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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Traveling With Your Pets

While on my blogging hiatus, Hubby, the kids and I had to take a sudden trip up north to visit his parents. Here's some dog math for you:

Last Minute Trip + Over-the-Holidays = No Boarding Available

It was stressful, but we took the dogs with us. They did surprisingly well. I packed their food in serving-sized bags, individually labelled (each dog is on a different formula). I had leashes, bowls, medication, poop bags, a doggie first aid kit and shot records in a specially designated dog bag. I also had a "barf kit" because Jedi still gets car sick. We had to stop every 90 minutes so the dogs could pee and stretch their legs. It was a L-O-N-G drive.

I would have saved myself a lot of stress if I had seen this great infographic from Orvis beforehand.

However, I'm sharing it now -- after the holidays -- because this is the busy travel season for dog nuts like me. In the next month we have Barn Hunt trials in Ocala and Nosework Trials in Deland. We also have multiple day trips including Beach Day, Pack Walk, Easter Egg Hunt and Doggie Dining. Travelling is easier when I have a check list. Would you add anything to the list? -- K

Top 10 Tips for Travel by Car with Your Dog Infographic

Top 10 Tips for Travel by Car with Your Dog Infographic by Orvis.

Monday, March 6, 2017

We're Sniffing Again

The hide was in the planter. Jedi's waiting for the
chicken I have tucked in my cheek.
Back in September I told you that my nosework trainer was closing up shop. She held classes for another few weeks and then moved to Ocala (2 hours away) right after our trials in October. I was sad. Apparently I'm not the only one who misses her. A student from another class is working with Trainer trying to get a Thursday night nosework class together. WOOHOO!

Trainer comes to Jacksonville regularly (she has family here) and has held a few workshops since she moved away. Jedi and I have taken advantage of every one we could. The latest workshop was held at a furniture store before it opened. What a great set up. There were lots of places to hide the target odors. The dogs -- and handlers -- really had to work hard that day. Lucky for you, someone took pictures. (If I had known this was a photo op, I would have worn a more attractive shirt!)

Jedi did really well. Good thing too, because I just sent in entry fees for the April 1-2 UKC nosework trials in Ocala. I guess we'd better get sniffing or else I just wasted my money! -- K

The hide was under the cabinet. I was waiting for Jedi to zero in the source
of the odor for me (he'll lay down for a low hide and sit for a high one).

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hip Check

Yesterday was a big day for Jedi. He had his hips and elbows checked for dysplasia. Jedi's gonads future depends on what the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) has to say.

Jedi's grown to be a good looking dog. He's proportional (albeit at the large end of the breed standard) with a beautiful coat and good temperament. He has nice movement, though I wish he moved like his brother Chili. I also wish I was a better handler and could have put an AKC conformation title on him. However, he's smart and we're doing well with nosework and barn hunt, and rally is coming along nicely. He passed his CGC and GSDCA temperament test as well as the herding instinct test. Because of all this his breeder, RK, is considering adding him to her breeding stock. Of course, this depends on his hips. RK is an ethical breeder, and does a variety of tests before breeding any dog. I went into detail about this during the A to Z of Dog Shows series (see X -- X-Rays and Genetic Tests to learn more).

So here's the deal: If hips/elbows receive a good score, RK will do a couple more tests and then see about finding him a girlfriend. If his results are poor I'll have him neutered. He can continue with barn hunt, nosework, rally and who knows what else sans testicles. I am not a fan of early sterilization. (See here and here for reasons why.) But at 4 1/2 years old, Jedi is fully mature and I think it's safe. And I also don't think it's fair to Jedi to deal with all the hormone driven urges if we're not going to breed him. Poor boy.

We should have the results in 3-4 weeks. I'll let you know. -- K

Thursday, March 2, 2017

You Know What They Say About Karma

A few months back I wrote a ticket on the beach to a guy who was a total asshole. He had nothing but vile things to say, and was completely uncooperative. I ended up having the cops come out and he was nearly arrested. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you would think. I had completely forgotten about it until the other day. A man who had witnessed the event was asking questions about it, including "How do you deal with that?" Truth is, I believe in karma. And karma hasn't failed me yet. Here are just a few of many examples: (BTW, I work for the police department, so I have the luxuries of police dispatchers and officer support. Many ACOs don't.)

