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It isn’t just a piece of paper

September 23, 2018

Bailey got mail this week.  She got a new title certificate from the AKC for her latest Scentwork title.  We are always excited to add new letters behind the dog’s names and there is always a good feeling when the certificates arrive.

I have a very cool hand painted photo album the one of the dogs won as a prize at one of the Southwest Support entry shows.  I use it to store show photos and title certificates and as I was planning to add the newest certificate to the album I realized I needed to reorganize the album to accommodate the certificate.  As I took each photo and certificate out of it’s sleeve it made me think about what they all really mean.

There is a very good essay that makes the rounds on Facebook that is credited to Sandra Mowery and I think it is a very good way of explaining why a title is more than a  piece of paper.    For me the title represents time spent with a wondrous creature, it represents time I spend with with people I love, it represents adventure and shenanigans.  The title certificates also represents education, breed preservation,  sportsmanship, compassion and good cheer.  And, yes it also represents a brag, but it is so much more, I’m proud that my dogs are always willing to play games with me and I am proud of my tribe and all the fun and life we get to share together because of our amazing dogs.   As I have said many time before it is my privilege.  I hope it is your privilege too.

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This represents the new AKC title certificates for the current dogs in the house Lindy, PJ, Frost, Bailey, Banner and Cali. This doesn’t include any titles from other venues.

Why title a dog?

Not just a brag, not just a stepping stone to a higher title, not just an adjunct to competitive scores, a title is a tribute to the dog that bears it, a way to honor the dog, an ultimate memorial. It will remain in record and in memory for as long as anything in this world can remain. Few humans will do as well or better in that regard.

And though the dog itself doesn’t know or care that its achievements have been noted, a title says many things in the world of humans, where such things count.

A title says your dog was intelligent and adaptable, and good-natured. It says that your dog loved you enough to do the things that please you, however crazy they may have sometimes seemed.

And a title says that you loved your dog, that you loved to spend time with it because it was a good dog, that you believed in it enough to give it yet another chance when it failed, and that, in the end, your faith was justified.

A title proves that your dog inspired you to that special relationship enjoyed by so few; that in a world of disposable creatures, this dog with a title was greatly loved, and loved greatly in return.

And when that dear short life is over, the title remains as a memorial of the finest kind, the best you can give to a deserving friend, volumes of pride in one small set of initials after the name.

A title earned is nothing less than love and respect, given and received, and permanently recorded.

-Sandra Mowery

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GCH Rockie Top Flying Snow, RN, BN, FDC, CGC, RATI

Photos from the Farm

June 4, 2018
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Frost having a great time at Farm Dog Certification.  She had a great time.

 

 

 

Caliwags and Cody doing the Farm!  Cali (and Cody) spent a good part of the day working the event as the ” Friendly Dog”.

 

 

 

They had a fun day and so did we!

 

For more information on the AKC Farm Dog Certification Program check out the the AKC website:

http://images.akc.org/pdf/FDC_Test_Guide.Revised.11.2017.pdf

 

 

The new Cardigan Farm Dogs from the Day.  Frost, Cali, Rune and Zoey!

How much is too much?

June 3, 2018
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I started to write my usual Brag post (and of course I am going to brag) but after our doggy day yesterday and some discussion on Facebook about how many sports can or should you participate in on one day and made me think about how much is too much.

Yesterday we participated in Farm Dog Certification testing given by our friend of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of Greater Atlanta.  We had a fun day at this well run event and came home with not one but two new “Farm Dogs”.  This is the brag part of the post, Frost and I qualified twice to earn our certification and Cali and Cody also qualified twice also so the girls have new letters after their names.

Farm Dog Certification (FDC) is one of the newer AKC events

( http://images.akc.org/pdf/FDC_Test_Guide.Revised.11.2017.pdf )

There are lots new and fun things that people can do with their dogs.  Some require lots of training and some are more instinct driven but all of them strengthens the bond with your dog

The event yesterday was held outside, yep on a farm, and the morning was overcast but it is June in North Central Georgia so by afternoon it was 90 degrees.  Since it was a farm there were lots of shade trees and everyone took care that the dogs were comfortable and everyone was checking on one another to make sure folks stayed hydrated.  It was a smaller event with around 40 dogs, their people and the volunteers so it was easy for everyone to stay aware. But what if it had been a bigger event?

There are so many fun things to do with your dog and we overachiever dog people sometimes want to get the most bang for our buck and we enter everything!

Some of our big clusters now have lots of things to enter.  Our big one in Perry, GA offers All Breed Conformation (sometimes with matches), Obedience and Rally (sometimes with matches), Agility, Course Ability Testing, Fast CAT, Barnhunt, Dock Diving, CGC/CGCA, Trick Dog and Scentwork might be added as well.  That is a lot of things to do on a weekend.   It is important that we remember we are the advocates for our dogs.  They can’t tell us in words what they want to do, we often time ask them to do things that might not make sense to them and it is important that we pay attention.

