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Neely and I were at UKC Obedience over the weekend (Oct. 6-7). We went 2 for 4 and finished his United Utility Dog (UUD) title! We had gotten our first qualifying score back in December 2016 and had multiple failed attempts in the meantime.

UKC's utility exercises are sort of but not entirely like AKC's exercises. They share a signals exercise and directed jumping in ways that are pretty much identical. For scent articles, only metal are used--4 placed out and the handler scents the fifth one. The dog and handler are not facing the articles as they go out, they stand with their backs to the ring. Articles may be as far apart as a foot, but usually are put out about 6 inches, like AKC's should be.

Here's how it's really different: The ring is empty (no jumps) for signals, scent discrimination, the glove exercises (more on that in a moment), and consecutive recalls. After those exercises, the jumps are brought in for directed jumping, and then removed again for the next dog.

There are two glove exercises. The handler and dog are in about the middle of the short side of the ring. The dog should be able to see the gloves go out, but is not required to watch them, just be ABLE to see them. They are set out in a sort of baseball diamond, with glove 1 on the left, placed about 3 feet from the ring gating in about the middle of the long side. Glove 2 is put where you'd expect to see it in AKC--the middle of the far end, about 3 feet from the gating. Glove 3 is opposite Glove 1, on the right-hand long side, again, about 3 feet from the gating. This is the position of the gloves for both exercises. (And yes, Glove 1 is at 3rd base and Glove 3 is at 1st base.)

The first glove exercise is the "directed marked retrieve." It's a lot like the AKC glove retrieve, except for the position of the gloves, of course. The judge tells the handler which glove to get. The handler may turn, mark, and send the dog directly to the glove.

The second glove exercise is the "directed signal retrieve." It's based on field work. On the judge's order, the handler sends the dog away toward the far end of the ring, but commands the dog to sit in the middle of the ring. (To continue the baseball analogy, he sits on the pitcher's mound.) Then the judge tells you which glove to send the dog to. It's pretty easy to teach the dog to go to Glove 1 or Glove 3, but teaching the dog to turn around and go for Glove 2 takes some dedicated practice.

After gloves is consecutive recalls. It's one exercise in two parts. At the utility level, the handler may only give voice OR signal for any part of the exercise. It is an NQ to use both. The first part is a drop on recall. After the dog finishes at the handler's side, the judge commands "leave your dog, and you walk back to the other end of the ring, where you started, and the judge orders, "Call your dog" for a straight recall.

After that is when the jumps are brought in for directed jumping.

 

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Wow, so impressive - you and Neely. Neely looks so happy that he won another title.

That second glove exercise, the directed signal retrieve sounds really tricky to train. And how odd they remove and bring back the jumps for each competitor, that's a lot of work for the ring stewards. Obviously it makes it easier for that directed signal retrieve.
 
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Wow, so impressive - you and Neely. Neely looks so happy that he won another title.

That second glove exercise, the directed signal retrieve sounds really tricky to train. And how odd they remove and bring back the jumps for each competitor, that's a lot of work for the ring stewards. Obviously it makes it easier for that directed signal retrieve.
Yeah, it's a very steward-intensive venue. In addition to figure-8 stewards in Novice and Open, the Open class has a walking steward traveling the heeling path in the opposite direction to pass the dog twice. And Novice has a recall over a solid jump with a steward standing at each end of the jump.

UKC has an honor down in the ring with the working dog in Novice and Open during the heeling and figure-8 portion of the test. In Novice, the handler stands at the end of the ring, in sight, and in Open, the handler is out of sight. (Yet another thing to try to plan...we didn't have a good "hiding place" for the open handlers this weekend.) Then there is a group sit, a lot like AKC's--1 minute for novice, in the rign, and 3 minutes for Open, with the handlers out of the ring.
 

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It sounds much more difficult than AKC.
 
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Wow congratulations! That is wonderful and reading through it I can see that’s you have both worked so hard to achieve this! Amazing work!
 
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It sounds much more difficult than AKC.
In some ways, yes ... but Neely finds AKC's moving stand for exam a challenge because he wants to greet the judge. That exercise isn't anywhere in UKC obedience. And just one scent article in UKC cuts in half the opportunities for failing that exercise. :D

The UKC obedience judges I'm friendly with usually go for their AKC titles first to avoid confusing the dog with two kinds of glove exercises.

M
 

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New Open title too

Neely finished his AKC Open title in the regular Open A class with a second place on Saturday (Oct. 27, 2018).

When AKC still had group stays, I moved into the Preferred track (he has Addison's and can't regulate his own stress hormones).

This particular show offers cash with placements, which is very happy-making if you're successful. They said well ahead of time there would be no transfers or move-ups, so we went after a "bumper leg" on Sunday, and won the class.

M
 

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Marguerite Wow. I’m so impressed. And glad you won the money too.
 
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