Last month I stopped a guy on the beach. His dog was running amok while off leash. I told him I was giving him a written warning and asked for his information. He didn't have a driver's license on him, so I ran him through dispatch. He said his name was David Fletcher and gave me his birthday. It came back empty. I asked him to verify the info in case I misheard. Still nothing. We tried running his social security number and that didn't work either. I called for an officer to assist (standard procedure). Before the officer arrived he said "OK, try Scott Johnson" and gave me a different DOB and SSN too. That information came back with a driver's license. When I handed Mr. Johnson the citation he said "Hey, you said you were giving me a warning!" I smiled and answered "And you said you were David Fletcher." I guess we both lied!

Years ago I had a woman run from me on the beach. She ran over the dunes in a place that I couldn't take my truck, and then ran the wrong way on a one-way street. I called it in over the radio and asked if an officer was nearby. She had a funny looking dog and a loud shirt, so she was easily spotted. The officer got her information and I wrote her a $30 civil citation for having her dog off leash on the beach. Then the officer wrote her a criminal notice to appear running from me (official lingo: hindering or interfering with the duties of a code enforcement officer.) When we appeared in court the judge laughed, fined her $100 and ordered her to send a letter of apology the department. She sent the apology, but we all knew she didn't mean it.

Back in 2007 I wrote a couple tickets to a guy. He ran from me and hid in the dunes. I found him hiding behind a kayak, his dogs wandering the beach unaccompanied. He was kind of weird and he had an odd, multi-ethnic name -- Carlos Lipschitz. He contested the tickets, but didn't show up to court. I was granted judgment by default and didn't think of Mr. Lipschitz again. Seven years later I got a call from the FBI. Apparently Mr. Lipschitz applied for a job with the agency, and during the vetting process the FBI saw that he had a judgment for $100 in animal control tickets. FBI Guy wanted to know if the tickets had been paid. I told him "No, but I wrote them. I remember the guy." FBI Guy was more than happy to hear the story. We chatted and I asked what happened next for Mr. Lipschitz. FBI Guy said "Well, I bet your tickets will get paid. But we're not going to hire him. He has a couple outstanding parking tickets too. The way I see it, if someone can't take care of the little things, we can't trust him with the big things." Several days later I got a call from Mr. Lipschitz, saying that he "remembered having outstanding citations" and wanted to know how to pay them. Poor schmuck didn't know yet.

One of the drawbacks to a small town is that everybody knows the mayor. And no matter how polite you are, some people get offended when you tell them they're breaking the rules. It's not unusual for people to call and complain. (This is why we have audio and video in our trucks.) My sergeant always backs me up but he hates being blindsided, so I try to give him a heads up whenever possible. This is the text I sent him yesterday:
FYI: I just wrote a ticket to James Grad on the beach. He was pretty agitated. But I watched his dog walk from the ocean to the dunes off leash at low tide. Also, I gave him a written warning back in December, so he knows better. It's a solid ticket. However, he's really going to be mad when he gets home and discovers that I wrote his wife, Nancy Grad, a no-leash ticket on the beach this morning. He will probably call. Sorry. OK, not sorry.
And that my friends is the small town drama that I deal with on a regular basis. Like always, the stories are true but I changed names and other identifying information to protect the innocent my ass! It's an odd job, but I'd like to keep it. -- K

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2nd Annual Dog Walk

I KNOW it's Wordless Wednesday, so I'll try to make this brief. Last year my German shepherd dog club got together with a local German shepherd rescue group to walk our dogs through historic St. Augustine. The weather was perfect. We saw old friends and made many new ones. It went so well that we decided to do it again this year. And I think we outdid ourselves! Imagine 50+ German shepherds (and the occasional Shih Tzu) walking down the street. Yep, we stopped traffic and turned heads. Take a look!

Breathtaking, hunh? But don't stop here. It's Wordless Wednesday! Click around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K