O B E D I E N C E 
submitted by Mara Wildfeuer, 

Mjwildfeuer@gmail.com

Obedience can mean many things. For most pet owners it means that the dog responds to the commands given by the owner in a reasonable amount of time. Most people are quite satisfied if the family pet sits, downs, comes when called and stays.

Competitive obedience takes these commands to a different level. The same commands are used but the exact position in which the dog executes the commands and the timing of the response is exacting and precise. AKC obedience has three basic levels of competition that grow increasingly more difficult. (Refer to the AKC website for description of titles)

Weimaraners are smart and stubborn, which makes obedience training both a must and a challenge. Anyone considering competing in obedience with their Weim should have the following three things: A sense of humor, infinite patience and endless cookies. Weims do not learn well with harsh or forceful methods of training or endless drilling of exercises.

Weims can be clowns or primo sulkers, they can have short attention spans and be easily distracted during training (especially by birds or activity). So trainers need to be extra creative to find what motivates their dog and to become more interesting than anything else. By starting training at an early age, keeping it fun and reinforcing the positive behaviors, Weims can become obedient housedogs or serious competitors.

Why train? An untrained Weim is obnoxious to live with, impossible to be around and a danger to himself and others. Training is a great opportunity to spend more time with your dog and strengthen the bond. The dog and handler become a team that communicates to each other and is truly a joy to watch.

My personal story – I never intended to become an obedience competitor when we bought our first Weim. However, she was such a wild puppy, we knew we had to go to puppy kindergarten to learn some manners. It was fun, but she still needed a job to channel her boundless energy in a positive fashion. So, we kept taking classes and working away. June Bug got her CD shortly before her 2nd birthday, then her CDX and finally the coveted UD in 2001 at the age of 8. Quite honestly, we took group or private obedience lessons since she was 5 months old, with a few vacation breaks. A lot of work? You bet. A lot of money? You bet. Worth it? YOU BET! I have never been so proud of both of us as when we completed the UD title.

 

OBEDIENCE RESOURCES:

Most available through http://www.dogwise.com

Building Blocks For Performance
Bobbie Anderson 
Publisher: Alpine Publishing
ISBN: 1577790375

Successful obedience trainer Bobbi Anderson gives her insight into starting a puppy off from day one. Emphasis on playing, working on behavioral strengths and weaknesses and relationship with the handler.

Successful Obedience Handling, 2nd Edition
Barbara Handler 
Publisher: Alpine Publishing
ISBN: 0931866510

Obedience judge and aptly named, Barbara Handler picks apart the elements of how to handle in obedience, where mistakes are commonly made and how to fix them.

Choose To Heel
Dawn Jecs 
Publisher: Self-published

Great program that teaches crisp, attentive heeling using non-physical methods. There is also a videotape to supplement the book.


The Power of Positive Dog Training
Pat Miller
ISBN: 0-7645-3609-5
J. Wiley publisher
Pub. August 2001

Pat Miller has excellent information for shaping puppy behavior from the moment a youngster comes home. Practical, fair and consistent advice.

Don't Shoot The Dog
Karen Pryor 
Publisher: Bantam Books
ISBN: 0553380397 

Karen Pryor is also the author of the highly recommended book Culture Clash. Great insight into how dogs learn, shaping behavior and more clicker information.

Clicker Training for Obedience: Shaping Top Performance--Positively
Morgan Spector 
Sunshine Books 
ISBN: 0962401781

Excellent book on how to clicker train and why it works so well. Everything from the basics to competition levels.

 

 

Getting Started in Tracking Events

AKC tracking events are the competition form of canine search and rescue. These Tracking events provide training for dogs and their handlers to meet some human needs for tracking and finding lost humans or other animals, as well as, demonstrating the extremely high level of scent capability that dogs possess. 

We've all seen movies with dogs following the trail of an escapee through swamps. The AKC's Tracking Tests allow dogs to demonstrate their natural ability to recognize and follow human scent. This vigorous outdoor activity is great for canine athletes. Unlike Agility and Obedience events that require a dog to qualify three times, a dog only needs to complete one track successfully to earn each title. 

Tracking Dog (TD)
A dog earns a TD by following a track 440 to 500 yards long with three to five changes of direction. The track is laid by a human tracklayer and is "aged" 30 minutes to two hours before the dog begins scenting. The goal is to use the scented track to locate an article left at the end of the trail by the tracklayer. The owner follows the dog on a long leash and can encourage the dog during the tracking test.

Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX)
The TDX is earned by following an "older" track (three to five hours) that is also longer (800 to 1,000 yard) and has five to seven directional changes with the additional challenge of human cross tracks. 

Variable Surface Tracking (VST)
In the real world, dogs track through urban settings, as well as through wilderness. A VST dog has demonstrated this ability by following a three- to five-hour-old track that may take him down a street, through a building and other areas devoid of vegetation. 

Champion Tracker (CT)
A dog that has successfully completed all three tracking titles (TD, TDX and VST) earns the prestigious title of Champion Tracker.

Owners who do tracking with their dogs find joy in seeing the dogs at work using their innate scenting skills. If you and your dog like the outdoors, try tracking!

A list of clubs approved to hold Tracking tests can be found in the club search section of our website.

  • Reprinted from the AKC website.  For additional information see: http://classic.akc.org/events/tracking/getting_started.cfm

 

 

 

The Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) (http://weimaranerclubofamerica.org)

WCA offfers Ratings Tests in two categories; Shooting Dog and Retrieving Dog. Each testing category has three levels of achievement similar to novice, intermediate, and advanced; Shooting Dog has Novice Shooting Dog (NSD), Shooting Dog (SD), and Shooting Dog Excellent (SDX). 

The Retrieving Dog levels are Novice Retrieving Dog (NRD), Retrieving Dog (RD), and Retrieving Dog Excellent (RDX). The NSD and NRD titles are intended to show the natural ability of a hunting dog and require very little training…well at least very little training compared to achieving one of the higher levels of testing. 

Shooting Dog Requirements: 

NSD classification is to determine whether young or inexperienced dogs have field and hunting aptitude. It requires your dog to hunt through a field find a planted game bird (probably a chuckar or quail) and achieve at least flash point verified by a judge, Desire to hunt, Boldness, Initiative and Search, and Reasonable Obedience to commands. You (the handler) must fire a blank-gun to show that the dog is not gun-shy. 

SD This rating is to establish that a dog of any age has definite hunting ability, Bird sense, and show some field training. The dog must demonstrate the ability to: Hold point until the handler flushes the bird, Honor its bracemate when it points. ( the dog may be held after establishing an honor ). A shotgun will be used for shoot to kill retrieves, the dog must make a DIRECT retrieve of the bird to within reach of the handler but not necessarily to hand. 

SDX is the top rating award offered under Field Ratings. Dogs that qualify MUST be fully broken, finished gun dogs. The dog must: find a bird and establish a staunch point, honor its bracemate on point, make a direct retrieve to hand 

Retrieving Dog Requirements:

NRD requires two retrieves of a single dead bird, one on land and one in water. ( a shot will be fired for each retrieve ) 

RD requires a double retrieve on land and a double retrieve in the water. The dog shall be steady on the line. The Handler MUST release his/her dog with a command and the dog MUST retrieve TO HAND. 

RDX requires that the dog give a finished performance, showing both class and style while competing. The dog must retrieve a double on land, a triple in the water through eight decoys and a single bird blind retrieve through eight decoys. The dog will be brought into a 12ft diameter circle off leash and under control. Handler MUST release his/her dog with a command and the dog MUST retrieve TO HAND.


AKC HUNT TESTS

The American Kennel Club (www.akc.org/dic/events/search/index.cfm) also sanctions Hunt Tests with participating dog clubs. The Hunt tests are similar to the Vimaraner Clubs Shooting Dog Ratings Tests. These tests are intended for gun dogs and hunters on foot. The dogs are required to hunt at a range and pace suitable for hunting and the tests are not competitive. Dogs are judged against a standard and passing requires scores above a minimum requirement and a total average score of at least 70% for passing a single “leg” of the Hunt Test. There are four “legs” required for a Junior Hunter (JH) title, five legs required for Senior Hunter (SH) and Master Hunter (MH) titles. 

Junior Hunting (JH) Test:
A Junior hunting dog must show a keen desire to hunt, be bold and independent, have a fast, yet attractive, manner of hunting, and demonstrate not only intelligence in seeking objectives, but also the ability to find game. A Junior Hunting dog must establish point, but no additional credit shall be given for steadiness to wing and shot. If the handler is within reasonable gun range of a bird which has been flushed after a point, a blank cartridge must be fired by the handler. Junior hunting dogs must hold point until the handler gets within normal gunshot range. Junior Hunting dogs must also show reasonable obedience to their handler's commands. 