Don’t get carried away, have fun but make sure your dog is having fun and isn’t being over worked or over stimulated.  We think a 2 or 3 minute Scentwork run isn’t any big deal but it is a mental exercise add that to multiple Agility runs and maybe Dock Diving and you have a tired dog, add weather conditions, crating conditions and multiple days and you have an exhausted dog.  Think about how tired you are at the end of a busy weekend and remember your dog did most of the work.

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Have fun! Because you have the best dog ever, I know I do!

She’s a workin girl!

May 3, 2018
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If you have multiple dogs you know they all fill a certain place in your world.  You have your parental dogs, your playful dogs, your silly dogs, your serious dogs they all have their own personalities and they have their places in your heart and life.
I have those too and Bailey is my working girl.  I have always been so proud of her, she is the 1st dog I finished from the Bred By Exhibitor class.
Bailey Nationals

Solstice Flying Circus

Bailey has done a lot with me in her 9 years.  She was awarded a 2nd place in the large and competitive BBE class at the CWCCA National Specialty, She finished her Championship, not once but twice (the original major broke unbeknownst to me at the time) so she got to finish in the SW and then again after our move to the SE.  She easily earned her Grand Championship and was ranked in the breed in the NOHS.
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Bailey’s Championship photo

She has become my sports dog, she loves Barnhunt and was the 1st Cardigan to earn a Senior Barnhunt title.
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She loves to chase the lure it is her very favorite thing and just recently at the April 2018 shows in Perry, GA she chased the “bag bunny” to her Coursing Ability Excellent title aka CAX, which is the 1st Excellent title I have ever earned with one of my dogs, it was very exciting. Additionally she is running Fast CAT which is a timed 100 yard chase of the lure. She is working on her 2nd title in Fast CAT.
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She easily was awarded her CWCCA Herding Instinct Certificate, she loved bossing those sheep around.
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Our newest sport is in the Scentwork arena, she is a wonderful worker and she is so excited when we get to go sniff.
I’m very proud of my working girl, Bailey Bug, she and I have a very good time together.
GCH CH Solstice Flying Circus, CAX, BCAT, SIN, SCN, SEN, RATS, aka Bailey Bug

National Purebred Dog Day

May 1, 2018

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Dogs are amazing creatures, there is an internet meme that says something along the line of just by existing they make the day better.

Dogs are wonderful, all of them, big, small, slick, fuzzy, all of them. There is no doubt that the dog that greets you when you get home is the best dog on earth. Where that dog came from or how you got it is your business, just your business.
I wanted to say that because I’m sure there will be some trolls who won’t like the rest of my post. That is because today is my dogs “Day”, May 1st is National Purebred Dog Day #NPDD, a day to celebrate the wonder of the purebred dog. To rejoice in their predictability and history and heritage. Living art and history to both modern and almost forgotten times.
In our current world of “who rescued who” and “furbabies” people like to bash the world of Purebred dogs. We hear all the time that we are evil and because of us dogs DIE! Sorry folks, you have been brainwashed by people who don’t even want to you have pets much less a predictable purebred dog. They think they are superior because they rescued a dog. Just saying if you paid money to get the dog you bought it. But where you got your dog doesn’t matter, if you are
happy then so am I.
Where my dogs come from is proudly from preservation breeders (Of which I am one) who work hard using Art and Science to create a wonderful animal that will grow up with traits you count on. I expect the Cardigan Welsh Corgis who live in my house to be around 12 inches tall and weigh around 30-35lbs. I expect them to be great watch dogs. I expect them to be active but not hyper. I expect them to be smart and trainable but also independent thinkers. I expect
them to shed and herd things. It is all about the expectation.
So why is today, May 1st aka National Purebred Dog Day #NPDD important, it is a reminder that a dog’s purpose can be seen in its genes. It is no accident that Bloodhounds are superior trackers or that the Border Collie is smarter than some people or that the Caviler King Charles Spaniels enjoy sitting with their people. That is all part of their heritage. It makes it easy to figure out what
dog will fit your family and lifestyle.
As a preservation or heritage breeder it is import to me that we continue to celebrate the wonderful world of dogs. To know where they come from and how they should be expected to look and act. To help create the healthiest dog I can produce. I am not alone, there are many of us who want to make sure that our chosen breeds are protected and preserved. We are the dog’s champions!
Breeders invented rescue (bet you didn’t know that), Breeders and enthusiast fun health research, breeders and enthusiast fund disaster relief, scholarships, search and rescue and dog sports. National Purebred Dog Day #NPDD celebrates all of that and more and people that don’t see the value are really not looking.
I have always thought it is interesting that folks who proudly own mix breeds and random bred dogs will spend money on DNA testing to find out or confirm what breed or breeds their dogs are descended from or that shelters and rescues randomly assign breeds to their dogs in hopes that folks looking to take home a new friend will be swayed by what they know about a breed.
So I am celebrating National Purebred Dog Day #NPDD and if you have ever called your dog a breed (or a mix of breeds) you should be too because it celebrates the breed diversity.

