Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Have you Googled your dog?

You might be surprised what you find when you google your dog's name. I sure was. On a tip from a friend I googled Jackson's name last night and was surprised at a couple links that came up. The biggest surprise was the picture below that was published in the Waterloo, Iowa newspaper in April 2006! I had never seen it and didn't know that it had even been taken.

The caption was: "With front paws on a chair Great Dane "Robindane's Heartbreaker CD RN" takes a good look around Saturday morning at the Waterloo Kennel Club Dog Show."

Rich Chase / Courier Photographer.

Another link came up that had two win pictures from a trial in January 2010 that had been published on the Northstar Working Group Association website, plus loads of other stuff I hadn't seen. So, if you haven't googled your dog yet, do it. You might be surprised at what comes up : )

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's a miracle - my dog can tug!

Now, those of you that have dogs that are natural tuggers, you're probably asking, "What's the big deal?" Well, I have been working with Jackson off and on (usually 'off' because I have given up a number of times) to try to get an enthusiastic tug from him. Unlike a lot of dogs, he just never seemed to have any interest in tugging with me. I've tried all kinds of tugs - soft, hard, ropes, food-containing ones, etc. - with not much success..... until recently.

According to SG, and a lot of trainers, this is the foundation to building a relationship with your dog and building drive. (Heaven knows - we could use some drive : ) So, I've started working on the tugging again with him. I'm not sure what is different this time, but we seem to be having some success. We have a long ways to go to get to the point where he will tug with me in new settings with distractions and when I ask for it, but for now, we are building value with tugging in the house. We'll gradually try to move it outside where there are some distractions and then to the club, etc.

And for now, I am only asking for tugging when he is 'up,' like before we go out to train, or when it's time to eat. If anyone has any tips on how they have gotten a non-tugging dog to love tugging, please share. We can use any help we can get to keep this thing moving in the right direction.

Here's the proof : )

Monday, August 1, 2011

The invitation and the questions

Jackson's invitation to the NOI (National Obedience Invitational) arrived today. This is the second year in a row that he's received an invitation. This year's invitational will be held in December at Orlando, Florida.
I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about posting this. Don't get me wrong -- I feel honored to have received this invitation. I think it does recognize all the hard work and effort Jackson and I have put into training and trialing, as well as the unique challenges some of us face when we choose to train dogs that are not of the traditional obedience breeds.

For those who may not know how invitations are decided, AKC invites the top 25 obedience dogs in the country based on number of OTCH points earned in the reporting year. In addition to these 25, the top three dogs (according to their OTCH points) in each breed are invited. A third way to get invited is through regional qualifying events.

Some breeds have no qualifying dogs; some i.e., herding and sporting group breeds have lots; and some breeds i.e., Great Danes, have very few competing at that level so their chances of getting invited are much less competitive - although they do need to have earned OTCH points to be on the list.

I guess the thing that seems incongruent to me is - the goal of the NOI is to have dogs compete for the title of National Obedience Champion (NOC), which to me means the best obedience dog in the country - at least on that given weekend - but they also invite dogs such as Jackson, who are nowhere near the same level as the top obedience dogs are. Perhaps AKC is just trying to encourage wider participation in obedience and are recognizing the accomplishments of nontraditional obedience dogs - and if they are - that's okay. I am proud and honored that we have been invited, even though it seems a little weird : )

Just thinking out loud. 

If you have thoughts on the NOI, I'd love to hear them!