Tag Archives: Rally Obedience

Goodbye 2016, It’s been an adventure

31 Dec

2016 has been an exciting year for Clancy!

From our first real TV appearance, to qualifying for the RAE Class at the AKC Rally Nationals, achieving our Rally Advanced Excellent obedience title at the Keeshond Club of America National in Colorado, finishing as the top Keeshond in AKC Rally, to doing trick shows, creating lots of smiles through therapy dog visits, and having fun with dock diving, Clancy and I had a great 2016.

We will share pics of how our year went soon.   We’ve been so busy, so apologies for not being able to blog much this year.  We’ll see what 2017 brings!

For now, we’d like to wish everyone a happy, successful and healthy New Year!

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Coming soon… Really! In the meantime…

22 Oct
My new trick video is still in production!  Not much longer now...

My new trick video is still in production! Not much longer now…

My apologies to everyone waiting on Clancy’s newest trick video!  It really is coming soon…

I haven’t had any spare time lately, but I have not forgotten my promise of a new unique dog trick routine video for every 5000 signatures received on the http://www.KeesRescue.com petition to #FreeTheKees.

At a Capital Keeshond Club meeting, here's Clancy enjoying spending time with "Christian", one of the lucky Kees rescued from Marjorie's Kennel (Puppy Mill)

At a Capital Keeshond Club meeting, here’s Clancy enjoying spending time with “Christian”, one of the lucky Kees rescued from Marjorie’s Kennel (Puppy Mill)

At the time of this writing, we’re at about 17K signatures…  please keep sharing and encouraging others to sign.  It’s getting cold in New York…  let’s save the remaining Keeshonden from Marjorie’s Kennel before we have more cases of frost bite and heat lamp burns.

Clancy and I achieved our UKC Rally Obedience 3 title last weekend!  With some great scores of 97, 95 and 97, too!

Clancy and I achieved our UKC Rally Obedience 3 title last weekend! With some great scores of 97, 95 and 97, too! Pictured with Judge Robert Wolfe.

Clancy and I have been busy doing so many things!

Clancy has been bringing smiles to hospitals, nursing homes & more with his therapy dog work...  he has completed over 40 therapy dog visits and will soon earn his AKC Therapy Dog title!

Clancy has been bringing smiles to hospitals, nursing homes & more with his therapy dog work… he has completed over 40 therapy dog visits and will soon earn his AKC Therapy Dog title!

Now I just need to fulfill the purpose of my Kees Of Dog’s Delight blog and write about it so we may inspire others to go out there and do things with their dog!  So please keep checking back in, we have so much to share!  For a preview, you can get an idea how busy Clancy has been over the last several weeks in these photos.

Clancy received his AKC Dock Diving title (1st titled dock diving Keeshond!)  Last year Clancy received his UKC Dock Diving title.

Clancy received his AKC Dock Diving title (1st titled dock diving Keeshond!) Last year Clancy received his UKC Dock Diving title.

(We’ll also be in a dock diving competition this weekend!)

In the meantime, enjoy some teaser pictures of Clancy’s “steal checkbook and go shopping video”.  As an extra bonus for everyone’s patience, we are actually adding much more to this fun trick skit!

Clancy competed in AKC Obedience Novice B at the Capital Keeshond Club Specialty on Oct. 12 and earned his highest score yet, 185 1/2 (Clancy has much more fun in the other dog sports, so he's better at those than competition obedience)

Clancy competed in AKC Obedience Novice B at the Capital Keeshond Club Specialty on Oct. 12 and earned his highest score yet, 185 1/2 (Clancy has much more fun in the other dog sports, so he’s better at those than competition obedience)

We loved seeing all the Keesies and socializing with folks at the Capital Keeshond Club Speciality on Oct. 11.  Puppies make it extra fun!

We loved seeing all the Keesies and socializing with folks at the Capital Keeshond Club Speciality on Oct. 11. Puppies make it extra fun!

Clancy going shopping --  a scene from the trick video we're working on!

Clancy going shopping — a scene from the trick video we’re working on!

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Clancy going shopping with cashier Petra, the Vizla

Clancy going shopping with cashier Petra, the Vizla

Rally for Rally Obedience! An Introduction to the FUN Sport of Dog Obedience

5 Apr start rally sign

Clancy Rally trial ukcHeel. Sit. Stay. Come. “Boring…” may be what your dog is thinking as it mechanically completes the requested actions from their master. While an obedient dog is to be respected in the community, especially in competition, it may not be very fun for many dogs. Fortunately, there is an alternative (or just a fun extra dog sport to be involved in!)

It’s RALLY Obedience!  Watch Clancy and I in a Rally trial here:

What is Rally Obedience? Imagine being in the competition ring and being able to talk as much as you want to your dog, even in your puppy-wuppy voice if you wish! Pat your leg to encourage your dog to stay with you, repeat the commands to your dog if you need to and just be as silly as you want, to RALLY your dog as you follow a course of signs indicating what you’re supposed to do. It’s so much better than trying to remember an obedience course and listening to a judge telling you what you should do.  You can even say “re-do!” when you know you’ve messed up and want to re-do the station.

