Past & Present Articles

*Alphabetical Listing*

2018 Dog Trainer’s Survey – Interpretation of the Results

During the week of November 12th through the 19th, 2018, Front & Finish presented a survey to the dog training community. The survey was opened to gain insight into current exhibitor participation and feelings about recent changes affecting the sports of obedience and rally. While information about a variety of registries was collected one primary focus of the study centered on the American Kennel Club.

2018 Front & Finish Dog Trainer’s Survey ~ Exhibitor Comments Part III

*** I feel that some of my answers are dependent on my present dog situation. I’ve only got two dogs; one who completed his titles before the changes to obedience were implemented and another, younger dog who dislikes obedience so we’re currently training in agility. I do own a heavy-bodied breed, though, and I don’t believe that the broad jump did any physical harm to either of the ones I trialed at the open level.

Advanced Rally Challenges

If you’d like to have some challenging Advanced Rally course practice, I’d like to offer some to you.

Advanced Rally Challenges

If you’d like to have some challenging Advanced Rally course practice, I’d like to offer some to you.

AKC Fix n Go Pilot Program

Effective April 1, 2021, the following pilot program is approved to begin: Chapter 2 Section 27. Training and Handling in the Ring.

AKC Museum Of The Dog Announces Upcoming Exhibit

Number one in our hearts! The AKC Museum of the Dog is pleased to announce its next exhibit. “Top Dogs” celebrates the American Kennel Club’s ten most popular breeds. This exhibit will open May 5th 2021 and will run through August 29th 2021.

Amazing Pictures

As dog trainers we appreciate all of the animals in the kingdom. These amazing pictures were emailed to us by a friend today and we thought we’d share them with you.

Animal Farm Foundation Launches Pets Together Program

Animal Farm Foundation has announced the launch of Pets Together, a free virtual program that allows those who are socially isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic to enjoy friendly interaction with pets (including dogs, cats, goats, horses, and other critters) and people. The goal of the program is to increase social connection and mitigate the loneliness that is a painful aspect of the pandemic.

April Comments

Seems like there’s a lot of controversy about the state of our sport today… Although social media increases the level of static, there’s always been active debate among the sport’s supporters.

Biden’s Dog Involved in Second Biting Incident

President Joe Biden’s younger dog Major this week was involved in a second biting incident of the month. The dog “nipped someone while on a walk” on Monday, said Michael LaRosa, press secretary to first lady Jill Biden, adding that the dog “is still adjusting to his new surroundings.”

Book Review: Emergence ~ by Ellie Beals

Ellie Beals, a top obedience competitor in Canada has written a thriller that will keep you turning pages well past bedtime and have you thinking about it long after the last page.

Book Review: Musings On A Balancing Act

As a collection of essays, this slim volume has the feel of a series of casual conversations with an experienced obedience competitor and instructor. Instead of discussing how to train particular exercises, Yunck shares her approach to training and trialing in stand-alone essays that run the gamut from weaning off food to dumbbell fit.

Canine Robots Replacing Real Therapy Dogs

Look at this press release that came across my desk… Robots Could Replace Real Therapy Dogs ~ Robotic animals could be the ‘pawfect’ replacement for our real-life furry friends, a new study published today by the University of Portsmouth has found. Animals, especially dogs, can have therapeutic benefits for children and young people. A new paper, published in The International Journal of Social Robotics, has found that the robotic animal, ‘MiRo-E’, can be just as effective and may even be a better alternative.

Coming Out of the Pandemic

We’re all aware how the past few months (dealing with the coronavirus), has changed our usual way of life. The pandemic has challenged us as never before, basically inflicting a social experiment on all of us. While change can be uncomfortable that doesn’t mean it’s bad or good. Just different.

Course Practice

If you’re interested in learning about AKC Rally, you may already have a dog that can do the required skills, as long as you, too, can perform the required skills. The hardest thing about Rally is for you, the handler, to perform the skills and know how to help your dog to do their part. If you make a mistake, so does your dog. Most of the deductions in Rally are caused by the Handler!!!

Dealing With Disappointment

Still excellent advice… If you do any kind of dog sport for any length of time, you soon learn that there is a lot of disappointment that goes along with playing the dog game. No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much you practice, on some days things just don’t go your way. How you deal with that disappointment can have a major impact on your attitude towards your hobby and your future success in the sport of dogs.
Let’s say that you’re going for an excellent leg.

Did You Double-Check the Judge’s Book?

