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Discussion Starter #41
I'll work on it later today--I have some paying work to do right now. We freelancers still have bosses and schedules--but we don't have much advance notice as to who and what. :)
Yes paying work first, part of why I cut off tracking where I did was because it was time to go to class. Also VST is very different from TD, TDU and TDX.
 

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Catherine -
How lucky you are to have an internationally known trainer ten minutes from your house! Knee injuries are a pain. My sister quit competing with her horses due to knee problems. My knees are Ok- the back is a different story!

I see how much the personality and skill of the instructor matters and I do feel very fortunate to have found a good fit. I took a few private lessons first with her so she could get to know Lily and put her in the right class, and right away I was impressed with the care she took in placing Lily and prepping me for the experience. She runs a nice place. The classes are small, there were only two other dogs in the last class and it sounds like there are three other dogs in this next class. The class after mine on Monday night also only had three dogs in it, so I think she tries to keep them small.

The people I've met there seem to be pretty dog savvy (breeders, prior experience with agility, etc). The owner also breeds gorgeous Aussies, and I overheard her talking to one of the collie breeders about the health testing they do. She is not a large volume breeder though and they are clearly first her pets. All this also indicates to me that I have a found a good place to land. I'm very excited to keep learning more about agility. And after I wrap up this dissertation, I can devote even more time to it. That thought will keep me writing over the break!
 

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UKC Rally

UKC Rally is a fun way to play with your dog in the ring. Since most folks are more familiar with AKC Rally-O, that's where I'll start the comparisons.

The classes are Rally Obedience 1 (RO1), RO2, and RO3. The titles are URO1, and so on. Three scores of 70 or above (out of 100) are required for a title.

The courses are not very long--a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 17 signs. Judges are required to nest the courses (that is, use much the same path and common signs for a speedier course change). We must also design each level so it takes about the same amount of time to run. The reason each level should take the same time is because a High in Trial ribbon is awarded and in the event of a tie, the shortest official course time wins.

Compared to AKC, there are not nearly as many signs to learn, but I've heard rumors that there may be some updates soon.

You may encourage your dog, and give multiple cues. You are not penalized for extra cues, but you may receive a "slow to respond" penalty of a point or two. One big difference in UKC is that the judge may call "Fault!" if you've committed an error that would NQ you. (Not all judges call "fault," though, and it's not a requirement.) The judge can't tell you what you did wrong, but you should be able to figure it out and re-do the sign for a 3-point penalty.

In RO3 there is an honor exercise--usually after running the course, the dog then honors for the next dog. The judge will determine whether the honor is a sit or a down, and will designate a place inside the ring for the team to perform the honor exercise. It is done on-leash, with the handler standing and the dog in heel position.

The first year I was steadily doing Rally, I was surprised to see that we made it onto the Rally All-Stars list of the top 50 dogs doing Rally, which earns you an invitation to Premier in Kalamazoo, MI (I wish we could have afforded to go!). We were chasing the United Rally Obedience Champion (UROC) title, which is similar to the RAE, in that it requires 10 double Qs in RO2 and RO3 and a specified number of points in each level. It's a little complicated and you should read the rules yourself, anyway!

There are two other championship titles. One is United Rally Excellent (URX), which is awarded after 10 double Qs (70 or higher) in 2 and 3. It can be earned multiple times--my Devlin has URX3.

The last "big" title is United Rally Obedience Grand Champion (UROG), which requires 15 double Qs that combined add up to 192.

Here's a picture of me, Devlin, and judge Robert Wolf with our brand-new UROG:


As with any venue you try, you should thoroughly read the rules. Whenever you sign your entry form, you attest that you have read and understand the rules, so you would be wise to make that true!

Here's the link to a PDF file containing UKC Rally Rules, which are current as of today: http://res.ukcdogs.com/pdf/2011RallyRulebook.pdf

I highly recommend UKC as a friendly venue where it's easy to get your feet wet in competition. Trials are often pretty small, entry fees are usually lower than for AKC, and frequently trials will accept day-of-show entries and Temporary Listing numbers if you're not already registered with UKC. Your titles won't count until you convert your temporary listing to a permanent one.

Questions?
 