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Rally should be fun and encouraging! Clancy and I working as a team in our first AKC Rally trial.

That’s what makes Rally Obedience fun and a great way to either start in or enhance your teamwork skills to improve in any dog sport. Rally is a relatively new dog sport focused on success in obedience in a more relaxed setting than regular Obedience. It is offered by various governing bodies. Clancy and I compete in both the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club since that’s what’s offered in our area.

In Rally, there is a course composed of signed stations that tell you what to do. Your dog heels beside you as you approach the signs that range in telling you to turn in a specific direction, circle, or giving your dog a command or series of commands. Clancy loves that we can have fun together through the excitement of my voice and the encouragement in moving my arms. I enjoy the challenge of having to quickly read the signs and remember what they said… having to ensure I complete all parts of the station while being mindful of my positioning…  and being sure to sound upbeat and positive to keep Clancy motivated!

It’s also fun that any dog over 6 months of age is welcome to compete, you just need to register with the organization (mixed breed dogs can do this too!)IMG_6873

Rally course mapIn Rally trial competitions, you will be given a map of the course when you check in. Before your class level starts, you will have at least 10 minutes to be able to walk the course and should practice with an “imaginary dog”. (Your real dog should either be crated or held by someone outside of the ring at this time.)

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You get to walk through the course before your competition level begins and ask the judge any questions!

RALLY COMPETITIONS (Trials)

The ring steward will call you “on deck” when you are next to enter the ring to be sure you are ready to approach the “Start” sign as the previous dog exits the ring.

A Rally exhibitor on deck to go in the ring next.

A Rally exhibitor on deck to go in the ring next.

When you approach the “Start” sign, you have your dog sitting (or standing) to your left in heel position. The judge will ask “Are you ready?” (now take a deep breath and make sure your dog is focused on you), and when you reply, “Yes”, they are able to start judging you and you can no longer touch your dog. The judge will say “Forward” and you then tell your dog to heel as you head to the first station. A timer begins as soon as you pass the “Start” sign.

In both the AKC and the UKC, you begin the course with the perfect score of 100 points. Points are deducted throughout the time you are in the ring anytime you and your dog are not exhibiting the ideal vision of a Rally run. These could include if your dog is lagging behind while heeling (though it is nice that unlike traditional Obedience, they aren’t looking for “perfect heel position”), not responding to a command or taking an excessive amount of time to obey your command, or handler errors such as having a tight lead, slowing to the dog’s pace, performing part or all of a station incorrectly, touching your dog, etc.

The judge is looking for you and your dog to walk briskly and most importantly, work together as a positive team. Harsh corrections (such as jerking the leash or yelling at your dog) will be severely penalized and may “NQ” you (Non-Qualify). Be sure to read and to understand the Rally regulations of the organization that you are competing in (they do vary slightly, along with the signs) AKC Rally Regulations and Description of Signs

AKC score sign

Scores are posted next to your armband number after your run. Times are not disclosed until after placements have been announced.

A qualifying score in the AKC and UKC is 70 points. At any point during the course your deductions put you lower than the 70 points qualifying score, you are then marked “NQ” and are excused from the ring. Sometimes, depending on the judge and how busy the schedule is, they may let you complete the course as a training opportunity. At the end of each Rally level, the judge will ask all those that received a qualifying score back into the ring to award them all a Qualifying Score ribbon, which also means you earned a “leg” towards that level’s Rally title. They will also award those that received their third “leg” a ribbon for receiving a new title. The judge will then announce the 1st place, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place winners based on the highest scores. IMG_7017

 

If there is a tied score, the tie is broken by whoever had the fastest time (which is the only reason they time you.) Only twice has time been a factor for Clancy and I… which is suspenseful because while you can see what everyone’s score is ahead of time, you don’t know the times and just have to wait to hear the placements from the judge.  If the judge isn’t too busy, you may approach them after the awards presentation for your class and ask them what stations did you lose points on so you know what you need to work on for next time.

Clancy and Stacie earn their AKC Rally Novice title and 1st place!

Clancy and Stacie earn their AKC Rally Novice title and 1st place!

MORE RALLY SPECIFICS AND TIPS

Rally Obedience is a fun way to train your dog obedience and a variety of additional listening skills, for there are a large variety of exercises and many of them defy the set traditional Obedience exercises. Call front Rally signFor example, the “Call Front, Finish Left, Forward” exercise. While you are heeling, you tell your dog to “come front” where they walk past you and do a U-turn to sit directly in front of you. You then tell your dog to return to heel position by doing another U-turn on your left, HOWEVER, unlike traditional obedience where the dog should immediately sit on your left automatically, you start moving forward as soon as your dog clears your path before they had a chance to get into the heel position, which makes the dog have to catch up to you to heel by your side.