The awards just concluded it’s time to head off to Dairy Queen. But wait! Do you know for sure if your score is entered correctly in the Judge’s Book and the math is correct?

Drilling for Motivation with Precision Paws

Years ago I was part of a drill team with my Golden retrievers and friends from our obedience school.  We had a wonderful time and many of the people from that team are still good friends today. 

First OTCH

As we just released our most recent OTCH listing this month we though the following article would be fun. Initially published in September 1977 Front & Finish. Russell Klipple and His Golden Retriever “Morland’s Golden Tonka UD” accumulated enough points to become the first obedience champion on Saturday, July 23, 1977. The following day Topbrass Cisco Kid and his owner, Pauline Czarnecki, earned their obedience championship.

Fix ‘n Go-Pilot Concept

Starting April 1, the AKC instituted a new Fix ‘n Go program in obedience competition. This may be the single most important rule change that I have witnessed in my 50 years of participating in this sport.

For The Love of Showing

Philia is non-romantic love between equals or a love for activities. Ai means the love of things or activities. These two words don’t begin to tell the story how I fell in love with showing.

Get Off My Property!

I love doing obedience as a sport and I’ve been lucky enough to own biddable dogs. I’m proud of my dogs when people stop to watch my training, while marveling at the things they are doing. Even though my working dogs impress those who adore their pets, but aren’t really interested in formal obedience I am aware that I still have a long, long way to go to get to reach the top of the competitive obedience ladder.

How Has COVID Affected Pet Adoptions

To say that 2020 has been a difficult year is an understatement. The COVID pandemic disrupted the lives of millions of Americans, forcing them into their homes.

How I Began Teaching Directed Jumping ~ Part II

Last month focused on an in-depth explanation of how to begin teaching directed jumping for the Utility Directed Jumping Exercise. This month’s video provides a full demonstration.

In Memory of Rick

Rick was a beautiful dog in every way. He was sweet, mischievious, and full of life. He was the first puppy I raised with a dog door, and he drug many, many objects out in to the dog run the first few years of his life.

Judging The Giants

If you are considering judging obedience one very important factor is to be fair and consistent to all dogs that enter your ring.

March Comments

It can be challenging to provide support via email but we’re so lucky to be working with dog trainers.  They naturally accept that growth doesn’t occur along a smooth linear path. 

My Journey through the Pandemic Via Trick Dogs

This article is not meant to be a lesson on how to obtain a trick dog championship. It is just the tale of my journey during the summer of 2020. A Canadian, senior, who loves playing and working with her dogs.

My Lifetime of Perfect Pets

During the month of May, Front & Finish celebrates pets. For me this seemed to be a perfect time to celebrate my own pets and to share with others some of the joy they have brought me and my family.

New Beginnings

Remember Y2K? This one goes back a few years but their’s still some practical advice for Agility enthusiasts. ~ ~ ~ Welcome to Y2K! May this be a year full of fun and success for you and your agility teammate. The beginning of a New Year always makes us think of starting over fresh, beginning with a clean slate. So, in that spirit, let’s talk about starting off right with a new agility-prospect puppy. We get lots of questions from people who have never done agility before, but who want to do all the right things with their new pup. So, for those new handlers and new dogs here are a few good basics.

Nosework, Obedience, & Rally

I am the program manager for the United Kennel Club (UKC) for Nosework, Obedience and Rally. UKC is a Kalamazoo, Michigan-based company founded in 1898 and is the largest All-Breed performance-dog registry in the world, registering dogs from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries.

Obedience for Field Dogs ~ with Adele Yunk

I was at a field training day for retrieving breeds where one of the group leaders said, “Now you see why it’s so important to do field work with your young dog, and save the obedience until later, because they can do that when they’re older.” I just bit my tongue…

One Standard of Judging, or Double Standard?

There are three(3) important sections in Chapter 2 of the Obedience Regulations that help define good judging, and should be kept in mind at all times if you choose to judge.

Our Target Group

It is a constant dilemma in our sport: How do we cultivate new participants? Clearly, exposure is a primary requirement for recruiting new handlers to join us. People can’t become interested in something if they don’t know it exists. News and television coverage reach a lot of people who might want to train their dogs. Unfortunately, the catch 22 is that you generally can’t get such coverage unless people already want to see it. So we have to find other ways to increase our exposure to the public. If we don’t, Obedience may slowly fade into history.

Performance Rings And The Trials Within Them

It is such a pleasure to stand at ringside being witness to a beautifully working team as they navigate around a rally course or follow the judge’s commands while making obedience look so easy. We know it isn’t just luck that got them to this point, let alone qualify with impressive scores.

