Tag Archives: Booker the Boston Terrier

Don’t let them squash your joy!

Fran holding Booker with the judge
Booker and the Judge (and me)

I’ve talked about the ups, and downs, and more downs, and frustrations of dog training here. It’s part of my life, so I talk about it. I train my Boston Terrier, Booker in Obedience. I’m holding him in the picture to the left. To our right is the judge at the Obedience Trial where we earned Booker’s Novice Obedience title.

Doing Obedience with a Boston takes a great deal of patience and consistency. You don’t see many at Obedience trials. You see lots of Golden Retrievers and Border Collies.

Bostons are goofballs. It takes about 3 years for their brains to start to settle in. All they want to do is play, eat, play, sleep, and play some more. To earn an obedience title on a Boston takes a whole lot of persistence.

And now that we’ve earned the first regular title in AKC (American Kennel Club – the organization in which Booker is registered), I aim to continue and progress to the next level. Which will take even more training and practice and persistence and patience and consistency.

Back to the main theme…

Booker and I earned that title in 3 days this Spring. Since we earned the title all in one year, we’re qualified to enter the AKC Obedience Classic. Every dog that earned a title all in one year is eligible to enter the Classic.

As any user of Facebook does, I was scrolling through my groups and newsfeeds today. And there is a long discussion that the Classic is nothing more than a money-maker for the AKC.

That may certainly be one reason to hold the trial, but I’m not looking at it like that.

The Obedience Classic is a venue to show how proud the competitors are of the work they put in. Proud of their dogs and their training. It’s a chance for all of that training to be recognized in a venue where people may observe that might be inspired to train their own dogs.

The Classic is held at the place where the Agility Invitational and the National Dog Show is held. But people who may get tired of the noise could stop in to watch some of the best teams in the country compete. Watch the bond these teams have – person and dog – nothing better!

So, for those who say that anyone can get in to the Obedience Classic, and that it’s nothing more than a regular show, I don’t buy it. It demonstrates the love and passion a person has for their dog!

Celebrate Every Victory

Fran holding Booker with the judge
Booker and the Judge (and me)

Celebrate every victory – big, little and not just yours!

Victories are few and far between. Therefore, it’s really important to celebrate every single one that you can!

I recently had a big victory with one of my dogs. I train and compete with him in AKC obedience. Crazy, I know… The training creates a strong bond between us – and if he’s my best friend then we need to have a strong bond! Last weekend we earned the Companion Dog title. That doesn’t sound very impressive because, after all, what else would a Boston Terrier be but a companion dog?

To earn this title, though, the dog must walk in “heel position” (his shoulders even with my leg) through a pattern that includes right and left turns, about turns and two or three stops (when the dog must sit in “heel position”) – both on and off the leash. The team must perform a “Figure 8” around two people standing 8 feet apart 4 times, with 2 “halts.” This is on-lead. The dog must stand perfectly still, off-lead, while the judge touches him on the head, the shoulders and the rump while the handler is 6 feet away. The dog must come to the handler only when called, from a sit position, and sit in front of her from across the ring. And then go to the heel position while the handler stands still. And then the dog must line up with other dogs competing in the same class, spaced a couple of feet apart. They’ll sit and stay there while the handlers go across the ring – for a minute. The handlers come back. Then the dogs lie down and stay for 3 minutes with the handlers across the ring. And the dogs have to do this successfully 3 times – at 3 different trials – under at least 2 different judges…

OK – enough boring stuff. That’s what I’ve been doing, though. That’s what I’ve put in hundreds of hours training with my dog for. All for very expensive ribbons and a piece of paper. (The training fees and trial entry fees.) So I’ll celebrate this victory for a while!

Celebrate the bond

Most importantly, I will celebrate the bond that I have with my dog.

Celebrate a day with sunshine

But, I haven’t been waiting to celebrate victories. I celebrate a day with sunshine. Celebrate a day that I don’t misplace my keys. When I don’t miss another piece of bread on my sandwich.

Celebrate not having to stop at every traffic signal – when the lights are green! Celebrate when you receive the information you actually requested from a co-worker. Celebrate a conversation with your in-laws that didn’t feel like pulling teeth.

But not with chocolate cake…

Celebrate every little thing. But not with chocolate cake. At least, not every time! Save that for the bigger victories. Lean back and smile. Say, “cheers!” with your water glass. Take a deep breath and tackle the next issue.

What do you do when your dog is yelling at you?

Teddy is yelling at me. Booker is laughing at him!
Teddy is yelling at me. Booker is laughing at him!

Yell back! Make some noise! I don’t care why he’s yelling – he’s fed, walked, watered – he’s just making noise. So make noise back!

Every once in a while it’s great to break out of your usual humdrum existence. As a rule, you may not be a noisy person. I know I’m not. But it’s liberating to just yell. I think the psychiatrists had it right with the primal scream idea. By yelling your lungs out you’re opening yourself to new ideas and new feelings.

Teddy sometimes yells at me. I don’t know why. But I go with it. The yelling doesn’t usually last long provided that I participate. And the other dogs just kind of look at us funny. I don’t mind, though. We’re all happy when it ends.-

Just don’t hurt your throat!