Some of the signs can be difficult to understand Double left about turn Rally sign which is why it’s always good to either take a Rally Obedience class or participate in “run-thru’s” which are often held by local dog training or kennel clubs (often you don’t even have to be a member, you just pay a fee to do a run-thru and instructors or knowledgeable volunteers will answer any questions you have and correct you if you make a mistake.)  Join Clancy and I for Rally Run-thrus!  Check out our FUNanimal Meet-up Group.

Stacie&ClancyRally8Rally sign for picWell, I could go on and on and on about Rally Obedience (and I will), but the goal of this article was to introduce you to this fast growing sport that serves not only as a wonderful foundation to get you ready to compete in other dog sports, but it is a fun way to train your dog to want to listen to you and strengthens your bond. I also find that Rally Obedience offers new challenges you don’t see in other dog sports. Having to focus on the signs and remember exactly what they said (it’s an entirely different experience in the competition ring… you and/or your dog may suddenly seem like you’ve never done it before… the sign says do a circle to your left and you circle to your right, or the dog doesn’t seem to remember what “sit” means).

Clancy tied for 1st place in Rally Advanced, however we had the slower time so we took the 2nd place honors.

Clancy tied for 1st place in Rally Advanced, however we had the slower time so we took the 2nd place honors.

Not to mention all the distractions you could encounter in the competition ring that you don’t see in practice runs or at home. Such as a wooly caterpillar crossing your path so your dog stops heeling to investigate and finds it more interesting than listening to you… (ahem, Clancy!) Or new smells draw your dog’s attention away from you, or loud noises, or just other dogs. That’s why it is best to practice random exercises during your travels with your dog. While you’re shopping at the pet store together, suddenly do a “come front, finish” exercise… while you’re taking a walk past a barking dog behind a fence, suddenly do a 360 degree turn while telling your dog to look at you instead of the barking dog.

Repetition, repetition, repetition in a variety of settings with a treat that you can give your dog quickly (and that they can consume quickly) as soon as you get the desired behavior from your dog, will eventually get you to where you want to be.  The more you do it, the better you’ll both get!  Do not give up on your dog!

Even spending just a couple minutes every day practicing a move or two will make you a better team!

Even spending just a couple minutes every day practicing a move or two will make you a better team!

Being owned by a Keeshond, I have learned you also need to share in the sense of humor they have. They are fun-loving dogs that want to please you, but also just want to have fun. Especially with emotional breeds such as the Keeshond, Rally Obedience is a wonderful way to increase your dog’s focus, your trust and bond, and enhance your training while meeting lots of great people!

(Live in the DC area? I have just started a Meet-up group through Meetup.com to practice Rally Obedience and traditional Obedience (with other fun dog stuff in the works).  Learn more at www.Meetup.com/FUNanimal or on my business website: www.FUNanimalPet.com)

Rally Obedience… Another way of being your dog’s best friend! ~ SSB

Clancy and I at RNC

 

P.S. Look for future blogs targeting the different levels of Rally Obedience.  ALSO, Coming Soon: I will share my experience of competing in the AKC Rally Nationals Competition in Harrisburg, PA with Clancy that was on Friday, March 28th!  Thanks for reading!

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Clancy wins 1st place in the talent show at Maryland DogFest (dog tricks video)

9 Mar Clancy standing with bongos 12.13

Finally!!!  Here is a video of some of my Keeshond, Clancy’s tricks!  Clancy and I had a blast meeting new people, visiting exhibits, watching demonstrations and participating in the Dog Talent Show at Maryland DogFest yesterday!  (Unfortunately due to the unpredictable climate in early March in Maryland, the Ultimate Air Dogs dock diving competitions were cancelled.)  😦

Clancy wins 1st place at the 2014 Maryland DogFest talent show...  that's two years in a row! Here he is holding a gift bag with his 1st Place certificate next to two of his famous trick props.

Clancy wins 1st place at the 2014 Maryland DogFest talent show… that’s two years in a row!
Here he is holding a gift bag with his 1st Place certificate next to two of his famous trick props.

We had Rally Obedience run-thrus in the morning, so I wasn’t sure what Clancy had left in the tank for his talent show performance here.  I also have been so busy, that I didn’t figure out what I was going to do until 5 minutes before the show.

There were many dogs in the contest and Clancy and I were called up last.  After watching other competitors, I decided not to duplicate the other dog’s tricks (I didn’t want Clancy to entirely steal the show 😉 ).  Though Clancy has many more tricks up his sleeve, we’ll save them to share with everyone another day.  (I also had a time limit to try to stay within at the talent show.)  Next time we do a routine, we will be more polished and show off even more tricks!

