Saturday, May 11, 2013

Courtesy Post for a Friend


Saturday & Sunday, May 25 & 26, 2013
Start Time: 8:30 a.m. (CST) each day

Location: Glendhenmere Kennels south of Murray, KY, or Paducah Kennel Club Building and Grounds
Fisher Road, Paducah, KY

Hosted by: The German Shepherd Dog Club of West KY

This will be a seminar of interest to both beginners and experienced trackers. You will be introduced to some new and more efficient ways to reach your scent work goals. The main focus will be on quickly and efficiently obtaining AKC Tracking titles and improving scores on the Schutzhund Tracking fields. Instructor: Dr. Mary Belle Adelman AKC Tracking judge and NASA Schutzhund judge.

Some of the things covered will include:
* Introduction to scent work for practical use and competition
* Setting realistic goals
* How to keep your air scenting dog on the track
* Are you training your dog to fail?
* Plus lots more!

We plan on running at least 4 individual tracks with every dog during the two day event, so come prepared to work. Bring good working gear including rain equipment. It could be wet—you know KY

Pre-registration gets a free tracking lead. All other $150. Early registration is encouraged. The Seminar is limited to 20 working dogs slots (limited audit slots). Location will depend upon number of entries. Only one dog, per participant, to work. All dogs must be crated, plenty of room outside with shade..

There will be continental breakfast and lunch provided both days, plus many food establishments are located within 15 minutes of the seminar site. If we have over 15 entries we will probably move to he PKC which has a great facility including: Indoor Training and eating area, plus 19 acres of tracking just outside the door. Good crating both inside and outside under cover.

Instructor: Dr Mary Belle Adelman (AKC judge in conformation, herding, obedience, tracking; and former Schutzhund judge. Author of The German Shepherd Dog Handbook)

For Registration Form and Directions, please contact:
Dr. Adelman at or phone 270-436-2858

Monday, April 29, 2013

Workshop In Progress

I'm getting back to my scentwork roots with my dog-training lessons.  Mostly, lately, I've been offering obedience training in a format resembling piano lessons: bring 'em in young and practice, practice, practice.  However, it's not paying the feed bills all that well, so I'm offering something that most training facilities don't.  Coming May 18, the "My Dog Can Do That" SAR workshop.

You see, SAR is something lots of people want to try without making a commitment, and it's also something where the groups who have made the commitment don't want to use training time on dilettantes.  I figure there's probably a niche there for me.

My husband says my ad should include the number of hours I've trained.  I'm not sure what that is over the course of the four years I was actively training in SAR, never mind the more casual observations, related training, and book-reading since then, but I am pretty sure that nobody'd believe the number if I came up with one that was even close.  A lot, okay?  I worked Sunny a couple of hours a day minimum nearly every day for four years, and participated in two to six group trainings with other dogs every  month for most of those four years, plus a few in the following year as helper and advice-giver.

He also says I shouldn't mention the thorns and poison ivy, but that's part of a realistic SAR experience.  If you haven't done a faceplant into one or the other, you haven't really trained.  Likewise, if you've never had a Labrador get tangled in your hair, you've never properly hidden from a search dog.  It isn't a comfortable pastime.  It is a worthwhile one, though.

I think what worries me is that total strangers are going to ask why I'm not still in SAR, and I'm not quite sure they'll understand the answer, "My partner died."  In most fields of dog training, you just train another one.  This was different, at least for me.  Which I'm going to have to get comfortable explaining, apparently.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Tradition of Tail Docking

I don't have a docked breed. I have friends who do, and who feel passionately about the matter. Sometimes this passion is beyond my comprehension, I have to admit.

For instance, the current kerfuffle in the world of Rottweilers, apparently, is whether or not the AKC breed standard should include a description of a correct undocked tail. Personally, I think they can either say nothing and end up with every European Rottie with a rotten tail over here where the judges don't know what's wrong with it, or they can ban undocked Rotties from the ring altogether and lose pretty much all international competition, because most of Europe has now banned the practice of docking. Either one seems like a bad outcome to me, since it's all about something non-genetic in a forum that's supposed to be all about fitness to breed, and I doubt every tailed Rottie in Europe is completely devoid of good genes. However, I'm not a Rottie person.

I've asked what the justification for docking is, and I've had a couple of answers, but the upshot is that traditionally the Rottie pulled carts and was a cattle drover. Now, there are carting breeds with tails and cattle dogs with tails, but--okay. Tradition has spoken. We have here an argument from tradition. I herd sheep with my shepherd, which is about as traditional an activity as you could want.

However, I have some problems with arguments from tradition, and the big one is that traditionally humans can be a pretty rotten species. For instance, if you have one of the large South American breeds that descended from the Spanish mastiff types, you might have trouble feeding it a traditional diet. You see, they were fed the quartered remains of the Inquisition as it took place on this side of the Atlantic. If you want to run down to Pet Supermarket and see if they have a nice bag of kibbled unbeliever in between the no-grain lamb and the Olde Fashioned Midden Heape special, go ahead. I'll wait here and you can report back, but I suspect that's a special-order item.

Given that we've abandoned traditions before, it may be time to find a fresh argument for things like tails. I can understand cropped ears: many breeds have very delicate ears that are easily shredded if they gallop through a thorn bush as dogs seem to be crazy to do, and cropping toughens the edges. Docking a Dobe I kind of get, as they have very slender tails which are easily broken when they clear something too solid off your coffee table. But a Rottie tail? It's just like a shepherd's tail. Solid, nice curve, normally carried low enough that if it was interfering with a cart, the dog's trotting hocks would be, too.

So I still don't get it. Comments are welcome if you think you can explain it better, honest. I'm open to being convinced. I'm not militantly anti-docking or anything, I just don't understand.