Friday, April 17, 2015

O -- Other Dog Sports

Around the dog show circuit you'll hear the adage "A well-balanced dog has titles at both ends." This goes along with another precept: "Form follows function." OK, so what does that mean? It implies that a good dog is more than just a beauty (conformation champion); the dog is also smart, agile and/or able to perform the tasks it was originally bred to do. This means that overzealous conscientious fanciers compete in performance sports as well.

In the AKC, only champion titles appear before a dog's name. These are referred to as prefix titles. For conformation that would be CH (Champion) or GCH (for Grand Champion). Prefix titles represent a lot of hard work and dedication. All other titles are listed after a dog's name. These are called suffix titles. Many of these titles are stepping stones towards a championship title. (Unlike other dog sports, conformation does not have suffix titles. You're either a champion, or you're not.)

If you want to put a performance title on your dog, there are many to choose from. Here are four of the most popular:

OBEDIENCE:
  • Beginner Novice (BN) -- Beginner title awarded to dog who qualifies two times in beginner novice obedience trial competition. The dog is on leash for all exercises except the recall.
  • Companion Dog (CD) -- Here the must be able to heel (both with and without a leash), come when called, standing for a simple physical examination, and stay in both a sit and a down position with a group of dogs.
  • Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) -- Here more exercises are done off leash and retrieving and jumping challenges are added. All exercises are done off leash.
  • Utility Dog (UD) -- These exercises include scent discrimination, directed retrieves, jumping and silent signal exercises. Exercises become more complicated and a series of points are required for dogs to earn Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) and Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH) titles.

RALLY:
  • Rally Novice (RN) -- Here the dog/handler team perform on-leash exercises that demonstrate the dog's understanding of basic commands such as sit, stay, down, come and heel position
  • Rally Advanced (RA) -- Here a set of exercises are performed off-leash and at least one jump is included.
  • Rally Excellent (RE) -- This is a more difficult off-leash course that includes at least one jump and demonstrates more precise skill and coordination between the dog and handler. As above, a number of points are required to earn the Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title.

AGILITY:
  • Novice Agility (NA) -- This is the beginning level. Dogs must qualify (complete the run without exceeding specified time or number of faults) three times to earn this title.
  • Open Agility (OA) -- This is a harder, intermediate level AKC agility test. Dogs must qualify three times to earn this title.
  • Agility Excellent (AX) -- This is an advanced level AKC agility test. Dogs must qualify three times to earn this title. Dog can then go on to earn a Master Agility Excellent (MX) title.
  • Novice Agility Jumpers (NAJ) -- The novice level AKC agility test involving jumps, tunnels and weave poles. Dogs must qualify three times to earn this title.
  • Open Agility Jumpers (OAJ) -- This is a harder, intermediate level AKC agility test. Dogs must qualify three times to earn this title.
  • Agility Excellent Jumpers (AXJ) -- This is an advanced level AKC agility test. Dogs must qualify three times to earn this title. Dog can then go on to earn a Master Agility Excellent Jumpers (MXJ) title.
  • Master Agility Champion (MACH) -- This is a huge accomplishment. To receive MACH must achieve a number of championship points and double qualifying scores.

HERDING:
  • Herding Tested (HT) -- The judge is looking for the dogs ability to move and control livestock.
  • Pre-Trial Tested (PT) -- The dog must move livestock (usually sheep or ducks) through several gates in a small arena, and is able to make the livestock change direction.
  • Herding Started (HS) -- Beginning level.
  • Herding Intermediate (HI) -- Intermediate level.
  • Herding Excellent (HE) -- Advanced level.
  • Herding Champion (HC) -- After an advanced title has been completed, a dog may earn a championship by obtaining points through placing at the advance level.
Jedi and I tried herding. It was awesome!
As I mentioned, there are all kinds of dog sport titles out there, AKC and otherwise. For a list of fun things you can do with you dog -- along with links to more information and national associations -- check out my post Want To Try Something New? from last January. -- K

Tomorrow's Topic: Pedigrees and Registrations