So happy National Purebred Dog Day!

The nose always knows aka Trust your dog

April 19, 2018

I am fairly new to the scent sports having started it a couple of years ago as something I was interested in and had the opportunity to do some introductory training.  I find it interesting to watch the dogs work, it really is amazing (A reason I like barn hunt too). But like most things I only have time for so much, so my dog and I are still at a Novice level.

So what are Scent Sports?  There are several different venues that offer competition based on the work of detection dogs (drug dogs, bomb dogs, S&R dogs).  Like most things we compete in we are currently doing the AKC version called Scent Work (different venues use different rules and equipment). In the AKC venue the dogs have various difficulty levels in each search element (Container, Buried, Interior and Exterior searches).  The dogs search for cotton swabs soaked in essential oils of Birch, Anise, Clove and/or Cypress. The scents aka the hides are placed out of sight in a designated area and then the dog has to find them and let the handler know where it is located. The search is timed, the handler tells the judge the dog has found the hide and the time stops.  Fastest dog wins but a successful find is a qualifying run as long as it is done in the time allowed.

Trust your dog, how many time have we heard that phrase?  

But I have a hard time trusting my dog, not trusting that she knows what she is doing but trusting that our communication is good.  Trusting that I understand what she is trying to tell me.

I know she knows what she is doing since she possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in her nose, compared to the about six million that I have in my nose. And the part of her brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than mine.

So why don’t I trust her, why do I second guess her?  That goes back to fear and training. Why fear? I am afraid I will make a wrong call and not get a ribbon.  Oh the Horror! I might not get a ribbon can you imagine how my life would be over if we didn’t Q. The fear is there because of training, have we trained enough that she knows what I am asking her and if so am I trained enough to understand what she is telling me?   Have I given her enough opportunities to work through any problems that might in the way? Weather, surfaces, distractions? Have I learned what she is telling? Currently the answer is a big fat NO! Lucky for us on our competition runs she has been a rock star and made sure her human partner is up to speed but it is strictly the talent and effort on the part of my canine partner that we have been successful.   It is all her at this point.

I am excited to move forward with my wonderful partner Bailey and Cali is going to start learning the language too.

 

Bailey, GCH Solstice Flying Circus, CAX, B-CAT SIN, SCN, SEN, RATS

2017 Reflections

January 2, 2018
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As many of us do we spend the New Year’s holiday looking back and looking forward.

We had a pretty successful year.  Caliwags was our focus and we started 2017 doing some non AKC events and Cali completed her IABCA puppy championships and started her quest toward her AKC Championship.

It didn’t take long to get to that Championship.  She started at the Cherokee Rose winter Cluster in February and finished on December 1st at the Winter Wonderland cluster in Perry, GA.   She finished with 3 majors in limited showing.  Of course none of that would have happened with out her “Team”  McLo, professional handlers Junior McDaniels and Ashley Lowery and their great team (and my friends), and of course talented Junior Handler and Cali’s new co-owner Ellie Kidd and me!

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Just for fun this summer we learned some tricks and Cali earned her Trick Dog Novice title too.

Bailey was the working dawg again this year.  She did a bit of Barnhunt, added 11 more runs towards her CAX (4 to go) and she added some more points toward her DCat Fast Cat title.  She did her 1st Scent sport event, passing her NACSW Nosework ORT and then this last weekend of the year she earned her AKC Scentwork Novice Containers and Interior titles.

 

Other fun things that happened, the momma dog Lindy was awarded the CWCCA Registry of Merit Versatility Certificate and Charlie and Cody earned their Companion Dog Excellent title.

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I had lots of fun, I got to go to NYC for the Westminster Kennel Club show with my BFF Leslie, it was a great trip!

 

In May, I had the great privilege to represent Atlanta Obedience Club and The Georgia Canine Collision as Governor Deal declared May 1st Purebred Dog Day in Georgia.

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And of course we had our hearts broken when we lost our little friend Sienna our Brussels Griffon last winter but were happy to welcome our new little friend Sunni to our world.

 

All in all the year was wonderfully successful and I am proud and happy for the year that was and we are looking forward to 2018!