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Discussion Starter #44
VST stands for Variable Surface Tracking. The track you work will have different surfaces that can include vegetation, pavements of various types and may take you inside buildings including up and down stairs. The track is between 600 and 800 yards and will cross at least three types of surfaces. There will be four articles placed along the track that will have to be indicated by the dog and picked up while on the track. There are more turns on a VST than on a TD and one of them is referred to in the AKC tracking regulations as a "moment of truth" turn which will have no vegetation or other obstacles like walls to give a hint as to which direction the track takes. While a TDX test will be physically rather strenuous a VST is meant to be able to be run by any handler and dog team. It is possible to do a VST without having done a TDX, but the dog must have earned a TD to do VST.

In a TDU, which is an optional titling class, the criteria are rather similar to a TD with a track length of 400 to 500 yards and not aged more than 2 hours. However a TDU track will cross different surfaces as in a VST. There will be three fabric or leather articles on track to be found by the dog.

A dog that earns a TD, TDX and a VST is also given the prefix title CT (Champion Tracker). For any type of tracking title only one qualifying performance is needed to earn a title and there are no scores (pass or fail only). A dog may continue to enter any type of tracking test for which it has already earned a title although entry preference is often given to untitled dogs.

If you compete in different sports you may want to consider working to earn a VCD title with your dog. VCD stands for Versatile Companion Dog. To be recognized as a VCD a dog must have earned a regular obedience title, a standard agility title, a jumpers agility title and a tracking title. There are degrees of VCD titles as follows:

VCD1: CD NA NAJ (TD or TDU); or CD NAP NJP (TD or TDU)
VCD2: CDX OA OAJ (TD or TDU); or CDX OAP OJP (TD or TDU)
VCD3: UD AX AXJ TDX; or UD AXP AJP TDX
VCD3: UDX MX MXJ VST; or UDX MXP MJP VST

A highly accomplished dog earning an OTCh, MACh and CT will be recognized with the prefix title of VCCH, versatile companion champion.

Currently Lily and I will have earned a VCD1 with the addition of a TD (which we are working on). If I can ever get through open agility then we would have a VCD2 with the tracking title. Friends of mine who are not "dog people" used to ask me when we would be finished competing. My answer was always either never or something to the effect of when one or both of us is too decrepit to continue. I find working with my dogs to be a great source of peace and joy. Aside from the titles and rosettes, there is a great bond to be deepened through working with your dog. With poodles being as smart as they are, you do them a great favor to give them a meaningful job either in performance with you, service for you or as a therapy dog. So get off the couch and start working!
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Does anyone else want to add anything about other activities or venues? Does anyone want this to be a sticky?
 

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Does anyone else want to add anything about other activities or venues? Does anyone want this to be a sticky?
A "sticky" is a good idea. Someone may add Nosework, Barn Hunt, and C-WAGs, which are getting big around here. I don't compete in those venues and know little about them. Then there's WCRL Rally (formerly APDT) that I may be able to touch on later--I haven't competed in that venue for a year or two, but plan to start Neely in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
We have info on Nosework from Spindledreams. I don't know anything about Barnhunt, other than it is getting popular. I also don't know about C-WAGs. Marguerite, what is that?
 

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We have info on Nosework from Spindledreams. I don't know anything about Barnhunt, other than it is getting popular. I also don't know about C-WAGs. Marguerite, what is that?
Oops--sorry about missing Nosework. I didn't review the whole thread before typing that. (My bad!)

C-WAGS is Canine Work And GameS (www.c-wags.org), a venue that offers competition in obedience, rally, scent, and games.

Titles require 4 qualifying scores, saying that "A well balanced dog has four legs and as such [titles are earned] after four qualifying scores from at least 2 different judges ..."

The web site is set up in such a way that I can't copy and paste any descriptions. The center where I train has a bunch of enthusiastic supporters concentrating on the Scent Detectives games. Since I'm working on Neely NOT sniffing in the ring, I haven't explored any sniffing sports.
 

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Nosework again

OMG we got Monster back into a Nose work class last night. Mind you he has not been to one for nearly a year so I got a couple of shocks. One he recognized the building and got really excited. We had taken other classes there with him but as soon as I headed to the back to kennel him it clicked BOX GAME!

He was turned on and excited. I remember this game. Yes mom, no I am not trying to cheat but mom, mom it is the BOX GAME! So yep he made quick work of his searches as we were working beginning level first day finds.