Pilot Program Starting April 1st 2021

The Board VOTED to amend Chapter 2, Section 27 of the Obedience Regulations to allow obedience handlers to use the ‘Fix n’ Go’ option while performing in the ring at obedience trials when a dog’s performance does not meet their expectation. The ‘Fix n’ Go’ concept allows the team to reattempt one individual exercise, and then leave the ring.

Q&A To Covid-19 On The AKC Blog

As our shows are coming around and getting back into the swing of things, have you kept up to date with the AKC Obedience/Rally blog

Rally Call Sign Exercises

This is the 3rd in a series of the 2021 Advanced Rally articles. We’ll be discussing the seven (7) AKC Rally CALL sign exercises, and how they work. CALL signs are used as distance markers. They show a handler the distance they are to move to continue with the current sign.

Repetition, Schmepetition

There’s no substitute for repetition in learning. How many times do athletes run drills? How much practice does it take to get to the Olympics? How much work does it take to earn an OTCH?

RNC & NOC In The Age of COVID-19

AKC had to cancel the RNC and NOC in July due to CoVid 19, but shifted it to Orlando in December 2020 replacing the AKC Classic. It is an interesting time to compete in dog events of any kind.

Southside Entry 512!!

How it used to be… Southside All-Breed Dog Training Club Inc. held their 24th Annual Obedience Trial on October 31st, 1971, on the main floor of the spacious Amphitheatre in Chicago Illinois.
There was no witchcraft involved, but we were bewitched with an entry of 512, comprised of 420 dogs.  Entries represented the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, and Iowa participated with n69 different breeds of dogs entered.  Tied for first place for the largest entry were German Shepherd Dogs and Poodles with 76 dogs each.

Stuff Happens

Because of the Pandemic, AKC laid off a substantial percentage of their staff and workers. The remaining staff must be overwhelmed trying to keep up amid the chaos. I have always counted on AKC to process the results of my efforts (scores from events), record and send the titles we’ve earned, and they have done a spectacular job.

The Zoom Zone

Zooming. Most of us have heard the term. A dog running in big circles around his handler while the handler feels helpless to stop or control the behavior. 

Training At Home

Struggling to find a place to train? Days are short, buildings shut, classes cancelled. If you’re feeling discouraged you’re not alone!

Training Tip for the Broad Jump

This is a maintenance concept I teach my dogs while learning the Broad Jump. It keeps their return to me after landing nice and tight.

UKC Rally Program

In this issue, I would like to introduce the UKC Rally Program. The revised program went into effect on July 2, 2020 with the addition of many new signs and a completely new level.

Using A “V” To Get A Better Broad Jump

Using a “V” technique will help to prevent your dog from getting into the habit of cutting the corner of the broad jump. It will also give your dog more arch and ensure he takes the middle.

Virtual AKC ~ Training & Titling in the Time of COVID-19

Many of us are still not able to get out and about with our dogs due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Fortunately, there are some wonderful activities and titling opportunities in which we can participate while we wait for trials and shows to fully reopen around the country.

What “Stay” Means

A reasonable amount of time is devoted to teaching our dogs to hold a position, which we usually term “stay” or “wait”. I used to teach both stay and wait. Stay meant to hold the position, no matter what. Wait meant to hold the position until otherwise directed. My first Boxer truly understood the difference between the two commands.

What Is AKC Scent Work?

Scent Work is a sport where the dog locates an odor and communicate that it has found the odor to its handler. AKC held the first Scent Work trial in September 2017.

What is Your Definition of Success?

I’ve been competing with my 20 month old puppy in Open A. Until we started Open, I could say Daisy had never NQed on anything. Well, I can’t say that anymore. There’s a reason Open A is referred to as the heart-break class. Arguably, it is the biggest jump in training your dog will ever make.

What to Carry in Your Judge’s Case?

A judge’s case is comprised of ones tools of the trade. Many of the items needed for judging are supplied by the judge. It s NOT the obligation of a club, Superintendent or Show Secretary to provide anything other than:

When to Tackle What

How do you determine when to start teaching which skill? Figuring out the differences are part of the adventure, and it’s what keeps us growing as trainers.

Why Do We Own Dogs?

Approximately forty-two percent of all households own a dog and there are over seventy-five million individuals who own dogs. While dogs are one of the most beloved companions of man, the majority of owner’s don’t train dogs.

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