Senior Hunting (SH) Test:
A Senior Hunting dog must show all of the attributes of a Junior Hunting dog. In addition, the dog must be steady to wing and must remain in position until the shot or they are released. A Senior Hunting dog must retrieve. Whenever it encounters its bracemate on point, it must honor. A dog that steals its bracemate's point cannot receive a Qualifying score. 

Master Hunting (MH) Test:
A Master hunting dog must give a finished performance and demonstrate clearly that it deserves to be qualified as such. This is the complete hunting companion that any hunter would be proud to own. It must be under its handler's control at all times, and handle kindly, with an absolute minimum of noise and hacking by the handler. 

A Master hunting dog must show a keen desire to hunt, must have a bold and attractive manner of running, and must demonstrate not only intelligence in seeking objectives, but also the ability to find game. The dog must hunt for its handler at all times at a range suitable for a handler on foot, and should show or check in front of its handler frequently. It must cover adequate ground but never range out-of-sight for a length of time that would detract from its usefulness as a practical hunting companion. The dog must locate game, must point staunchly, and must be steady to wing and shot on all birds and if it breaks, it cannot receive a Qualifying score. Intelligent use of the wind and terrain in locating game, accurate nose, and intensity on point are essential. Whenever it encounters its bracemate on point, it must honor. A dog that steals its bracemate's point cannot receive a Qualifying score. 

A Master hunting dog must positively demonstrate its steadiness to wing and shot. The handler shall not command or signal the dog to retrieve until positive steadiness has been demonstrated. The dog must retrieve promptly, tenderly and absolutely to hand.




 

AKC FIELD TRIALS

American Kennel Club (AKC) offers competition in field trials (https://classic.akc.org/events/field_trials/retrievers/index.cfm). Field trials have stakes starting in Puppy (dogs 6 months of age and under 15 months), Derby (dogs 6 months of age and under 2 years) , Gun Dog (amateur and open), All-Age (amateur and open), and Limited All-Age (amateur and open). Depending on the number of dogs competing, the winning dog, or top two or three dogs will earn points toward a championship. Most competitors compete on horse back in order to keep up with their fast running and wide ranging dogs. Competition consists of the dogs working through the back course and after a required amount of time, approx. 20 min. the dogs enter the bird field where live birds have been planted. Dogs in the higher levels of competition are required to find game, point staunchly, and be steady to wing and shot. Some stakes require the birds to be shot by a gunner after the flush and then a retrieve to hand to finish the required skills. If you love BIG running dogs and horses this could be the sport for you.

NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association)

NAVHDA conducts four levels of tests: Natural Ability (NA), Utility Preparatory(UPT), Utility Test (UT), and the Invitational Test, the flagship of NAVHDA tests. Prizes are awarded on the basis of numerical scores achieved in the test. Each dog that meets or exceeds minimum standards is placed in one of three categories, i.e., Prize I, II, or III, with Prize I being the highest. Several dogs being tested at the same time might be awarded the same prize classification. 

Natural Ability Test is designed to evaluate young dogs on their inherent abilities with a view to gaining an insight into their possible future value as versatile hunting dogs. Dogs will be tested in four phases: Field Phase ( Use of Nose, Search, Pointing, Desire, Cooperation, Gun Shyness ) Tracking Phase ( Use of Nose, tracking, Desire to Work, Cooperation ) Water Phase ( Water Entry, Desire to Work, Cooperation ) Judgment of Physical Characteristics 

Utility Preparatory Test is designed to evaluate the dog midway in his training towards becoming a reliable versatile gun dog. Dogs will be tested in two Phases, the Water Phase and the Field Phase. The Water Phase consists of Water Search, Walking at Heel, Steadiness by Blind, and Retrieve of a Duck. The Field Phase requires a Search, 

Pointing, Steadiness on Game, Retrieve of Shot Bird, Retrieve by Drag. The following are also judged throughout the Utility Preparatory Test: Use of Nose, Desire to “Work, Cooperation, Obedience, Physical Attributes. 

