Friday, March 10, 2017

Two New AKC Title Opportunities

The AKC has released some interesting news lately. Two new dogs sports have been added to the AKC. Both of them are things that I'm very, very interested in.

Scent Work:

The AKC has finally gotten into the nose work. The AKC program (they call it scent work) differs slightly from both UKC and NACSW. The differences may confuse handlers competing with other organizations, but they are similar enough that dogs should have no problem. (Seriously, Jedi's part is: Find odor, tell Mom, wait for treat. I'm the one who has to worry about the rules.)

AKC divides Scent Work into two divisions -- Odor Search and Handler Discrimination.
  • The Odor Search division has dogs searching for specific essential oils, just like the other two organizations. Birch, anise and clove will be the target odors again. AKC is also adding peppermint. Like the other two organizations, the dog will have to find target odors in containers, interior and exterior searches. No vehicle searches will be offered under AKC. However, dogs will have to find odor buried underground. I'm not sure how that's going to work. I'll let you know when I find out.
  • The second division will be Handler Discrimination, much like UKC. Dogs will be required to find an article with the scent of their Handler.
AKC scent work has four difficulty levels: Novice, Advanced, Excellent and Master. In comparison, UKC has five levels and NACSW has three.


Trick Dog:

This is the second title program. It was announced on Tuesday, and I can't tell you how thrilled I am. I've always been a fan of Kyra Sundance and her organization, Do More With Your Dog. Well, the AKC and Kyra Sundance have teamed up to offer Trick Dog titles. You can see the press release here.

The AKC will offer four Trick Dog title levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Performer. The tricks required for titles get progressively more difficult as you move along.

For the first three levels tricks must be performed in front of an official evaluator. It looks like an AKC CGC evaluator can sign off on the tricks. In fact, for the Novice level a CGC title counts for half of the 10 required tricks. Jedi has one of those! There is a list of 20 options for other five tricks. I looked it over and Jedi could earn the Novice title tomorrow if I could find someone sign off on it!

The Performer title is a lot more complicated. The dog has to do a total of 10 tricks from the Novice, Intermediate and Advanced title requirements, and the dog must have earned all three of those titles previously. No food lures can be used in performing the tricks. The tricks must be made into a routine, and the routine needs to be on a video that is submitted to the AKC for review. Fancy schmancy! I don't know if I'm talented enough to pull that together. -- No worries. We'll think about that later.

Right now I'm really excited at the thought of Jedi earning new titles this year. I'm going to keep my eyes open for scent work trials and look for a CGC evaluator who is as excited about the new trick titles as I am. Who wants to join me?

Before we go I need to tell you that there is one caveat. Like all AKC dog sports, a dog must have an AKC number to participate in Scent Work and Trick Dog competitions. Don't have one? No problem! If your dog is obviously a purebred, you can get a PAL (Purebred Alternative Listing) number. You take some pictures, fill out of form and send in a fee. A few weeks later you'll be good to go. Information here.

And what if your dog is not a purebred? Still not a problem! If your dog is a mixed breed, you can get a Canine Partner number. Just fill out a form and send in a fee. Information here.

See, there is no reason why you can't get out and compete with your dog. WARNING: It's so fun that it's addictive! My dilemma -- I don't know where I'm going to find the additional time and money to pursue these new things. I just need to win the lottery so I can be a full-time dog mom. That would solve everything! -- K