Sunday, March 27, 2011

Zink Seminar: The logisitics

Beckett and I went to our first working seminar, Dr. Chris Zink, "Coaching the Canine Athlete." Okay, so calling Beckett a athlete is a lot like calling my young cousins art work a master piece... Not to say there isn't any truth to it. My cousins work does look better then some modern art I've seen. And Beckett has done rally, some lure coursing, and he is my jogging partner which gives him between 9-15 miles a week 9 months of the year (we don't run in the winter).

I suppose we are in the intramural dog sports league which would be easier if they had an intramural level, but they don't, and the seminar was close by, and my friend was going, and I've always wanted to go to a working seminar. You know what? don't judge me, I went with Beckett my lovable cuddle champion.

I imagine one could easily tell I was the least experienced dog person there with a working dog. It was obvious from my general ignorance in everything agility related that Beckett was not a rising or even would-be agility star, from his form it was probably even more apparent that he did not pull, mush, or do field work. I was the black sheep with my own brindle greyhound. Why don't they have intramural dog sports? All the fun with out so much of the competition?

I think I may have gotten my preconceived notions of what a dog seminar would be like extrapolating on the veterinary lectures at the greyhound expo. The expo scene was like deja vu of my scientific lectures, rows of chairs, projector screens, power points, people occasionally nodded between furiously scribbled notes; the difference from my scientific lectures, aside from the location - there was no fancy convention center or hotel ball room, was the dogs lounging over every available floor space.

My self created fantasy of the seminar had me taking notes like the amazing student I am (doing what I do best), with my dog by my feet doing what he does best (nothing). It was going to be awesome! Except, it was going to be not like that at all. Oh, the place had all the trappings, the notebooks, the projector ect., but the dogs, they weren't sprawled on the floor they were crated in the other room separated by a pair of closed doors.

I mean Beckett is crate trained, but I've never had him in a different room from me for so long. I brought the fabric crate - what if he tore through that? (which experience has taught me not only is he capable of doing, but costs 60$ to replace.)

My heart was suddenly beating loudly, I'm wasn't sure, what if he broke out, I could put him in the car, but it is still a bit cold for him. I took a deep breath and to be honest I totaled up the monetary cost of the whole thing, (cha-ching; seminars are not cheap). I decided to keep Beckett busy in the crate with a frozen kong and a bully stick. If he gets out, he gets out, I'll take him home and we will call it a weekend. (At least I'll get to that laundry that has been piling up).

The first break was 2 hours after the doors were closed.

I was sweating bullets. What if they had an intercom I could just imagine it, "Could the women with no real reason to be here come chase down her dog who escaped from his crate to the amusement of everyone, then maybe take a quick pop math test, Thank you." Of course, reality is Beckett comes when he is called so I wouldn't have to chase him anywhere and I'm reasonably certain that I'm passed the age I ever have to take a pop math test.

The two hours took what seemed like forever to pass - even with the good sized amount of knowledge I was trying to absorb. When we finally broke off I was happy to find Beckett safe and sound inside his crate. He seemed to be a bit nervous, panting a little, but otherwise was his normal self.

My previous fears were not as crazy as you may have thought, the dog next to us broke through his fabric crate and was being packed up. However, there was no announcement nor did they make the owner take a math test.

The day had two breaks and a lunch. Beckett was out and working for maybe 20-30 min of that time the rest of the time he was crated. By the end of the first day he was amazing in the crate obviously at ease, though I myself was still nervous. He was well behaved always was able to follow commands, and though he wasn't an athlete he was an amazingly good dog.

The second day was much like the first with some more working time in the afternoon. I'll save the actual content to blog about later, which was really informative, I am really glad I went.


  1. I can't wait to hear more about the seminar. I'm also glad Beck didn't destroy his crate. What a good dog you have. :)

  2. You always crack me up. A pop math test! LOL That would be right up there in my worst fears, too...

  3. Can you train my dog to be good in a crate?

  4. Woo hoo!!! I was laughing my head off reading this post :D. Beckett is the KING!

  5. The one seminar I've been to, it was set up a lot like the picture of the room above, but we were kindly given choices...crate in the same room, crate in a different room, crate in your car, or crate right by your side next to your chair.

    Lucius doesn't do crates (sigh) so I brought his mat and we did a Go To Mat/Down Stay for the whole thing. It was perfectly fine.