Monday, September 10, 2018

Alternative Dog Show Terms

Well-known owner/breeder/handler/judge Jimmy Moses with
a GSD at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show
I've shared dog show terminology and anatomy with you in the past. The other day I found a list of alternative terms online and I've been giggling ever since. I wish I knew the original author so I could give her proper credit. Anyway, here are some of my favorites:

Angulation -- The degree to which dog handlers will bend over backwards to impress a judge.

Balance -- 1) How to arrange the checkbook so your husband won't know how much money you spent on dog shows. 2) Ability to hold coffee, a donut, leash, treats, and entry form all at once.

Bitch -- 1) The proper name for a female dog. 2) A name often heard at dog shows, not always describing a female dog.

Crabbing -- What you do when the judge doesn't like your dog.

Dam -- 1) A female dog with puppies. 2) An expression frequently overheard at dog shows as losers leave the ring.

Distemper -- Shown by those competitors who just lost to somebody they can't stand.

Dog -- To chase a judge from show to show an effort to obtain more breed wins.

Elbow -- A method of getting to ringside quickly when late.

Expression -- The sweet look adopted by hungry dogs while staring ravenously at chunks of liver.

Fancier -- The degree to which some handlers dress more than others.

Heel -- 1) What you feel like when your dog beats the one you just sold to an eager novice. 2) An expression often screamed to attract the attention of suddenly deaf dogs.

Hock -- A way of financing your dog shows by the use of jewelry such as wedding rings.

Litter -- Trash left all over the building and parking lot after a dog show.

Mask -- What you wear when you have to show your gorgeous pick-of-the-litter that fell apart a week before the show.

Muzzle -- What to put on your kids at a dog show to prevent them from calling your competition what they overheard you call them last night.

Overshot -- Running so fast that you pass the first place ring marker and plow into the judge and stewards.

My mantra for the next 2 weeks
Points -- Minute, invisible awards for winning which you cannot convince your spouse are more important than cash prizes.

Puppies -- Small, dog-like food processing machines with the ability to stink up an entire house and collectively deafen a band of magpies. (These creatures have not yet been perfected, as they come with leaky systems, and can also be dangerous to weak hearts and bank accounts.)

The confirmation letter for Trooper's first shows came in the mail last week. As the 22nd approaches I'm getting more and more nervous. (Yes, I know it's counter-productive, but I can't seem to help myself.) This silly list helped me lighten up for a bit. I hope it made you giggle too. See you around the ring, -- K

Friday, September 7, 2018

A Healing Justice

When your contact information is tied to a dog club on the internet, you get some strange calls and emails. I've discussed them before. Sometimes, though, you get lucky. Author Kristin von Kreisler reached out to the club about her latest novel, A Healing Justice. The story is about a German shepherd. She offered a free copy to our Club President in return for an honest review. (Sweet!) When Madame Pres was finished, she passed the book onto me because:
  1. I love to read. (My favorite books are about dogs, dragons and/or dead people.)
  2. I love to blog. And isn't an honest review/free publicity what the author wanted?
The story is about Andrea Brady, a small town police officer in Washington state. One horrible night she is attacked by a teenage neighbor and her police K9 (Justice) is stabbed. She shoots, the boy dies and Andrea's life is turned upside down. The story's point of view flip-flops between Andrea and Tom Wolski, the officer investigating the shooting.

I plowed through this book in less than two days. For the most part, I found it very enjoyable. Working for a small town police department myself, I literally laughed out loud at the calls for service. Yes, neighbors mooning each other is a totally believable complaint. (Here we actually had someone call 911 over the theft of a sandwich. No kidding!)

However, I didn't believe the origin story of Justice. In my decades of association with police departments and dog handlers (both military and civilian), I've never known a random stray dog to become a working K9. Also, K9s belong to the agency, not the officer, so some of the storyline wasn't credible for me. Lastly -- and this is probably just me -- I would have enjoyed the story more without the romance at the end. (I'm a Criminal Minds kind of girl; this felt more Hallmark Channel movie to me.)

All in all, the story was well written. The imagery was vivid and the plot was engaging. It was obvious that the author is familiar with the nuances of German shepherds -- the "look," the ear twitch, the whining and the noble in public/doofus at home personality we all love.

