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I’d like to welcome Laurie to our list of capable writers. Laurie has a love of our sport, a unique perspective, and a gift of humor that many of you will enjoy. Greetings Laurie!
We will soon consolidate the F&F email addresses to help fight junk mailers and make things easier for subscribers. Too many spammers have acquired our addresses because we have been publishing them for so many years. As a result we are bombarded daily with these useless messages and it makes finding valid correspondence very difficult. In the future we will also be implementing some strategies on our website to help alleviate this problem in the future. For those wishing to contact me personally or to submit copy for submission please email email@example.com. For other matters please write our general email address firstname.lastname@example.org .
I was fortunate enough to be able to judge the Companion DTC of Flint over the Easter weekend. The members of this club worked so hard to put on a pleasurable event and all exhibitors were such a joy to work with! From my vantage point every exhibitor accepted responsibility for their dogs and I didn't hear a single excuse about "why my dog did that". The novice entries were up, which to me was a gratifying shocker! These folks know how to do it right. For a minute there I could've sworn I was attending one of those trials my dad used to talk about.
In looking at the variety of training problems most new exhibitors face it appears that the lion's share would be eliminated or reduced if they would spend a few minutes establishing voice control over their dogs. When I speak of this concept to new trainers it's apparent that many haven't heard of it or have given it any consideration. This is sad because obedience training would be so much easier for these newcomers if they would simply spend a little time training attention and incorporating voice control into their training regimens.
I have so much respect for individuals who train by themselves and go to a trial to see what they can do, but so much remorse for those who receive incompetent instruction and are sent to trials unprepared. The former likely have enough spunk to walk away from the trial satisfied they gave it their best. The latter may walk away embarrassed because they relied on some nincompoop's tutelage. Where did all the good common sense instructors go?
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The 2015 AKC Obedience Classic and the AKC Agility Invitational took place December 12-13, 2015 in conjunction with the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, demonstrating the highest level of training and teamwork between dog and handler. Obedience and agility competitions for junior handlers were held for the fifth year, and an AKC Rally® Junior competition was held for the second year.
AKC Obedience Classic
Four obedience dogs and their owners – one dog/handler team in each of the four classes – were crowned at the AKC Obedience Classic, which brought together 217 dogs from across the country and beyond.
Placing first in their class (Novice, Open, Utility and Masters respectively) were:
AKC Agility Invitational
Five agility dogs and their owners – one dog/handler team in each of the five height categories – were crowned as the 2015 winners of the AKC Agility Invitational, which brought together more than 700 dogs from across the country and beyond.
Placing first in their height division (8", 12", 16", 20" and 24" respectively) were:
AKC Juniors Obedience/Rally Classic
Juniors who participated in the AKC Juniors Classic competed in Obedience and/or AKC Rally®.
In Obedience, Juniors competed in two divisions (Obedience Junior Titled (OJT) – where the Junior earned all the titles on the dog that met the requirements and Obedience Junior Handled (OJH) – where the Junior may handle any dog that met the requirements). The Juniors competed in the Beginner Novice, Preferred Novice and Preferred Open classes twice, based on their AKC obedience accomplishments.
Placing first in their divisions were:
Obedience Junior Titled (OJT)
Obedience Junior Handler (OJH)
Placing first in their class were:
AKC Juniors Agility Competition
Juniors who participated in the AKC Juniors Agility Competition competed in either the Junior Excellent or Superior Classes, depending on whether they had achieved an agility title.
Placing first in their height division (8", 12", 16", 20" and 24" respectively) in the Junior Excellent class were:
Placing first in their height division (8”, 12”, 16", 20" and 24" respectively) in the Junior Superior class were:
A blind man goes Christmas shopping and drops into a department store with his seeing eye dog. Beyond the store’s Christmas tree, the manager notices the blind man pick up the dog and begin swinging it over his head at the end of the leash. Completely shocked the manager knocks over the tree as he runs to the blind shopper and says “Sir! Sir! Do we have a problem here? Can I help you with anything?” The blind man replies very calmly, “No thank you. I’m just taking a look around.”
