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fjm you make a very good point about how the world looks to small (short) dogs. When I have tiny puppies or toy breed dogs around the hardest exercises for them are the novice stand for exam and the utility moving stand for exam. You would think judges would consider that but many of them where clunky shoes and have heavy footfalls when approaching. My trainer who has Pomeranians has a list of judges she will only show to in open since the judge has no reason to approach her dog. Making a safe space between your feet is a great plan, but I still see a place for picking up small dogs, just so long as the owner doesn't startle them in the process.
Zoe went through a period where she shrank away from any male judge who approached her. Betty, her handler, was able to work her through her fear. When we started obedience, I had the same issue for the stand for exam, so I started taking her to obedience club meetings as well as to agility and obedience classes and asked every man there to please pet her and give her a treat. I suspect that once this pandemic has eased and we can go back to classes that I'll have to do all that again. Now that it's getting cooler, I can take her to Home Depot and Pet Smart to remind her that men are not evil.
 
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