from the other dogs as they broke their stays and pursued her at an amazing speed. It was total chaos. Some dogs ran in fear, few were contained by their handlers and most were running free in prey mode. Having the dogs arranged by height would not have made any difference. As Jasmine ran around the ring screaming in terror, I placed my self in a position where I thought she would run, the ring gate. I was amazed that she did run in my direction and actually saw me standing away from the alerted crowd of scattered teams. When she jumped to me, my first priority was covered - to get her away from the pursuing dogs, of which, at least four were closing in from behind. Her screaming did not stop until long after we left the room and made our way to where we thought the Vet was located. There was nothing any steward, judge or bystander could have done to prevent or stop the attack quickly enough. I firmly believe if the attack had occurred while we were in the out of sight portion of the exercise, then Jasmine would have been killed.

Jasmine had surgery Tuesday, May 20, to remove a large cyst and scar tissue that had formed as a result of the bite wound. The Vet had to remove a large amount of tissue deep in her muscle. It has been very painful for her and heartbreaking for us. But, we are thankful that she is making a good recovery.

We will send the American Kennel Club a petition, complete with signatures, asking for the removal or replacement of the Group Exercises in Novice and Open. We just can't bear to think of another dog being attacked, large or small. If you would like to sign and ask others to sign the petition, you may contact me at [email protected] We would like to have the petitions signed and returned by 8/1/08.

Thank you for your interest and concern,
PH and Debbie Cantwell
 

·
Mom to Geddy and Sawyer!!
Joined
·
6,059 Posts
wow... that is absolutely terrifying to hear and to consider!!!
 

·
3 goldens
Joined
·
12,096 Posts
that poor little dog. I can just imagine how terriefed she must have been, and then to have to have surgery. Bless her sweet little heart.
 

·
OTCH Wannabes!
Joined
·
3,088 Posts
That is a very terrible thing to hear of. THAT'S why so MANY want it gone...and for various other reasons. I have no problem with them...but maybe large to small dogs will go in seperately...however the case may be...I'm sure the AKC will figure something out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,519 Posts
That is very sad. I don't want to seem uncaring, but why would they want to remove that activity from the competition? I don't know anything about obedience competitions, so I may not be understanding the situation correctly. But to me, it doesn't seem like down/stays could have caused the attack. Is it just that they don't want to be in competition with a bunch of dogs at once because something like that could happen?
 

·
Park, Cam and Ty Rule!
Joined
·
1,038 Posts
I've actually heard a few people that train with us complain about this and I completely see their point... we haven't started obedience yet and I'm not actually even sure I want too.

Augustus McCrae's Mom it's not the down/stay itself that "cause" attacks.... who knows what happened in there. It's simply the fact that you have a group of dogs unattended with owners out of sight. Any dog can break the sit or down and wonder around the ring at their leisure and nobody will touch them. I can see how this happened. I'm sure it was a horrifying experience for that owner and her dog!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The concern is that there is a large group of dogs, unfamiliar to each other, and basically unsupervised, for this exercise the handlers are out of the room. There must be a safer arrangement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,492 Posts
I never thought of the different types of intact dogs that would be in the competition. Maybe it should be by size.

I wasn't in a competition but my shih tzu that was once attacked by a German Shepherd, one shake does a lot of damage to a 10 lb dog.
 

·
Humankind. Be both.
Joined
·
7,650 Posts
Oh how sad for everyone involved!

I, as an active obedience exhibitor, am not really sure where I stand on whether or not groups should remain part of the exercise. Personally, I think it's silly to do an out-of-sight stay, when really, as responsible dog owners, we should be keeping our dogs in-sight at all times. For that reason, I wouldn't mind seeing the exercise traded out for something else. I don't think it would eliminate "attacks" at dog shows b/c those can happen anyway. You walk too close to a dog who lunges out to the end of the leash, or a dog gets away from his owner and goes after another dog, etc.

If the "stay" is still considered an important part of obedience in the eyes of the AKC, perhaps the Open version can become owners in-sight, but the stewards acting as major distractions for the dogs?
 

·
OTCH Wannabes!
Joined
·
3,088 Posts
This actually could become a controversial issue...like Steph I don't know where I stand either, my dog hasn't hurt any other dogs or has she been attacked by any during that exercise. But in the end the Advisory Committee will figure something out that will end all attacking...etc.
 

·
Maryland
Joined
·
2,806 Posts
I also heard of a similar thing happening earlier this year in PA (?). However, it was a Lab who attacked, during the down stay.

It's terribly frightening to hear of something like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,676 Posts
Oddly enough we were just discussing this exact topic at my obedience class tonight. Not this particular sitation, as I hadn't heard about it... but the concept and risk of attacks happening when owners are so far away. We were actually discussing a well known trainer who has written some training books (I won't mention her name because I'm not sure if it's something she'd want advertised) who was showing a "toy" size dog and working on a 200 score when she refused to go back in the ring for groups because the dog that would be next to her was huge and seemed to have aggressive tendencies. The judge was shocked that she would walk away from what could be a perfect score, but she said "I can always get another 200 some other time, I can't replace my dog" (paraphrased of course). It's important to pay attention to signs like that... there's still a risk but if you can pick up on warning signs it could save your dog's life. Of course there aren't aways warning signs to see, sometimes dogs go off for no reason... I'm not sure where I stand on the group exercises, but it's definately food for thought.

Julie and Jersey
 

·
Cheeky Curmudgeon
Joined
·
1,046 Posts
Perhaps they need to group the dogs in obedience competition based on size. The risk of predatory drift (ie. a larger dog seeing a smaller dog as prey instead of fellow dog) is always going to be there with dogs that have a certain amount of prey drive.
 