For now, enjoy!  The theme of our performance is sharing some of the traits of the Keeshond with the audience.  (Oh, and we did win 1st place by a unanimous vote from the judges.)  😀

P.S.  We have a Rally Obedience trial and Obedience Novice trial later this week.  Then we have the 2014 AKC Rally Nationals later this month!  (Wish us luck!)  That Rally blog WILL be posted by the end of March.  🙂

P.S.S.  I do plan on writing a dog tricks blog in the near future, too!  Trick training is a great way to have fun, strengthen your bond and challenge your dog!

P.S.S.S. I am just starting up a pet services business where I also offer dog trick training!  Visit www.FUNanimalPet.com to learn more about it!

Closing up February, Opening up to March

28 Feb

My Keeshond, Clancy, loves a challenge.  “Silly humans”, he thinks to himself, “you think this child/pet gate will prevent me from going where I want to?”

Since I wanted to have some sort of post in February, I thought I would share this fun (well, not so fun when I really want the gate to restrain Clancy) video and slideshow of how Clancy feels about not being able to be where he wants to be (and that’s either with me or eating cat food.)

Please forgive me, I’m going to be a little late publishing a “real post” for February (hey, it’s a short month!)  I did finally get my photos off of my old laptop and can now finish up my article on Rally Obedience, so look forward to that in the coming weeks!  Clancy and I actually qualified and are entered into the 2014 AKC Rally Nationals coming up at the end of March.  Prior to that, we’re hoping to get our 3rd leg to get our Rally Advanced title in York, Pennsylvania.  We’re also entered into Obedience Novice in York to try to get our 2nd leg of our Companion Dog title.

Another fun March event we will be doing is the Maryland Dog Fest, where Clancy is entered into the Dog’s Got Talent show!  I know I haven’t showed off how truly talented he is yet on here, but I promise to post videos soon of his large variety of tricks, many of which are very unique!

Here’s a sneak preview:

Clancy bongos 12.13

In the meantime, could you help vote Clancy as the “Cutest Dog of Maryland DogFest”?  (Because you know he likely will be, but the dog with the most Facebook votes wins the title!)  Just go to this link https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maryland-DogFest/369879699699485?sk=app_292725327421649&app_data (you’ll have to “like” Maryland DogFest’s page…  which is likeable!) and then go to “Photos”.  Look for Clancy’s pic of him when he was a 5 month old puppy in his life jacket…  the pic is titled “Ready for Summer & swimming!”.  Thanks so much!

Clancy — the inspiration for Kees Of Dog’s Delight

10 Dec Clancy in the leaves - November 2013

Clancy holding flowersClancy has truly opened up my eyes to the potential that all dogs have that most humans aren’t aware of.  My main mission with my Kees Of Dog’s Delight blog is to encourage all dog owners to enrich their dog’s life, which in turn enriches the dog owner’s life through socialization and the benefits you gain from the strong bond you create with your dog.  Though I love all types of dogs, cats, and just all animals, Clancy has ignited a passion in me for the Keeshond, so from time to time you will see more Kees oriented posts, especially while the Keeshond community works on rescuing 60 + Keeshonden from one of the worst puppy mills in the U.S.  (Learn more at www.KeesRescue.com)

Clancy and I have met so many wonderful people together just by being out through our various activities.  Clancy brings so much joy to everyone that crosses his path and has many fans who would like to see more of him.  Since we do go to so many places and do so many things together (in various States, too!), there will be a new category of the blog dedicated to the Clancy fans!  (Look for the category “Clancy – My Keeshond” for just fun Clancy updates, pics and videos.)  NEW:  Clancy has his own Facebook Page!  Follow Clancy’s adventures, see him do tricks on #TrickTuesday and cute retro pics of Clancy on #ThrowbackThursday by “Liking” Clancy, the fluffy trick dog – Keeshond on Facebook!

So, here’s Clancy!  The UKC Altered Champion, Rally Obedience level 3, United Junior Jumper (1st UKC dock diving titled Keeshond), AKC Companion Dog Excellent, Rally Advanced Excellent, Dock Junior (1st AKC dock diving titled Keeshond), Advanced Canine Good Citizen, AKC Therapy Dog titled, Ultimate Air Dogs AND North American Diving Dogs Dock Junior titled, and the first CHAMPION Trick Dog titled Keeshond!  *More training for other titles are always in progress!

Be your dog’s best friend! ~ SSB  

Enjoy and thank you for visiting!

Clancy

Clancy

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Happy Howl-oween!!!

31 Oct

Happy Howl-oween!!!

Clancy wishes all of his fans a Happy “Howl-oween”!!!

New blog post about Rally Obedience is almost finished! Check back here soon to learn how you and your dog can share in a fun learning experience together!

— UPDATE —  AHHH!!!  The laptop that has my Rally videos and pictures is on the fritz.  Hoping to get it fixed soon so I can get my new blog post up here asap.

