A recent post in the "No, It's Not Starving..." FB group got me thinking about how the public perceives the dogs of 'dog people'. In this post someone posted up a photo of them holding their BC by the hips with rear feet on her thighs and it's evident that she's lined him up to run at a flyball tournament. The photo is completely innocuous and not particularly noteworthy at all, but apparently the poster had experienced some criticism on her feed for looking like she was hurting her dog. The dog sport people guffawed about the silly reaction. Of course she wasn't hurting her dog, and her dog looked happy and healthy. A lot of people on the "... Not Starving..." FB group experience flack from people who fear that their dogs are underfed (and some of them are) so generally the opinions of Joe Public aren't held in terribly high regard. The aforementioned post and the apparent issue someone took with the dog looking mistreated reminded me of the way my team handles our dogs during a performance. We're just coming off of 3 days of performances this long weekend. The dogs and people all love it and many of the dogs are often higher than a kite prior to a race. I noted a few teammates holding their dogs' collars so that their front feet were lifted clean off the ground prior to lining up. The people were excited, the dogs were high and I doubt either of them realized what was happening. It was a bit rougher than what I'm used to seeing which is why I took notice, but it wasn't anything that concerned me. But we do these shows in front of crowds of not-dog-people... I wouldn't be surprised if some of this rough handling would bother folks who noticed, considering how the benign flyball photo bothered people. We also keep our dogs in crates between shows and when they're not running and many of them bark their heads off. The barking clearly does bother people who watch our shows, but it barely registers to some of the dogs' handlers since, again, this behaviour is considered pretty par for the course in flyball circles and (to a lesser degree) in other dog sport circles. So, all of this just got me thinking about what I do with my dogs, how it might be perceived by other dog people and non-dog people. Some people feel that trick training is demeaning, or that forcing a dog to run an agility course is cruel -- some pretty bonkers stuff -- and let's not even mention the craziness that seems to be getting stirred up when dogs are left in cars despite extenuating circumstances. What's normal for you? What do you change up about your behaviour with your dogs when you're in public vs with other dog people? What kind of craziness have you encountered? I know this post is sort of stream-of-consciousnessy and messy. I've not organized my thoughts on the matter yet.