·
Humankind. Be both.
Joined
·
7,650 Posts
Perhaps they need to group the dogs in obedience competition based on size. The risk of predatory drift (ie. a larger dog seeing a smaller dog as prey instead of fellow dog) is always going to be there with dogs that have a certain amount of prey drive.
I'm fairly certain that was one of the changes that was recently approved by AKC... just not sure when it will be in effect.
 

·
Missing Selka So Much
Joined
·
17,303 Posts
I don't agree with the size grouping. I surely wouldn't want my golden attacked by another dog, no matter what size!
I have never agreed with the long down stay where the owners are out of the room.

The reason we stopped obedience trials was because of an incident when Selka was in the long down stay with me out of the room. We were in a quonset metal building during a thunderstorm and other major freaky things happened. Some people may have thought these were "natural" distractions but ALL the dogs bolted and the situation was chaos for a few minutes while the owners returned. Selka was very afraid and he's not easily shaken. It could have easily been much worse.

I really feel for the woman whose dog was attacked. I hope this promotes adjustments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,174 Posts
I honestly have never thought about this situation.... I've shown a few dogs in obedience & I've never had problems with a dog being attacked while on the sit or down stays. I have had a number of situations where other dogs have "broken" their command and come over to my guy - one actually laid down beside Ollie & started rolling around - Ollie didn't break! I also have had dogs near mine who were growling at the dog beside them - I've been very fortunate that mine just ignored the other but I don't know what Nyg would do in that situation. I DO know that I would be LIVID knowing that an unprepared dog was being taken in the ring! I guess that we all know our dogs and IF we feel that a situation could happen - keep them out of the ring!

I also read about the thunder storm and it brought back memories of a sanction match that Oliver participated in. We were in the down/stay in the ring and some kids were playing basketball close by. The basketball got away & hit the ring fence behind Oliver. The fence fell down but Oliver bolted before the fence hit him - he was disqualified! As others have stated, "I'd rather have a safe dog than an injured one." Hey, Oliver might have been in a down/stay but, in my mind, he showed intelligence by leaving a potentially harmful situation. Sometimes Rules are meant to be broken!
 

·
Missing Selka So Much
Joined
·
17,303 Posts
I honestly have never thought about this situation.... I've shown a few dogs in obedience & I've never had problems with a dog being attacked while on the sit or down stays. I have had a number of situations where other dogs have "broken" their command and come over to my guy - one actually laid down beside Ollie & started rolling around - Ollie didn't break! I also have had dogs near mine who were growling at the dog beside them - I've been very fortunate that mine just ignored the other but I don't know what Nyg would do in that situation. I DO know that I would be LIVID knowing that an unprepared dog was being taken in the ring! I guess that we all know our dogs and IF we feel that a situation could happen - keep them out of the ring!

I also read about the thunder storm and it brought back memories of a sanction match that Oliver participated in. We were in the down/stay in the ring and some kids were playing basketball close by. The basketball got away & hit the ring fence behind Oliver. The fence fell down but Oliver bolted before the fence hit him - he was disqualified! As others have stated, "I'd rather have a safe dog than an injured one." Hey, Oliver might have been in a down/stay but, in my mind, he showed intelligence by leaving a potentially harmful situation. Sometimes Rules are meant to be broken!
Thanks Gwen, that makes me feel better. I was in tears that day. Bad memory.
I guess I'm just not cut out for competition. I was told about people cheating all kinds of ways (treats in their pockets etc) and judges knowing and not doing anything about it. Someone even suggested some of the bad things that happened (besides the storm) were done on purpose!
Not my thing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,174 Posts
Competing in obedience trials can be a lot of fun - fun preparing, fun showing what we have accomplished as a team & even fun when our "goofs" try to let on that they really don't know anything and pull unheard of antics. Hey, I've walked the "Heel offlead" exercise by myself when Oliver decided it was too hot and he sat in the shade under a tree - who's the smart one????? At that same trial (which was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever special as well), the owners of hunting dogs thought it was unfair for their dogs in sit & down stays because of the close proximity of a firing range - it was too destracting for the dogs (hey, Oliver did the stay exercises and qualified with a "1st" - 2nd trial of the day)

Yes, there will always be cheaters in ANY sport but those who don't can hold their heads up high knowing that they did the best they could WITHOUT CHEATING! As well, I've seen unfair treatment by judges who penalized some exibitors yet let the action go by for another. I've also seen exhibitors who should never have entered their dog - whether it isn't close to being ready to compete, vicious tendacies or there are health issues - yes, I saw a great dane who had SEVERE hip problems doing Open over jumps. It will never change. On the positive side, there are judges who DO care and their actions show.

Are there changes that need to be made - yes, this thread points out just one of those!

The most important thing is to "HAVE FUN" - you and your dog!!!!!! When it stops being fun - get out of the sport or analyze WHY you're not having fun - it would be YOU!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,436 Posts
I haven't done any out of sight stays in my training class yet and I don't really want to. One person in my class said that they are important to learn for when you need to leave your dog outside a shop or somewhere. My response was that I wouldn't leave my dog outside a shop.

We have to do relaxed isolation soon which involves the dog being on its own in the next room. That is fine for me but I would be wary of putting a group of strange dogs in a room together and walking away. Asking for trouble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
I don't think the size thing has been approved. It is a proposed regulation and they received comments on it this year- and I think it received a lot of comments on it!

If you do stays in size order, you have to the "runs" in size order as well. Big dog people felt it was unfair to always go last- (if you go small to big)- because trials go long, dogs get tired, it gets hot. Small dog people complained about always going first - because grass is dewy in the morning, trials start early, etc.

Plus, if you have an issue with a particular dog and things are in done in size order, you and your dog will be placed with or near that dog often.

I have been fortunate enough not to have an issue on the stays but I know many people that have.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top