It’s all in a Dog’s Life … in August! Including “Where To Find Your New Best Friend”

31 Aug IMG_6785

Clancy and I enjoyed so many activities together throughout the month of August and we hope to encourage you to go try something new with your dog!   “Part 2” of Dock Diving with the Flying Fluff-ball blog post is still in progress pending more information that I’m gathering from various resources.  So in the meantime …  enjoy!

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Clancy brought a friend to dock diving practice with him.  One of his best friends, “Annie”, a Cattle Dog Mix, made her first baby step towards the introduction of the sport of dock diving by getting a swimming lesson…  or more like a “getting used to the water lesson”.  (Pictured above.)

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Since Clancy brings smiles to so many people’s face when we’re out and about, I wanted to share him with those that could really use a smile by becoming a Pets On Wheels volunteer.  We had our first visit with a senior assisted living facility in early August and just had another visit recently with another facility targeting the dementia guests.  Clancy was such a champ as he happily greeted dozens and dozens of elders.  He even performed some tricks that earned him rounds of applause.  Clancy was tuckered out after his hour and a half visit (pictured above) and we look forward to returning there in a couple of weeks.  *More on Therapy Dog work in a future blog post!

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Despite being late to compete in an AKC Rally Obedience trial due to an absurd amount of traffic which caused us to literally run straight from the car to walking into the Rally course blind, Clancy and I earned our 2nd leg towards his AKC Rally Novice title.  I was concentrating so much on making sure Clancy was only paying attention to me and not to all of the new distractions we just walked into that I didn’t perform the first station, a figure 8, correctly.  I crossed the center point 4 times instead of 3 resulting in a 10 point deduction, but at least it was our only deduction.  We still managed placing 2nd with 90 points and hope to finish up his RN title within a few weeks.  *More on Rally Obedience in a future blog post!

My dad with Clancy at the State Fair while I was checking out the bees.  Clancy seemed to be one of the most popular "walking exhibits" throughout the day.

Clancy, with my dad, at the State Fair while I was checking out the bee exhibit. Clancy seemed to be one of the most popular “walking exhibits” throughout the day.

Last weekend was “Volunteer Appreciation Day” at the Maryland State Fair.  Normally dogs are not permitted at the State Fair, but Clancy was welcomed because he is a volunteer as a therapy dog with Pets On Wheels.  Fortunately, the weather was just tolerable for him to join me with a high of 80 degrees F.  We actually didn’t make it to all the things we were hoping to see, but it was still a lot of fun.  Imagine you were walking at a highly attended public event with a celebrity, or in this case, with a beautiful creature that no one has seen before…  that’s what it was like for us while we were there.

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Pets On Wheels volunteer, Clancy, admiring an agricultural exhibit at the State Fair on Volunteer Appreciation Day.

We never made it more than 20 or so feet without being stopped by what would start out as a couple of people, but then quickly multiplied into a dozen amazed and curious people.  Now only if the Keeshond Club of America paid me a dime for every time I answered “What kind of dog IS THAT?”  I would have been able to take off work this week!  I do love it when people know what kind of dog Clancy is, even if they pronounce it wrong (see my “What is a Keeshond” page).  Several families tracked us down (they said they saw us through the crowd and just had to catch up to us) that used to have a Keeshond in their lives.  It was heartwarming to hear their stories.

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Clancy and I with the honorable UKC Judge Rolando Mata whom awarded Clancy Best in Show Altered in Show 2 on September 1, 2013.  Clancy won 2 BIS and 1 RBIS out of the 4 altered shows this weekend!

Clancy and I with the honorable UKC Judge Rolando Mata whom awarded Clancy Best in Show Altered in Show 2 on September 1, 2013. Clancy won 2 BIS and 1 RBIS out of the 4 altered shows this weekend!

To close up the month of August and to begin September, Clancy is competing in United Kennel Club dog shows this weekend again.  Today we took Best In Show (Altered) in the morning show and Reserve Best in Show (Altered) in the afternoon show!  We hope we can have similar accomplishments tomorrow.  Clancy is an “Altered Champion” with the UKC and now we’re working towards earning his Grand Championship title.  (Picture above is Clancy with his ribbons he earned today and his best feline friend.)   **UPDATE**  Clancy took Best In Show Altered in Sunday, 9/1, afternoon’s show!  😀

* More on how to exhibit your altered dog here:  Do You Have a Neutered or Spayed Pure-Bred Dog?  You Can Still Show Them!

 

ImageWith Clancy and I accomplishing all this in one month (plus our weekly dog training club activities), we hope to inspire you to go out and do an activity with your dog!  Don’t have one yet?  Perhaps my first physical print article (another August milestone for me that will be showing up in a local publication next week) can help you with that!  It is titled “Where to Find Your New Best Friend” (the picture above was taken of Clancy at 6 weeks old when it was decided that we were going to be best friends!)  I fine-tuned it below by generalizing some things to make it more useful for the general public.  Please keep in mind that I was limited on how many words I could have in my article…  if I had more space, I would have liked to have been more detailed!

