Herd it at the Water Bowl
Greater Illinois, Inc.
PO Box 4169
Lisle, Illinois 60532 (630) 415-1206
Herd it at the Water Bowl
SHOWS, SHOW DOGS
Michael J. Mifflin
“Sharon, sit.” The woman
nodded toward the chair next to the grooming table on which a freshly groomed
Afghan lay. She blew miniscule dog
hairs from grooming shears and comb, and handed Sharon an apron to cover her
Sharon’s hair, shoulder length and a toasty golden color, mimicked the
Afghan’s except hers hadn’t yet been coiffed into perfection like the
dog’s. The woman stood behind
Sharon’s chair and pulled parted sections between index and middle fingers
then trimmed off split ends.
“I couldn’t believe yesterday’s results.
He didn’t have a clue about what he was doing.”
The snipping continued, as the two women discussed the judge’s
abilities to determine which dog in the ring represented the best of the ones
shown. Their conversation continued
past the completion of Sharon’s hairstyle.
Whether it was the shears or the groomer, when done, Sharon’s do looked
like the Afghan’s. Unispecies
grooming is one of many events that unfold outside of show rings. A dog show is a great place to study how closely owners look
or act like their dogs.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) sanctions several different events for the
various breeds. In confirmation
shows, judges determine which dog best approximates the perfect dog, as
described in the written standard for that particular breed as put forth by the
describes the collie’s standard, i.e. head, eye, and body shape, gait, tail
carriage, etc. Dogs must be intact
(not spayed or neutered) to go into the conformation ring in the United States.
This qualification precludes those
of us who have rescue dogs from showing in conformation. However, our companion dogs are welcomed in other events.
Indefinite Listing Privilege (ILP) allows purebred dogs recognized by the
AKC to participate in performance and companion events. As members of the AKC’s herding group, collies can compete
in agility, herding, obedience, rally obedience, and tracking.
An ILP number is required to enter your dog in any AKC-sanctioned event.
You can print the ILC application by going to www.akc.org/reg/ilpex.cfm
or you can request an ILC application by e-mailing ILP@akc.org
. To register for ILP, you will
need to submit the completed application as well as two recent photographs of
the dog (one full front view and one in standing profile), a veterinarian’s
spay/neuter certificate, and the processing fee.
For me, the most difficult part of completing the application me was
finding a name. My collie’s call
name has been Bevan since he’s lived with us.
I wanted his registered name to reflect the dedication of the board and
volunteers at Collie Rescue of Greater Illinois to this wonderful breed. I also wanted to honor the Good Samaritan who stopped on his
way to work to see if the dog lying in the ditch was alive.
Forty-five minutes later, after chasing that emaciated dog, Glenn had
Bevan in his truck’s cab. Bevan’s registered name is CRI Bevan Glenn’s Great Save.
The registered name is important because it appears in the catalog for
every show the dog enters.
CRI has a rescue alumnus, Mach 6 Glen Ellyn Cody, who has excelled in agility. The Mach 6 preceding his registered name indicates how many times Cody has performed perfectly in agility competitions (a future column will discuss this).
Why do you want to work with your dog in show events? To build confidence in your dog and yourself, socialize the
dog, meet other people who are interested in working with their dog, and to have
fun. Before entering the show ring,
you spend many hours in classes learning how to work with your dog to get him to
succeed at the required tasks for a specific event. Dog and owner invest countless hours completing homework and
repeating commands to pass the various levels in the events.
You and your dog become a team, two individuals from different species
melding into a working unit. A dog
owner learns much about his canine friend, and his canine friend can teach him
much about himself.
No one knows Bevan better than I. As
we prepare to enter the obedience ring, we grow ever closer, watching each
other’s body language. If I
don’t stand straight and smile at Bevan when he’s doing a long sit or long
down, I see his expression change. He
worries and breaks his stay, heading directly for me to see what is wrong.
This reinforces my awareness that I work with another thinking being who
is attuned to the most miniscule of body language messages.
For us to succeed, I have to project to Bevan that I am in control of the
situation, relaxed, enjoying what we are doing, and that he is doing exactly
what he’s supposed to do. He is
not as secure in unusual environments as dogs that have lived in a forever home
since puppyhood. Bevan lived on his
own, fending for himself for months after his first owners dumped him in the
country. Bevan’s self-confidence
has increased dramatically because of our obedience work.
He trusts that I’m going to keep him safe so he doesn’t worry.
All Bevan has to do is be happy.
That is what entering show events should be about: a happy, fun time to
share with your dog. There are
people who become so focused on winning that they forget to have fun with their
dog. Sanctioned events are places I
can take my dog where he is welcomed and we can enjoy our time together.
Even if you choose not to participate in dog shows, a socialized, trained
dog leads a much happier life for knowing basic commands and the rules he is
expected to follow. This training
may provide safety in life-threatening situations.
All dogs need to know the basic commands: sit, lay down, stay, and come.
Of these, “Come” is the most important.
Should your dog get away from you and head for the street or a dangerous
situation, he needs to turn back to you when he hears “Come!”
He will be saved from serious injuries or death, if he returns to you
immediately. Also, not jumping on
people and sitting for petting will endear your canine to everyone he meets. Finally, a dog that learns to walk nicely on a leash is
wonderful to walk. The easier it is
to walk the dog without constant pulling, the more often you will want to take
him out for exercise and play.
Regardless of whether you and your dog participate in shows or work
together for fun and bonding, you will encounter others who always have a story
about how much better their dog is than your’s.
People enjoy bragging about their children and dogs:
“Betsy was the youngest Boston Terrier to win Best of Show” or
“Basil was the youngest rat terrier to reach Mach 1 in agility.”
If your dog has a learning
curve of three repetitions when learning a new command or exercise, you will
find someone whose dog learns a command with one repetition.
It is wonderful it is for people to appreciate the accomplishments of
their beloved canines! However, my
Calavar Banjo Tune, Joe, trained himself to enjoy his Chicago
Tribune each morning
with his first bowl of water. Enough said!
for the next installment of “Herd It at the Water Bowl” in November 2006,
Michael can be e-mailed at: email@example.com.
Comments, questions, or suggestions for further articles are welcomed.