But here is the really neat part and why I really think Nosework is special. One of the beginner dogs was Belgian who came in so tuned into her person she kept stopping and looking at her for cues about what she wanted her to do. First set of search she was nervous about the new location and new folks around so she clung to her owners side and kept doing the check in look, second set of searches she was a bit further away but still doing the check in looking. The third set of searches magic happened. She was still a bit shy but as they got near the boxes she forged out and started to search and only checked in when she hit the end of the leash. She was like Mom hey let me find it I know there are treats here. The change in her confidence and attitude was really nice to watch. And this was only class one.

There are two other dogs in our class. One is a second Belgian owned by the same person as the first one. He was a big brawny boy who had one thought on his mind FOOD! He was into the food part of the game but not as into the finding. The second one is a spaniel who after the first find figured out that he was supposed to go to smell and he would get treats and praise. He was fun to watch as he would walk in and go straight to the right box, get taken to the corner by his owner with his back to the boxes, turn around and straight to the box. Can we say he has a greats nose.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
spindledreams that is so great to hear. Poodles are so smart! I was similarly taken aback by Lily when we started going back to a canine conditioning class that we hadn't been to in about 8 months. Lily walked in absolutely sure of where she was and what she was supposed to do. She remember the whole routine.

Confidence is one of the great benefits for dogs who work at things where their thinking is challenged.
 

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I downloaded a Rally O book from Amazon yesterday and can wait to get stated with Max. I hope to sign up for a rally class in March and then compete in some local events!
Way to go! Keep us updated! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Specman, you and Max will have a lot of fun. Rally O is a great team builder. I know you have done a lot with Max to help him deal with some social issues, now you will really play together in a constructive way. I have found that I have a much better relationship with Peeves through rally than when he was a stay at home couch potato. I wish you the best with it.
 

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Thank you everyone for such wealth of information! Has this been made into a sticky note?
I will be getting my first spoo pup this spring/summer and want to start off on the right foot in regards to training. I would be very interested in recommendations for training books.
I am SO looking forward to this journey!
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Hi JJane, yes this is a sticky so it will always be easy to find. What do you plan to do with your pup? Rally, obedience, agility...?

I would generally recommend Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed and The Focused Puppy by Deborah Jones, Ph.D. and Judy Keller, along with Crate Games by Susan Garrett. All of these will provide excellent foundations for any performance activity you might pursue as well as making your dog much easier to live with in general.
 

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I'm not 100% committed to anything yet as I have zero experience, however, I am leaning towards rally. I have back issues so I don't thing agility is for me. Out of all the options, is there one activity in particular that creates a stronger owner/dog relationship than another? It would seem that with obedience or rally, the dog has to pay more attention to the owner vs tracking/nose work and that attention creates a stronger bond.
Thank you for the book suggestions. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #57
Rally has been wonderful for my relationships with both Lily and Peeves. It is lots of fun too. And yes, Lily may be my only agility dog (bad knees, bad hip, bad.....).
 

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Herding is for Poodles also :)

Yes I found out today that there is actually a group that will give Poodles herding titles :cheers2:

The group is the AHBA or American Herding Breed Association and they recognize Poodles as a "Multipurpose Breeds With A Herding Background"

I didn't get photos but today two of my Standards went to an Instinct test and PASSED. They got to go in a pen with 4 goats and show their instinct to work stock. It was really interesting to see the big differences in how Jazz and Monster handled the goats. It was like magic to see the flashes of stock dog come through on Jazz as she fought her "you shall not chase animals" training. Her whole body language would change. Monster on the other hand walked in with an OK I got this attitude and just went to work trying to figure out how to make the goats move where he wanted them to go.

The interesting thing for me was that the very first part of the test was for you to walk into the pen with your dog on leash, sit your dog tell them stay and walk to the end of your leash then call you dog. This is to test trainability.

Then the evaluator takes the leash away and walks the dog towards the stock (in our case this was 4 goats) and you just stand near the fence like a post. The rest of the test is the evaluator, your dog dragging its leash and the stock. The evaluator looks for interest in the stock, how they move around the stock (circling or not circling, moving the stock towards them, etc)

If you can I highly recommend you check out this sport for you and your poodle. AND no it is not restricted to Standards, a friends Mini has her instinct cert also.
 
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