Future Rating System Publication
At this time we are seeking input from the fancy to see if there’s a better way to provide rating reports in a more timely manner. One of the issues is that we must wait for each competition year to end before tabulations can be completed. In short, we can’t begin publishing any results until all of the data can be received, proofed, calculated, and formatted for publication. Understandably everyone wants the results they are interested in to be published first. But, as the old adage goes, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
Nevertheless we want to do a better job of pleasing the most exhibitors and the following idea has been proposed. We are very interested in your thoughts!
As the idea has been suggested, F&F issues could be remodeled into a format and schedule where rating reports would be published in separate issues on a much faster schedule than they are now. Typically we have all of our data around the first or second week of February in any given year. Allowing four to six weeks for tabulating and formatting, we would begin publishing individual reports sometime in March and follow approximately every ten days to two weeks with an additional report. The goal would be to provide subscribers with all reports by midyear.
In making such a change the question remains as to how we would handle the continuation of our training articles and other content. As I mentioned in Biscuits & Bones (on page 3), most trial news now appears through social media outlets such as Facebook. As such it’s no surprise that much of this subject matter is no longer covered in many magazines. If we were to condense all of our issues into the first six months of a year we would need to provide any remaining content by publishing it through our membership website.
Several years ago we attempted to move to a website format for our articles but subscribers didn’t care for it as much as the magazine format. Therefore we switched back. Since that time technology has advanced significantly, especially with the advent of smartphone and tablet technology. As these devices are all now compatible with our website this makes us wonder if the time might be right to look at this option again.
There would be several advantages in publishing articles through our website versus the magazine format. First of all it would offer more continuity as articles would be published along threads making them easier to follow. Second, content could be published in a more timely manner (i.e. as it comes in rather than waiting for monthly issues). Third, as articles would be maintained on our website this information would remain available to subscribers without the need to save issues. Going back to find this information would also be easier than flipping back through issues. Fourth, subscribers could elect whether they want (or don’t want), to receive notifications when new material is published.
The downside of web publication is that subscribers would need an Internet connection in order to access their content. While such material could be printed or saved to a computing device, in daily practice this isn’t always done. Today most people consume information on the fly. They read it and move on. With advances in technology most exhibitors have consistent Internet connections through their portable devices so it’s less problematic that it once was. This is one of the main reasons social media is such a success.
So to summarize, if we were to make the aforementioned changes the following would be occur.
As previously indicated we are sincerely interested in your feedback! You are always welcome to email us you opinions. If you wish to do this please send your comments to email@example.com. Optionally we are going to prepare a short, easy to complete survey for exhibitors to provide this feedback. No decisions have been made and we will not be making any rush to judgements. Our only goal here is to provide the support you desire!
We are contemplating a big change to the publication of our ratings next year and I’d be interested in your opinion. The idea is to run two separate F&F issues with all of the obedience ratings published in one and all of the rally breakdowns in a second. We feel this would please everyone more since no one would have to wait months to see their results. Publishing our ratings in one volume would also offer more continuity since comparisons would easier to make across individual dogs, breeds, and groups. Do you like this idea? Email me or add your comment below!
I’m guessing by now that most canine enthusiasts are aware of the heinous Dog Meat Festival held in Yulin China. We want to add our voice to the thousands of others protesting this barbaric act. Describing such an event as a festival is incomprehensible and we abhor this inhumane treatment of our beloved companions.
It would be easy to point our finger at all Chinese citizens but not all of them approve of this behavior. One lady by the name of Du Yufeng is doing what she can to rescue as many dog and cats from the event as possible. Du Yufeng has set up a shelter for these animals but it is costly for her to care for so many. Please consider donating to her cause by visiting http://boaianimalcentre.weebly.com/yulin-dog-meat-festival.html. Note that much of the information on this website is difficult to view! No doubt it will require the efforts of many sources to avert this appalling tradition but we applaud Du Yufeng for her actions in saving the animals she can.
Written by Bob Self Jr.
I am so excited to report that our Front & Finish ratings are back! As most readers are aware, last year was especially difficult as we unexpectedly lost the statistician who provided our rating system breakdowns. Since then we earnestly tried locating another resource, but frustrations mounted in our attempts. It appeared we would no longer be able to provide this service to the fancy, and very regrettably, I had given up hope.