Utility Test is designed for more experienced dogs in an advanced state of training. It evaluates their ability to perform as reliable versatile gun dogs and demonstrates their physical and mental capability to take training. The individual tests are divided into two groups as follows: Water Group, search for a duck, Walk at Heel, Remain By blind, Steadiness by Blind, Retrieve of a Duck. Field Group, Search, Pointing, Steadiness on Game, Retrieve of Shot Bird, Retrieve of Dragged Game. The following are judged throughout the Utility Test: Use of Nose, Desire to Work, Cooperation, Stamina, Obedience, Physical Attributes. 

Invitational Test is the flagship of NAVHDA tests. Only those exceptional animals that have demonstrated superior skill and obedience in Utility Tests are eligible to participate

National Club: (www.navhda.org)
Local Club: (www.members.aol.com/gcvnavhda

 

 

Showing dogs is a great sport where the thrill of competition is combined with the joy of seeing beautiful dogs. Dog shows are one of many types of AKC dog events in which AKC-registered dogs can compete. These events  draw over three million entries annually.


Dog shows (conformation events) are intended to evaluate breeding stock. The size of these events ranges from large all-breed shows, with over 3,000 dogs entered, to small local specialty club shows, featuring a specific breed. The dog's conformation (overall appearance and structure), an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality puppies, is judged.

Types of Conformation Dog Shows

There are three types of conformation dog shows:

All-breed shows offer competitions for over 150 breeds and varieties of dogs recognized by the AKC. All-breed shows are the type often shown on television

Specialty shows are restricted to dogs of a specific breed or to varieties of one breed. For example, the Bulldog Club of America Specialty is for Bulldogs only, but the Poodle Club of America's specialty show includes the three varieties of the Poodle - Standard, Miniature and Toy.

Group shows are limited to dogs belonging to one of the seven groups. For example, the Potomac Hound Group show features only breeds belonging to the Hound group.

Which Dogs May Participate

To be eligible to compete, a dog must:

  • be individually registered with the American Kennel Club
  • be 6 months of age or older
  • be a breed for which classes are offered at a show
  • meet any eligibility requirements in the written standard for its breed

Spayed or neutered dogs are not eligible to compete in conformation classes at a dog show, because the purpose of a dog show is to evaluate breeding stock.

The Role of the Judge

Judges examine the dogs, then give awards according to how closely each dog compares to the judge's mental image of the "perfect" dog described in the breed's official standard. Insert link for Weimaraner Standard

The standard describes the characteristics that allow the breed to perform the function for which it was bred. These standards include specifications for structure, temperament and movement.

The official written standard for each breed is maintained by the breed's national club and is included in the The Complete Dog Book published by the AKC.

The judges are experts on the breeds they are judging. They examine ("go over") each dog with their hands to see if the teeth, muscles, bones and coat texture conform to the breed's standard. They view each dog in profile for overall balance, and watch each dog gait ("move") to see how all of those features fit together in action.

How a Dog Show Works

Each dog presented to a judge is exhibited ("handled") by its owner, breeder or a hired professional. The role of a handler is similar to that of a jockey who rides a horse around the track and, hopefully, into the winner's circle.

Most dogs in competition at conformation shows are competing for points toward their AKC championships. It takes fifteen points, including two majors (wins of three, four or five points) awarded by at least three different judges, to become an American Kennel Club "Champion of Record."

The number of championship points awarded at a show depends on the number of males ("dogs") and females ("bitches") of the breed actually in competition. The larger the entry, the greater the number of points a male or a female can win. The maximum number of points awarded to a dog at any show is 5 points.

Males and females compete separately within their respective breeds, in seven regular classes. The following classes are offered, and are divided by sex:

Puppy - For dogs between six and twelve months of age, that are not yet champions (optional class).

Twelve-To-Eighteen Months - For dogs twelve to eighteen months of age, that are not yet champions (optional class).

Novice - For dogs six months of age and over, which have not, prior to the date of closing of entries, won three first prizes in the Novice Class, a first prize in Bred-by-Exhibitor, American-bred, or Open Classes, nor one or more points toward their championship (optional class).

Amateur-Owner-Handler – For dogs that are at least six months of age that are not champions.  Dogs must be handled in the class by the registered owner of the dog and is limited to exhibitors who have not, at any point in time, been a professional dog handler, AKC approved conformation judge, or employed as an assistant to a professional handler (effective January 1, 2009) (optional class).

Bred By Exhibitor - For dogs that are exhibited by their owner and breeder, that are not yet champions (optional class).

American-Bred - For dogs born in the United States from a mating which took place in the United States, that are not yet champions (mandatory class).

