StubbyDog – you should read it!). Pixie is a Boston Terrier- pit bull or Staffordshire mix – we’re not really sure. Pixie is the most lovable, silly little butterball that you could ever meet! We decide to call her Pixie because we could tell when we got her that she was bit impish, and a “pixie” is a mischievous German elf. She and I have made a great team in 4-H obedience.
I got into 4-H obedience work with Pixie after watching my Mom take Rocket to obedience classes and helped him earn his CGC (Canine Good Citizen). Once in a while, I would go to class with them and watch. I really wished that I could do it too. When we got Pixie (to help Rocket with his separation anxiety) my dream came true. I finally had my own dog to train and do obedience work with!
At my first class, I was sort of nervous and didn’t know what to do. The small room was filled with about 20 kids and all different breeds of dogs. I was the only one with a pit bull mix. Even though I was so excited to have my first class, there were a few kids who I thought were too tough on their dogs. I didn’t like the way that they were speaking to their dogs. I really believe that to train a dog properly you must be kind, but firm and yelling only scares them. With this approach, I have been able to train Pixie and Rocket to do some great tricks. I started out with some easier tricks (with my Mom’s help), like “sit,” “stay,” and “down.” Rocket was amazing on the command “down” – he falls at Mach speed! Pixie, on the other hand, would take her time, give a loud snort and give you her “baby eyes” – you couldn’t help but laugh! After a lot of work, she has finally learned a pretty quick “down” but sometimes she still gives a loud snort!
Last summer, Pixie and I were lucky to go to a special 4H week-long dog obedience training camp. At this point, we were a pretty good team, but I didn’t really know all of the ropes. The class was held outside at a local fairgrounds and run by a long time dog trainer, Mrs. LaPoint. During the week, we learned many things, including “recall.” “stand” and “around.” We also worked on long “sit” (around 3 minutes) and long “down” (around 5 minutes).
Training was fun because I got to work with Pixie and meet other kids who like to train dogs. At the end of the camp week, there was a dog show to see who had improved the most. It was sort of a long shot for me, as Pixie and I had never been in a show. Most of the other kids and dogs had competed before. On the day of our obedience trial, I was nervous but I tried my best. Rocket was on the sidelines for moral support! Pixie did an almost perfect job – we had to work on “recall” a little bit. After we went through our all of the exercises, the awards were given out. When they called our names for FIRST PRIZE, I could barely move because I was so shocked. I had never been in an obedience show before and I had won – it was a miracle! To celebrate, we went out for ice cream and the dogs had “pup cups” – ice cream in a cup with a dog bone on it. They were very happy with their treat and it was great day!
Training Pixie has been a blast and I will continue to add new tricks – she just learned “high five.” I will continue to train and love her. These are wonderful dogs that many people really don’t understand and often abuse, neglect or judge, because of bad information and very bad owners. We have always had bully-type dogs and think of them as divine and very misunderstood. I grew up with a very funny Staffordshire terrier named Tallulah (and her beloved, noisy little pal, a beautiful tortoiseshell cat named Hedy) that were like a nanny S.W.A.T. team for me – one of them was always by my side! They are really sweet, silly and very loyal dogs. If you treat them well, they will do you no harm and be the best pal you could EVER ask for. I am very lucky to have two wonderful dogs like Pixie and Rocket!!
By Justy Carney