The book will be available September 25 if you're interested. Happy reading! -- K

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Conformation Classes

Trooper and I go to conformation handling classes twice a week -- Tuesday nights and Thursday mornings. It's a 45 minute drive each way. I'd like to think we're making progress. Hubby went with me last week and took a few pictures. The lighting was bad and the camera phone is old, so please excuse the picture quality.

I'm still trying to get Trooper to walk into a stack. He'll stack himself beautifully when I'm not asking for it (like in the middle of the living room when I'm trying to watch TV). The picture below shows his profile. Trooper's puppy face is maturing nicely. I think he's looking like a boy dog. The breed standard for German shepherds states that ideally "sex characteristics are strongly marked, and every animal gives a definite impression of masculinity or femininity, according to its sex."


Trooper shows his bite very nicely. However, he still shies away from the physical exam from time to time (the main reason I would pull him from the DeLand shows). I have as many people as possible touch him at class, hoping to desensitize him. He is also given LOTS of yummy treats during class. Trooper is a junk food junkie. We're hoping he will associate strangers touching him with goodies.


Trooper has a beautiful gait. Me, not so much. This training facility has a small ring so getting him to open up is difficult. Next week a handling class will start at K-9 Obedience Club (my other dog club) on Wednesday nights. It'll be held in a larger, outdoor ring and we'll be able to work on gaiting. I need to be able to move at the speed where his reach and drive are shown.


Trooper likes to hang his tongue out the side of his mouth. It makes him look like a doofus, but it matches his personality. This is the goofball puppy I know and love! BTW, do you see the size of his feet?! I was hoping Trooper would be smaller than Jedi, but I'm starting to have doubts.


Again, sorry about the picture quality. I've been getting questions about how training is going. The is the best I can give you right now. We're still a work in progress. Trust me, showing dogs is not as easy as it looks on TV!

Thanks for the continued support, helpful tips and words of encouragement. Love you all! -- K

Monday, September 3, 2018

Decisions, Decisions

A few days ago I told you about the tough choices we had to make for the September shows. After much deliberation, Hubby and I decided to put Trooper in the regular shows Saturday and Sunday. If I feel he's not ready or looks overwhelmed then I'll pull him. (BTW, people pull puppies at the last minute all the time.) I want Trooper's first shows to be positive. If nothing else, he'll just walk around the fairgrounds and experience the atmosphere. Dog shows are loud, crowded and busy; it can be a lot for a dog to take in.

We're forgoing the match. The reduced price of the match would be negated by the cost of a hotel room. Also, it's an all-breed match. We have no idea if any other GSDs would be there. I'm afraid it'll feel more like handling class than a show. (However, I can change my mind on this later if I really want to. We can register for the match the day of.)

So there you have it: Barring any last minute changes, Trooper's first shows will be in DeLand next month. I sent in the entry forms and checks Friday morning before I lost my nerve.

October has it's own set of difficult decisions, mainly because everything I want to so it's on the same weekend: the 27th and 28th.
  • The German Shepherd Dog Club's annual beach day was rained out last April. It's a favorite outing amongst members, and was rescheduled for October 27th.
  • Our favorite barn hunt location has reopened under a new name. Their first trials in over a year are being held that weekend. Jedi only needs two legs for his Open title (RATO). In theory, he can do that in a day. But real life says you never know when he'll be "off."
  • Also on 27th is a fun match for German shepherds only. It's being held by the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America, but is open to "non-white" German shepherds. I'm considering going. It's being judged by a professional handler whom I've known around the ring for six years now. In fact, he's handled some of J-Lyn's dogs and has given me ringside tips with Jedi.

See, lots of options. Do we do Beach Day with the Club? It'll be a great chance for Trooper to socialize with other GSDs. OR do we skip Beach Day and do the match? It'll be good practice for Trooper and I'll get a honest opinion from someone I respect. OR should we skip them both and do two days of barn hunting instead of just Sunday? (BTW, I reread the BHA rulebook. Dogs can start trialing at 6 months. I can register Trooper with the Barn Hunt Association and try for his Instinct Title next month).

Fortunately, I've got some time to think this over. I want to see what happens in Deland before I make any final decisions. Besides, I'm not completely gray yet, surely I can squeeze in some more stress between now and then. I'll keep you posted. -- K

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Isle of Dogs

I posted a review for Alpha and my mom asked if I'd seen Isle of Dogs.