“Where to Find Your New Best Friend” by Stacie B.

Did you know that the secret to living a longer and healthier life may be who you choose to be your best friend?  Where can you find a best friend that lowers your blood pressure just by being close to you, who will love you no matter what and never argue with you?

The answer may be right in your own town.  Your county shelter has a wide variety of furry, scaly or feathery friends to choose from!  Take a peek right now online at www.petharbor.com to see the large variety of animals near you that need homes right now.  There are so many kittens, cats, puppies and dogs (mixed and pure-breeds!) hoping for the opportunity to be your companion.  You could even find “Other” animal types such as gerbils, rabbits, birds, reptiles or even farm animals there too!

So, you have your heart set on a certain dog breed?  Have the animal shelter contact you if your ideal pet comes in!  To make sure you and your breed of choice will be happy together, visit www.akc.org/breeds to do your research ahead of time.  Too many dogs are given up because their owner wasn’t prepared for their breed specific traits!  If you are interested in a mixed-breed, be sure to research all the breeds that are part of that mix.  You will also find the contact information in that link for the “AKC parent club” of each breed to help you find your breed’s rescue or to help you find a responsible and legitimate breeder (see “Breeder Referral” in the above link).  Please be sure to do your research on the breeder, ask them lots of questions and talk to their references.  Be prepared to walk away if something doesn’t seem right.

Where do you NOT want to buy a puppy?  At a pet store or through the Internet without visiting the source!  You would likely be supporting the inhumane puppy mill industry and odds are you’ll end up being heartbroken with a pup that has health, socialization and/or behavior problems.  An Internet search for “puppy mills” will yield much information on this inhumane trade.

So what are you waiting for?  Your Best Friend is out there waiting for you!

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Make Your Dog an Ambassador for all of Dog-Kind!

29 May Clancy proudly sits next to his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and course graduation certificate.  Every dog and owner should aspire to achieve this to be a confident ambassador of dog-kind!  Training to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (any dog, mixed or pure-bred can achieve this) takes a lot of practice and patience.  If at first you don't succeed, try...  try again!

Clancy enjoying an outing at a family gathering and hanging out with a friend's dog. A well-behaved dog is often welcomed into friends and family's homes.

Clancy enjoying an outing at a family gathering and hanging out with a friend’s dog. A well behaved dog is often welcomed into friends and family’s homes.

Dogs are man’s best friend. So are you being your dog’s best friend? Best friends do everything together. Do you and your furry bff go to parks together, go to stores together, go to friends houses together, do activities together such as going for a swim, participating in dog sports such as agility, tracking, obedience or the like? While you have work, family, TV, and other entertainment to occupy your time, you have to remember that all that your dog has… is you! So, you don’t think your dog is capable of joining you in activities outside of your home? It’s true that in order to go out and about with your dog, your dog must know how to behave in public (and wouldn’t it be nice if they knew how to behave at home, too?) With some time and patience, any dog can learn to behave.

Clancy (about 5 months here) enjoys going to watch hockey games! Since he's well-behaved, I can get away with bringing him to places that most dogs would not be welcomed at.

Clancy (about 5 months here) enjoys going to watch hockey games! Since he’s well-behaved, I can get away with bringing him to places that most dogs would not be welcomed at.

Dogs are always learning… it’s up to you if they learn good habits or bad habits by your level of enforcement. Dogs learn mainly by repetition. They pick up on routines rather quickly (you know they know when it’s dinner time!) By introducing and enforcing some basic rules, your dog can become an ambassador for dog-kind. If every dog was well cared for, sat politely to be petted and posed no threat of danger to people, there would be a lot less fear of dogs and less red-tape in public places. So how do you get your dog to that point?

Clancy earning his Basic Obedience graduation certificate at just 4 months old. Especially for puppies, you have to use positive training techniques and make learning fun! While it's best to start training your dog while they're young, every dog benefits from training, no matter the age!

Clancy earning his Basic Obedience graduation certificate at just 4 months old. Especially for puppies, you have to use positive training techniques and make learning fun! While it’s best to start training your dog while they’re young, every dog benefits from training, no matter the age!

There are so many options when it comes to training your dog these days. There are a variety of dog training classes out there you could sign up for, or have a dog trainer come to your house for private lessons, or there’s a large variety of dog training books and free advice on the Internet. In order to pick the appropriate type of training for you and your pup, you should be aware of the learning traits of your specific breed of dog (it’s as easy as doing an Internet search!) The most important aspect of teaching your dog, is consistency! For example, if you tell a dog to stay and it moves before you release it, you must place your dog back in the original position and tell them to stay again. No matter how many times it takes! You will need to start off with very short sessions (always give them a chance to succeed at a smaller goal before trying a bigger goal) and work your way up to longer sessions over time. If you ask your dog to come and it doesn’t, then you have to go get your dog and make it come. If you are not 100% consistent, then your dog will not be either. This goes for all that interact with your dog.

