Although we joked about it at the time, a few weeks ago, at an All Breeds show in Auckland, Delilah had a very lucky escape from being put on report after snapping (twice) at the judge. After the second snap, Tracey didn’t wait to be told - she excused herself, took Delilah out of the ring, and didn’t show her for the rest of the weekend.
Perhaps because Tracey didn’t wait to be excused, but excused herself, no further action was taken by the steward or the judge at the time, so Delilah was not put on report, although it would have been perfectly understandable if she had been. Later in the same group, however, another dog growled at the judge (poor judge!) and it was put on report, though arguably, Delilah’s behaviour had been worse.
We have formally been advised of Delilah’s lucky escape by Dogs NZ, which should have resulted in her being put on report like the other dog. The upshot of this, though, is that the often uneven application of the regulations has been highlighted. The letter certainly indicates that in future “correct procedure is followed” so we expect the rules to be applied fairly and evenly by stewards across the board from now on.
If one of our dogs goes on report, then fine. They shouldn’t be snapping at judges or at other dogs in the ring in the first place and we would be remiss as exhibitors and guardians of a breed whose standard calls for an “alert and swift moving little dog with a saucy expression” to show fearful or aggressive dogs and let people (be they judges, stewards, other exhibitors or the general public) think that is the true nature of our wonderful breed.
We have long lamented the fact that we often see temperamental, snappy and uncontrollable Chihuahuas in the show ring here and they are rarely even excused, let alone put on report. Under the Dogs NZ show regulations, dogs exhibiting threatening or intimidating behavior should be immediately excluded and placed on report. They so rarely are.
The same behaviour in a larger dog would never be tolerated. No exhibitor would be permitted to exhibit a Doberman or a Staffy or a GSD that snaps or lunges at other dogs, growls at strangers or won’t let the judge near them (we’re talking adult dogs here – not baby puppies) and yet it happens all the time in the Chihuahuas.
There is no reason why the same standard should not be applied to Chihuahuas as it is to all other breeds and hopefully the ring will be a happier place for everyone, once dogs whose handlers are letting them down by putting them into stressful situations they obviously despise or are not temperamentally suited to (or having an bad day because of hormones), can no longer rely on the “oh, it’s just a Chihuahua, that's their thing” excuse for unacceptable behaviour.
As for our naughty bitch, as it turns out, she wasn't being naughty so much as hormonal. She came into season a few days later (Delilah, not Tracey!) so that explains her uncharacteristically cranky mood. We showed her again a couple of weeks later, once she’d finished her season, and she was back to the happy Delilah of old. We’ll know now, to keep an eye on when she is due again, as clearly, she gets PMS, poor thing, and we know how much fun that can be!