I was a little confused because Isle of Dogs is a high-end dog grooming product line. Of course I've seen it. I even told a funny story about buying it at the Eukanuba Dog Show. But how did Mom know? She never goes to the dog shows . . .

But wait! There's a movie by the same title. And it's available at Redbox! I rented it and my official opinion is:
Just. Too. Weird.
  • First off, it's stop-motion animation. This was difficult for me to watch. The jerky movements gave me Davey and Goliath flashbacks.
  • The movie is written, directed and produced by Wes Anderson -- and he is not my cup of tea. (I tried to watch two Wes Anderson movies in the past: Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums. I ended up changing the channel within the first 30 minutes of each.)
  • This is most definitely a Japanese film. The cadence of the storyline is different, but I've seen enough Manga films (thanks to Son #1) that I was able to follow along. Still, it's weird.
The movie is dubbed (thankfully!) with the dogs speaking English and most of the humans speaking Japanese. It sounds strange. It IS strange, but it works. The dogs are voiced by some very famous actors. For fun, try to guess who is who before looking it up on Internet Movie Database.

The story is OK and the ending is predictable. However, you'll need to pay attention -- it's easy to get lost. I had to stop and rewind several times. Hubby got frustrated and just fell asleep.

My honest opinion: If you expect nothing and have a glass (or two) of wine beforehand, this movie could be worth the $1.75 on Redbox. If you're a Wes Anderson fan, you will probably really enjoy it. -- K

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Show Season Now Open

Dog sport and show opportunities increase dramatically after Labor Day here in Florida. You can do something (or multiple somethings) every weekend between now and June.

I'm limited by time and money (aren't we all?) and try to choose entries carefully. It's even harder now that I have two dogs, each training and competing in different events. Here are my latest conundrum:

The West Volusia Kennel Club shows are September 22 and 23. These are in Deland, about 90 minutes from home. We can drive back and forth daily, forgoing the cost of a hotel.

Fast CAT is being offered Friday through Sunday, twice daily. I'm entering Jedi Saturday and Sunday at $25/run ($100 total).Hopefully this will be enough for him to earn his BCAT title.

I'm waffling on whether or not to enter Trooper in the 6-9 Puppy conformation shows Saturday and Sunday. They're also $25 a show ($50 total). Trooper and I take handling classes twice a week (at $10/class). Trooper improves each time, but I'm not sure he'll be ready by the show. However, I have to decide NOW. Entries close on September 5. With Monday being a holiday, I have to get the entry in the mail by Saturday.

Here's the dilemma:
  • I can enter with option of pulling him (and losing the $50) if he's not ready. OR
  • I can keep the cash, continue to train, and plan for the shows in Ocala (which will require a hotel stay) in November.
  • Monkey Wrench: There's a sanctioned match (a more relaxed practice show) the night before the WVKC shows. The match is cheaper and we can register the day of (though it's cheaper to pre-register). However, the match starts at 7 PM. This would require us to stay in a hotel after all so that we can make Jedi's event Saturday morning.
See the kind of crap that goes through my head? I can drive myself (and my husband) crazy with this stuff. Any suggestions?

BTW, October is also fraught with difficult decisions, but I'll save that drama for another time. Too much of my neuroses can be detrimental to normal-brained people. Later, -- K

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Puppy vs. Fitbit

The picture doesn't show the extent of the damage. The
band is irreparable. Luckily, the tracker is just scratched.
First rule of having a puppy: Don't take your eyes off the puppy. I broke that rule and my Fitbit paid the price.

Puppies have no self control and are apt to make bad decisions. You can have three dozen puppy-approved toys on the floor (like I do) but the moment you turn your back the puppy will grab something else -- usually something expensive, like my cellphone. (Right Jedi?)

This time I took off my Fitbit before showering. I forgot to put it back on right away and Trooper found it. The rubber wristband was no match for his shiny new teeth.

The second rule of having a puppy: Buy the protection plan. I broke that rule too.

Fortunately, I had another Fitbit (long story that makes me look stupid) so I can still keep track of my steps. Good thing too, because on conformation training nights I hit my daily step goal. If I keep this up I'll finally lose those 20 pounds. (This is what I keep telling myself when icing my knee the next day. I'm 50 and trying to run around the ring with a German shepherd puppy. WTH is wrong with me?!)

My knee hurts and it's time for ice, so I'm going to cut this short. See you around the ring! -- K