Biscuits & Bones

by Bob Self


Preview Some of Bob's Articles Below

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  • Saturday, February 01, 2014 12:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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 ratings@frontandfinish.com.  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 

  • Wednesday, January 01, 2014 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    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.

    To view more articles please visit our Member’s Page.

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