Tag Archives: Rally

HapKee New Year !!! and P.S.

31 Dec

As we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome in 2015, Clancy and I want to thank all of our followers and those that stop by because they are interested in enhancing their life with their own dog, or love Keeshonden or are a fan of Clancy’s.

Here's a toast to all that love their dog!  Happy New Year!

Here’s a toast to all that love their dog! Happy New Year!

2014 has been a busy busy year for us…  It’s been fun, educational, and productive despite some of the limitations a nagging neck injury from a car accident a few years ago still imposes upon me.

Clancy’s achievements we celebrated in 2014, beginning with the most recent accomplishments include:

  • First leg of his Rally Advance Excellent title – American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • United Kennel Club (UKC) Rally Obedience 3 (RO3) title
  • Breaking his own dock diving record for Keeshonden with a 13 foot 2 inches jump
  • Becoming the AKC (and North America Diving Dogs) first dock diving titled Keeshond -Dock Junior jumper (DJ) title
  • AKC Companion Dog (CD) obedience title
  • AKC Rally Excellent (RE) title
  • Trick Dog Champion (TDCH) title (Do More With Your Dog!)
  • 1st Place in Maryland DogFest Dog Talent Contest
  • Trick Shows at numerous nursing homes, schools, and community events
  • Featured in the Maryland Gazette for our trick videos to bring awareness to the neglected Keeshonden in Marjorie’s Kennel (New York Puppy Mill)  (FOR EVERY 5OOO SIGNATURES ON THE PETITION AT WWW.KEESRESCUE.COM we will create and post a unique and fun dog trick video on YouTube.)
  • Had a blast being with so many Keeshonden at the Keeshond Club of America National Specialty in Asheville, NC
  • Earning numerous First Place ribbons in the competitions we’ve been in
  • Creating THOUSANDS of smiles all year long with the dozens of Therapy Dog visits we do and just being out and about together

We look forward to what 2015 will bring and hope to keep motivating dog owners to bring out the best in their furry companions.  Dogs are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.  It’s up to you to encourage them and show them their potential!

Happy New Year everyone!!!

P.S.  I am so sorry about the delay in posting Clancy’s trick videos.  I have recently accepted a full-time promotion at my “day job” that does offer me the flexibility to grow FUNanimal Pet Services, however those combined with my continued devotion to doing things with Clancy, has not allowed me the time to complete the videos or contribute much to my blog as of late.  Clancy and I owe TWO awesome trick videos now as the petition to Free The Kees in New York has reached over 25,000 signatures!  With the holiday season coming to an end, I hope to get out the much anticipated “Clancy Steals Checkbook and Goes Shopping” video out on YouTube within the next week.  After that video gets out, Clancy will perform another unique fun trick routine!  (You will find a hint of what’s to come in the picture above. 😉 )  Keep spreading the word to tell the state of New York to enforce their own Puppy Mill laws to close down Marjorie’s Kennel in Harpursville, New York where 60+ neglected Keeshonden and a few other Spitz breeds are trying to survive the brutal New York winter outside…  learn more and sign the petition at www.KeesRescue.com.

Merry KeesMas!

Merry KeesMas!

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

5 Apr

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.


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.)


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


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!


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!

Achievements of the last month with a New Blog Post Coming Soon!

17 Oct

With all the dog events that Clancy and I have been involved in lately, I have a long list of ideas for future blog posts!

Within the last 30 days, Clancy completed his AKC Rally Novice title in style by winning 1st place with 94 points and in his following trial the next day, scored even higher with 98 points and took 1st place again.  (I had entered him into two Rally Novice A trials over the weekend though we only needed one more leg for our RN title just in case something went wrong on the Saturday.)

Then on this past Sunday, Clancy and I were in our first AKC Obedience trial.  Not being able to encourage Clancy through the course in the ring was a challenge (which you are able to do in Rally Obedience).  He didn’t happily oblige to heeling in the Obedience ring as he does in Rally and Clancy also decided to be a funny guy on the recall by almost running by me to say hi to the people and dogs behind me.  (Fortunately, he corrected himself and promptly returned in front of me in a partly sideways sit, as if he started to get back in heel position and then suddenly remembered he was supposed to be in front of me.)   We still did better than the other dogs in Novice A and earned 1st place with 181 points and more importantly, obtained our first leg of our Companion Dog title.  🙂

Though Clancy's keeshond sense of humor did come out during our first Obedience Novice trial, we still got our 1st leg of our CD and 1st place!

Though Clancy’s keeshond sense of humor did come out during our first Obedience Novice trial, we still got our 1st leg of our CD and 1st place!

Over the past month, Clancy also achieved brightening up the day of dozens and dozens of elderly residents in nursing homes through our Pets On Wheels visits.  He received rounds of applause from his trick shows he performed for them and lots of love and compliments.  Most importantly, Clancy did get some patients suffering from dementia to break temporarily from their spell to pet Clancy.

This weekend Clancy and I are entered in another UKC Altered Conformation show and we are entered in three Rally Obedience level 2 trials.  I’m hoping to accomplish his UKC R02 title all in one weekend.  Graduating to all off-leash with the off-set figure 8 challenge (where we have to do a figure 8 circling bowls of treats and/or toys) is going to be a huge challenge for Clancy!

Next week things finally slow down, so I hope to write a detailed blog post on how fun and challenging Rally Obedience is!  Til then, please share what you’ve been up with your furry best friend!?

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

15 Jan

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.


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!

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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