Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pet or sporting dog?

Where is the line between "just a pet" and a sporting dog? I found myself asking myself that during a walk in the hills above my house yesterday afternoon.

Our life with our two Vizslas is a wonderful experience in any form.

Many of the sporting dog enthusiasts, that I have had the pleasure to meet this year,would define a "pet " as a dog who is not challenged to reach any potential.
Agility, obediance, field trials, hunt tests all require the dogs to aquire skills that take hours, days, weeks, months and years to hone.
We as sporting dog enthusiasts are willing to spend thousands of dollars to help our dogs aquire these talents. I guess I wonder sometimes why. Is it for them or our egos that we do this? Are the dogs happier than "pets" when they are performing these man-made skill sets?
I found doing field trials with my young male Vizsla that to compete against the professional handlers, we can't just train once a week for half an hour with a trainer. This will be a minimum 4 days a week committment for at least an hour a day. Then I think we can get close to the level of the professionals.
We have made committments like this before with children but never dogs. The joy of working with the dogs so far has been reward enough.

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