Clancy and I in our first Rally Obedience trial. You must start with basic training as a foundation to start to train for other dog sports. Participating in dog sports creates a stronger bond with your furry best friend and is a lot of fun!

Clancy and I in our first Rally Obedience trial. You must start with basic training as a foundation to start to train for other dog sports. Participating in dog sports creates a stronger bond with your furry best friend and is a lot of fun!

Before signing up for a dog training class, ask if you could observe a class to see if it would be right for you. Some trainers are all about positive teaching (my personal favorite) where you quickly reward for the correct behavior with a quick word of praise or a click (see clicker training: http://www.clickertrain.com/whatis.html) along with a taste of an irresistible treat. Incorrect behaviors are corrected with a distinct sound such as “aaap!” and an immediate repeat of the exercise until they get it right to deserve their reward. Dogs like to be rewarded! They want to please you and will eventually learn to do what you want with this type of training. It may take longer for some breeds to get it. See on average how quickly your dog learns here (from Stanley Cohen’s “The Intelligence of Dogs”): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intelligence_of_Dogs

Other dog trainers rely on combinations of techniques that may include corrections with a quick jerk on a choke collar to regain the dog’s focus. The collar used in training or “working your dog” at a dog sport can make a big difference in the dog’s behavior. Some very stubborn out-of-control dogs may only initially respond to a prong collar or the even harsher electric shock collar (this should only be used as a last resort when other training methods have been unsuccessful, please consult a dog trainer before using.)

Clancy doing his "stick 'em up" trick, one of Clancy's many tricks under his Advanced Trick Dog Title. Keeshonden love to learn and perform tricks! All dogs love to learn new things and with even just 10 minutes of daily training sessions, it won't be long before your dog can show off what it knows!

Clancy doing his “stick ’em up” trick, one of Clancy’s many tricks under his Advanced Trick Dog Title. Keeshonden love to learn and perform tricks! All dogs love to learn new things and with even just 10 minutes of daily training sessions, it won’t be long before your dog can show off what it knows!

The keeshond is an emotional dog that does not respond well to harsh corrections, punishments or raised voices. They are smart dogs that enjoy being trained (as long as you keep it fun!) Clancy enjoys doing “Tricks for Treats” everyday and also understands when I get his leather buckle collar out to put on him, it’s time to “work”. I only place it on him when we are doing training or doing an obedience trial. (Other times when we are out and about for fun, he wears his harness.) When I place his show lead on him, he knows that it means it’s time to be a “show dog” and his behavior changes appropriately.

Though Clancy and I will likely never be classified as "athletes", we do enjoy having fun participating in all kinds of dog sports! Here Clancy and I are doing lure coursing. As long as you and your dog have a good bond and basic training, you two can learn to participate in all kinds of dog sports and activities together!

Though Clancy and I will likely never be classified as “athletes”, we do enjoy having fun participating in all kinds of dog sports! Here Clancy and I are doing lure coursing. As long as you and your dog have a good bond and basic training, you two can learn to participate in all kinds of dog sports and activities together!

After some basic manners training, you will be able to bring your dog out and about and start exploring the large variety of dog sports available in your area (you and your dog do not need to be an athlete, it’s just an opportunity to have fun with your dog!) The American Kennel Club offers a “Canine Good Citizen” test that every dog owner should strive to complete with their dog. Here are the test items: http://classic.akc.org/events/cgc/training_testing.cfm Many dog trainers offer prep classes and then give you the opportunity to take the test at during the last training class. If your dog can complete all ten items on the test, they are indeed an ambassador of dog-kind and you should be proud to bring your dog out in public! If every dog was a “Canine Good Citizen”, then there would be less fear of dogs and we would have more opportunities to have man’s best friend with us everywhere we go, making us a better friend to our canine companion.
Clancy proudly sits next to his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and course graduation certificate. Every dog and owner should aspire to achieve this to be a confident ambassador of dog-kind! Training to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (any dog, mixed or pure-bred can achieve this) takes a lot of practice and patience. If at first you don't succeed, try... try again!

Clancy proudly sits next to his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and course graduation certificate. Every dog and owner should aspire to achieve this to be a confident ambassador of dog-kind! Training to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (any dog, mixed or pure-bred can achieve this) takes a lot of practice and patience. If at first you don’t succeed, try… try again!

Do you have a Neutered or Spayed Pure-bred dog? You can still show them!

15 Jan Clancy1012Ribbons

While the point of Conformation events (Dog Shows) is to define the best breeding stock of pure-bred dogs, many responsible dog owners would like to compete in the show ring with their pet dog whom they had altered.

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The United Kennel Club offers “Altered Conformation Classes”. Here, my neutered 1 and a half year old keeshond, Clancy, proudly stands in front of his earned ribbons.

When I got my keeshond puppy, Clancy, I decided I wanted to try every dog sport I could with my dog.