Open - For any dog of the breed, at least 6 months of age (mandatory class).

After these classes are judged, all the dogs that won first place in a class compete again to see who is the best of the winning dogs. Males and females are judged separately. Only the best male (Winners Dog) and the best female (Winners Bitch) receive championship points. The Winners Dog and Winners Bitch then compete with the champions for the Best of Breed award. At the end of the Best of Breed Competition, three awards are usually given:

Best of Breed - the dog judged as the best in its breed category.

Best of Winners - the dog judged as the better of the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch.

Best of Opposite Sex - the best dog that is the opposite sex to the Best of Breed winner.

The Road to Best in Show

Dog shows are a process of elimination, with one dog being named Best in Show at the end of the show.

Only the Best of Breed winners advance to compete in the Group competitions. Each AKC-recognized breed falls into one of seven group classifications. The seven groups are Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding. Four placements are awarded in each group, but only the first-place winner advances to the Best In Show competition.



 

The Seven Groups in All-Breed Shows

 Sporting - These dogs were bred to hunt game birds both on land and in the water. The breeds in this group include Pointers, Retrievers, Setters and Spaniels.

Hounds - These breeds were bred for hunting other game by sight or scent. These breeds include such dogs as Beagles, Bassets, Dachshunds and Greyhounds.

Working - These dogs were bred to pull carts, guard property and perform search and rescue services. Among the breeds in this group are the Akita, Boxer, Doberman Pinscher and St. Bernard.

Terrier - This group includes breeds such as the Airedale, Cairn Terrier and Scottish Terrier. Terriers were bred to rid property of vermin such as rats.

Toy - These dogs were bred to be household companions. This group includes little dogs such as the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian and Pug.

Non-Sporting - This diverse group includes the Chow Chow, Bulldog, Dalmatian and Poodle. These dogs vary in size and function, and many are considered companion dogs.

Herding - These dogs were bred to help shepherds and ranchers herd their livestock. The Briard, Collie, German Shepherd Dog and Old English Sheepdog are some of the breeds in this group.

Finally, the seven group winners are brought into the ring where they compete for Best In Show, the highest award at a dog show.

Reprinted from the AKC website.  For additional information see:

http://www.akc.org/events/conformation/beginners.cfm

 

 

WHAT IS AKC AGILITY?

It is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the USA!

  • Agility is a sport that appeals to all dog lovers - from young people to senior citizens. It has great spectator appeal. Agility is designed to demonstrate a dog's willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Dog and handlers negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock.
  • The AKC offers three types of agility classes. The first, Standard Class, includes contact objects such as the dog walk, the A-frame, and seesaw. Each of the contact obstacles has a "safety zone" painted on the object and the dog must place at least one paw in that area to complete the obstacle. The second is Jumpers with Weaves. It has only jumps, tunnels and weaves poles with no contact objects to slow the pace. The third is FAST, which stands for Fifteen and Send Time. This class is designed to test handler and dog teams' strategy skill, accuracy, speed and distance handling.
  • All classes offer increasing levels of difficulty to earn Novice, Open, Excellent and Master titles. After completing both an Excellent Standard title and an Excellent Jumpers title, handler and dog teams can compete for the MACH - faster than the speed of sound! (Master Agility Championship title.)


 

  • Agility began in England in 1978. The AKC held its first agility trial in 1994.
  • Agility is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the United States and is the fastest growing event at the AKC.
  • A trial is a competition. Clubs hold practice matches and then apply to be licensed to hold official trials. At a licensed trial, handlers and dogs can earn scores toward agility titles.
  • An advantage to AKC participation is that dogs can earn titles
  • in a variety of events such as conformation, lure coursing, earth dog, retrieving and field trials, obedience, rally (as of 1/1/05), and tracking, as well as agility.
  • In the first year of AKC agility there were 23 trials. In 2003, there were 1,379 trials. The number of trials held in 2007 was 2,014.
  • In the first year of AKC agility (1994), there were approximately 2,000 entries in AKC agility trials.
  • AKC agility is available to every registerable breed. From tiny Yorkshire Terriers to giant Irish Wolfhounds, the dogs run the same course with adjustments in the expected time and jump height.
  • The classes are divided by jump heights in order to make the competition equal between the different sizes of dogs.
  • Reprinted from the AKC website.  For additional information see:

    http://www.akc.org/sitesearch/index.cfm?q=agility