Sunday, February 9, 2014
AKC and other updates
My last post got a lot of response! Thanks to everyone who participated in the discussion about AKC and mixed breed/All American dogs. I posted a link to the blog on the AKC Facebook page with a comment about it being time that AKC opened up all performance events to all dogs and got a lot more mileage than I thought I would. In addition to oodles of likes and shares, it actually resulted in someone from the AKC offices reaching out to me. They asked me to contact them outside of Facebook at a specific e-mail address, so I did!
Penny from the AKC offices got back to me on Friday and asked for my phone number so we could chat. We went round and round trying to find a time that would work for both of us. It was starting to look like Friday would be futile, but I was antsy and curious about what she had to say so I didn't want to have to wait until Monday or Tuesday! Finally we were both able to find time around 3:00 p.m., so I found a spot away from my desk and waited for her call.
I felt it was a very productive conversation. If nothing else, it really solidified that AKC does care about their Canine Partners program and they are staffing people who are hardcore advocates for mixed breed dogs. Penny runs a couple of All American dogs herself, she tells me. Penny also shared with me the statistic that only about 3% of AKC agility trials exclude All American dogs today, which is a massive improvement from when the program first started.
Additionally, when the AKC offices hear from persons such as myself regarding clubs that do not accept All American entries, someone from the Canine Partners program will reach out to said clubs to ask questions. They are curious to know the reasons why a club might still choose to not accept these entries and they work with these clubs to see if they might be willing to change their policy in the future. Because of this, I encourage everyone to contact AKC every single time they see a trial that doesn't allow All Americans. Little by little we might be able to whittle that 3% down to 0%! I feel that AKC is likely headed towards a day where they don't give clubs the option to choose, and that will be wonderful for all.
Because we opted not to drive up to Minneapolis for the run-through this weekend (good thing, because it snowed yesterday and the roads weren't great), I decided to take the crew in for another ring rental at Family Dog Center. No surprise, but the course set-up was virtually unchanged from last week. I shuffled things around a little, added wings to a couple of jumps and drug out the broad jump. It occurred to me on the drive to La Crosse that Kizzy would see this next weekend and, to date, I think she's seen my broad jump once or twice and that's it. I didn't have anything to worry about, as she was fine with it.
This week we did more "fancy crap" to get in the right frame of mind for UKI. Basically this just means that I did fewer straight lines and more backsides, wraps, blinds and other fun stuff. Secret was pretty amazing on her turn, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how she likes those Champion courses next Saturday. I only asked for one set of weaves in her session and they were lovely, so I didn't drill those at all.
Kaiser was a good boy, too, if not a bit loopy. He was just so high that any time I went to set him up for a new exercise he'd just take off and start taking whatever was in front of him. I had to rein him in a little. :o) One interesting thing to note about Kaiser's wraps -- I've always known that he has an issue with back-jumping his wraps, but I seem to have figured something out. He doesn't back-jump when wrapping right, it's when we wrap left. I sat and did a figure-eight exercise with him for a bit on a winged jump and over and over and over again he'd bounce right back over the bar when turning to the left. I haven't figured out how to fix this, but at least now I see a pattern -- AND it's something I can keep in mind at trials for the time being.
I'm super pleased with Kizzy's training time yesterday. Her set of 12 weaves were super awesome, which is great since that's what she'll see at UKI in the Beginner classes. Her dog walk and a-frame were also really nice. The first couple of teeters were perfection, but then she started leaving off the side early.... I fixed it and rewarded for staying on until released, but I'm not sure where that came from. She stayed with me for both of her turns and stayed focused the whole time, which is super.
We have "additional" plans for our trip to Minneapolis this coming weekend. It's once again Target casting time for the Halloween costumes. This time they are not having an open call and are instead doing a "by invitation only" audition. I joked on Barbara's Facebook post that I want her to meet Kizzy one of these days, but that she needs a lot of work before we attempt it.
Well.... Today Barbara sent me a message and said that she'd like to try shooting Kizzy and could I bring Kaiser along, too. The auditions are Thursday and Friday, so I figured technically I could drive up on Friday to do the shoot and then stay over in a hotel -- which means I wouldn't have to get up at 3:00 a.m., which is kind of a bonus. There's also a good chance of snow in the forecast due to the temperatures warming up later in the week, so that's another reason not to chance driving in the wee hours of the morning.
So, we are all signed up and have our reservation at our favorite La Quinta. Too bad I just signed up for that La Quinta Rewards VISA card and don't have all of those bonus points to use yet.... Oh well. Hope the tax money comes soon. ;o) Meanwhile, I know what we'll be working on this week. The good news is that I took the little dogs into the basement tonight to work on our stay skills and Kizzy surprised me! I could actually back all the way across the room and she'd stay put! At this time I have very little control over her actual spot or the position she chooses to keep (sit vs down), but she is staying put so that's a start. It's a little embarrassing how little "obedience-type" work I've done with her to this point, I know.... We will continue to work this week, but it will be a while before she reaches Kaiser's level of professionalism. lol For instance, that pose he did last year where he has to sit and look back at the camera -- Kizzy? hahahaha Never.
But if they ever want a Klee Kai that needs to work with a model and be all cuddly, oh yeah, that would be Kizzy. Or bounce up and down with gleeful abandon. :o) We'll see how the shoot goes. Maybe we'll get lucky and Barbara will be set up to do shots on a table.