Clancy as a 2 month old keeshond puppy

Clancy as a 2 month old keeshond puppy

When he reached about 6 months of age, it was about time to think about neutering my dog to make him a better pet and to ensure I didn’t accidentally contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. However, if I neutered my pup, I knew I would not be able to experience the AKC show ring. So, I decided to hastily enter him into an American Kennel Club (AKC) show that was just a couple of weeks away to see how we would like it. I learned a lot while I was there… including that I shouldn’t have been there in the first place because I had a “Limited Rights AKC Registration” which was part of my breeder’s contract to prevent people from breeding then registering their puppies. I did not know this rule until it was almost showtime, so to gain the experience, I went ahead and showed Clancy anyway since the judges wouldn’t know it until after the event. Clancy and I ended up winning a couple of ribbons, but I did get a letter from the AKC in the mail a few weeks later saying that my wins and prizes were forfeited due to his “Limited Registration.”

Stacking 6 month old Clancy at his first dog show (AKC)

Stacking 6 month old Clancy at his first dog show (AKC)

Though I had little interest in breeding Clancy, I did want to continue to show him. I enjoyed the excitement of being in the show ring and admiring all the other beautiful dogs. Most of all, I enjoyed talking to and learning from the other keeshond owners. So I contacted Clancy’s breeder to discuss obtaining a “Full Rights” AKC registration and was given the option to do so because she believed in us. Responsible dog breeders try their best to prevent people who buy their puppies from irresponsibly breeding them, so I appreciated the trust that my breeder had in me to give me that option. While I thought about the decision (full rights cost more money), I unfortunately discovered that Clancy had a health concern so I decided to get him neutered. There were many other things we could compete in besides Conformation… but here I had such a beautiful dog and I wanted the show ring experience. Then someone introduced me to the United Kennel Club (UKC).

Getting Clancy ready for the show ring to compete against other altered dogs

Getting Clancy ready for the show ring to compete against other altered dogs

In conformation events, the judge inspects each dog to compare it to what the breed standard is. The dog that most closely compares physically and characteristically to what it is supposed to be, wins. Only those dogs that best represent their breed and have had various health testing should be allowed to breed to produce future generations that uphold those standards. (Breeding should ONLY be done with health-tested dogs that closely adhere to the breed standards with the goal to improve the specific breed of dog.  It ends up costing more money than what’s made selling the puppies. It should only be done by knowledgeable breed enthusiasts.) So, that is essentially the reason to show dogs. However, there’s people like me that want to “do it for fun” or to practice for a future show dog career, so it’s wonderful that the United Kennel Club provides an avenue to do that.

Keeshond Speciality at an AKC Dog Show ...

Keeshond Speciality at an AKC Dog Show …

You can easily register any dog to the United Kennel Club (after meeting a few requirements) and participate in all of their events. While “All-American” dogs (aka mixed-breeds) do not have a breed standard to compete against, therefore they can not participate in Conformation, there are so many other sports they can participate in! If you have a pure-bred dog, you can cross-register them with the UKC and participate in Conformation. Clancy is registered with the AKC, CKC and now the UKC. We have participated in two UKC Altered Conformation events and won two Reserve Best in Show’s. (Had to throw in a quick brag!) 🙂 Depending on your area, there may not be very much competition amongst your breed… so spread the word for everyone to show their neutered or spayed dog for even more fun! For more information on UKC Altered Conformation events, go to: http://www.ukcdogs.com/Web.nsf/WebPages/DogEvents/Conformation

Clancy competing in the UKC Best in Show Altered.

Clancy competing in the UKC Best in Show Altered.


Best friends do everything together! Be your dog’s best friend!
~SSB

UPDATE (MAY 2013): Clancy and I recently did 4 UKC events in one day and did great! We got our first 2 legs of our Rally Obedience 1 title and got a Best in Show (Altered) and another Reserve Best in Show Altered! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Here he is in progress of winning Best in Show and then with most of his ribbons he earned in one day:

Clancy rocked the ring and won Best in Show (UKC - Altered)!  He also earned two legs towards his UKC Rally 1 title on the same day!

Clancy rocked the ring and won Best in Show (UKC – Altered)! He also earned two legs towards his UKC Rally 1 title on the same day!

Clancy and I did 4 UKC events on the same day!  Here's the results:  In the morning we earned 2nd place in Rally O1, and Best in Show (altered class)!  In the afternoon, we earned 1st place in Rally O1 and Reserve Best in Show (altered)!  A good day!

Clancy and I did 4 UKC events on the same day! Here’s the results: In the morning we earned 2nd place in Rally O1, and Best in Show (altered class)! In the afternoon, we earned 1st place in Rally O1 and Reserve Best in Show (altered)! A good day!

UPDATE (JUNE 2013): Clancy just received his ALTERED CHAMPION certificate in the mail! Woohoo! He now has ALT CH in front of his UKC registered name.

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