November 27, 2013
On November 27th I received an email from a gentleman named David Pluth of Chaska Minnesota. As several others had before, David offered to look into the problem. My thoughts at the time were, “Sure you will! As soon as I explain what’s involved you’ll turn hightail and run just like the rest. Maybe I’ll get r…e…a…l… lucky this time and you’ll at least have the character to write me back. Even if just to say “You’re insane!”
December 2, 2013
As I recall it took me about a week to respond to Dave’s email. It was December 2nd. I finally sent him some preliminary info. I mean… even though I was skeptical I didn’t want to scare him off unnecessarily. I recall that Dave responded very quickly. More so I remember his response being unexpectedly positive. His words, “This is not a big problem Bob!” are still imprinted on my heart.
February 1, 2014
The dates above are important to recognize! In under two months, Dave has done what no one has ever done before. With modest character he reports that it really isn’t such a big deal. However… from my perspective his efforts are magnificently monumental! For me personally, the most enjoyable component of the project was simply discussing it with Dave. He just understood! While we’ve yet to utter a single word over the phone, Dave’s experience with obedience, rally, and agility made communications simple, straightforward, and gratifying. As I’d previously worked with programmers that knew nothing about our sport, this element was more enjoyable to me than a dog enjoying the flavor of it’s own butt. More so, Dave maintains a sincere appreciation for the dog training arts, and his motivation to complete this work FOR the exhibitors, AND in record time has been thrilling to witness.
Due to Dave’s impressive capabilities, genuine efforts, and sincere love of dogs we are now able to move forward and begin publishing the 2013 competition year ratings. Not only WILL we do so, we ARE doing so in this issue! This is heads & tails above anything we have ever been able to do before! It is with sincere appreciation that I extend my most sincere gratitude to Dave Pluth for the kindness he has extended to us and the fancy we serve.
At this point we have protocols for all obedience and rally tabulations in place. More so, Dave has devised some new ways to look at the event data. We are still considering optional ideas for agility comparisons and we hope to provide more information on this in the future. For now, this issue contains the Novice Rating breakdowns based on the Delaney point system. For those new to the ratings, and those wanting an update on the tabulation protocols, we have listed them along with the breakdowns published elsewhere in this issue.
Finally, if the former news isn’t enough to astonish you, be it known that Dave has graciously agreed to become our new Ratings Editor. In this area Dave has devised a protocol by which we can more efficiently respond to any queries regarding a particular dog’s breakdown. Just email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Personally I hope you take a few seconds to let Dave know how much we appreciate his dedication in making all of this possible. He is the one person who deserves all of the credit! Thank you Dave!
As always, I am posting this editorial on our our Facebook group located at
Written by Bob Self
Welcome to 2014. The years keep rolling along and obedience popularity keeps struggling along. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times where many individuals opt for faster rewards than obedience can provide? Maybe it’s a desire for activities that eliminate the repetition required for obedience training? Possibly it’s a greater demand for events which offer more exhilarating competition? Maybe changes are needed that don’t force average trainers to compete against master exhibitors? Perchance subjectivity in judging is an issue? Conceivably the need for knowledgeable instructors who are dedicated to the obedience game, and motivated to prepare beginners for the ring is a concern? For all one knows it could be a need for more cultured leadership who are sensitive to the needs of those supporting the fancy?
Like most problems, answers usually require attention to countless factors and resolution is often slow. Obedience in it’s current state has existed for some time now. Occasionally we hear news about exciting growth in entires at a trial, increased membership at a club, or triumphs at a tournament. But the overall picture has shown little significant growth in participants.
I’m now comfortable with the idea that obedience will continue to exist in it’s niche. Those who sincerely support the sport are robust in their determination to maintain it’s existence. Sadly though, exhibitors have become accustomed to the fact that obedience is small and many measure success according to the notion it’s supposed to be that way. No doubt I often overlook this view but I can’t help believing in the importance of obedience training and the concept that it should be the foundation for all canine activities. Not everything is logical but I find it ironic that other canine events don’t seem to feel the same way.
I have posted this editorial on our our Facebook group located at https:www.facebook.com/groups/frontandfinish/. Please feel free to chime in and leave your opinion.
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