In past trials we've always been allowed to blind separately, so Gimme didn't have to deal with being in close confines with other dogs. No one has ever questioned this. A few months ago it was discussed on list and there was no suggestion by the list-owner (barn hunt originator) to say a separate blind was not allowed. One person even said some clubs provide a separate blind for reactive dogs, even though its not the club's responsibility. The list-owner moderates all the posts to the list. Now all of the sudden, even though there has been no rules change since the discussion, the only dogs who can be in a separate blind are bitches in season or dogs who are loud and disruptive. The list-owner defined disruptive as "dogs whose actions are are loud and disruptive; excessive barking, growling. lunging".
So it seems ill-behaved and poorly controlled dogs can have a separate blind, but dog's who need more space for their own comfort and security cannot. I suppose I could let Gimme lunge at a few dogs and then we could have a separate blind area, something I don't want her practicing. Mostly its not an issue, but sometimes the space provided for the blind is rather small. Such as one time when the blind was a 10x10 canopy, in which there was supposed to fit 5 handlers and their dogs. I think if they are going to say no separate blinds, then the rules need to clearly specify the minimum space to be provided for 5 handlers and 5 dogs.
Now a funny story to lighten the mood. I know I haven't mentioned animal communication more than once before - though my friends surely know what I think about it. I don't know what you think, but I'm a confirmed believer. I've had too many experiences where no other explanation fits. I can do some communication myself and Tonya says I'm much better than I think and most of what I "say" for Gimme and other dogs is like an echo of their thoughts. When I work with communicators I'm careful to not give them clues. Tonya is really gifted in this respect and she comes up with many things she could only have gotten from Gimme.
Tonya and I are working on Gimme's whining in the car. Its gradually improving. One of the things I needed to change was to give her a bigger space in the car than the crate she had - Gimme said she felt tied down and unable to move, which Tonya interpreted as claustrophobic. The crate was a perfectly adequate space for a dog her size. Still I modified a puppy pen so I could get it in the car - increasing the space she has to ride in by 2.5 times. On her first ride in the "special place" Gimme was better, but not quiet. I said to her, "since you have this nice big space, I thought you'd be quiet now." I very clearly heard her say with a lot of sass in her voice, "I'm not cured in one day!"
Last Friday as we were driving down to the hotel for the barn hunt trial, Gimme was kinda fussy off and on the whole time. Usually she is much better when we are driving on the freeway. I thought to myself, when Tonya gets back from her trip, I'll have her ask if there is anything else Gimme needs to make her "special place" more comfortable. Immediately a picture of Gimme's puppy buddies popped into my head.
I was thinking in terms of foam padding to
go under the blankets, not puppy buddies.
Hadn't even thought of them in a long time.
There are these three in the expen and then
Kermit the frog. My mind's eye was drawn
to Kermit. Naturally I couldn't remember
where I'd stashed Kermit; I was sure I could
put my hands on the other three right away.
I didn't really have a clue where to look for
Yesterday I was headed to the laundry room
and since my arms were full, I didn't get the
gate latched. As I was going down the
stairs, I heard the gate bang open and I knew I couldn't delay, since I hadn't put everything away after breakfast. I dumped what I had and turned around to run back upstairs... but... there she was a few feet away.
First, given the choice between counter-surfing and following me to the laundry room - the kitchen counters are winners paws down. No contest. Yet here was Gimme, having bypassed food on the counters and she had her face resting on the second shelf of the unit where I store the dog bedding. There was her nose, mere inches from Kermit. She stayed there and wouldn't budge until I reassured her I would have all the puppy buddies, and certainly her Kermit, in the car for her next ride in the car. Upon hearing me, she dashed up the stairs and was busy counter surfing when I got there.
This tells me a few things:
- I must never expect any privacy in the confines of my own mind. You may not be able to read my thoughts, but Gimme is apparently in there rummaging around on a regular basis.
- Gimme understands much more than I ever thought she did. I already suspected she'd learned to spell some words. Such as p-b-u-t-t-e-r, k-o-n-g, c-o-w-s and r-a-t-s.
- Gimme may not be able to tell me where things are when I can't find them and indeed shows no concern about such things. My house is chaotic and I'm always looking for something. However, as the prior story about her pointing out her collar (see the blog post at: collar) and this story about her Kermit - clearly Gimme knows where her things are.