Biscuits & Bones

By Bob Self Jr.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • Monday, February 26, 2018 9:25 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Written by Robert Self

    When heeling properly, the dog is initially taught to walk with its shoulder opposite the trainer’s left leg. Later the dog will be trained to sit when the trainer halts, but for now it is only learning the heel position.

    When teaching the dog to walk with the handler it is very critical that the dog starts on the trainer’s initial motion. The dog must be taught to do this or it will be behind the trainer’s leg on the very first step!  Furthermore it will throw all subsequent motions out of position. To teach the initial movement the trainer (1) places their left hand at the proper leash position, (2) commands “Heel,” and (3) starts the motion of the left leg with (4) the left hand shooting straight forward so there is an automatic leash correction. With an energetic voice the handler immediately praises “ Atta Dog", "That’s it!” Repeated presentations of the above teaches the dog to move forward instantly on the command, and to key on the motion of the trainer’s leg.

    Remember from previous discussions that to be effective, only small errors can be corrected.  Therefore the trainer must pay close attention to the dog and make leash corrections as quickly as a mistake is observed.  The hand holding the lead should move only 6-8 inches in the direction of the correction.  This is the largest correction that really should be attempted. Keep in mind that the average human reaction time is about three quarters of a second.  No one can make a correction instantly so trainers should learn to anticipate errors.  One way to prepare yourself to anticipate mistakes is by knowing that dogs who make mistakes in training will almost certainly repeat the mistakes when the same opportunity presents itself again.  Therefore by creating similar training situations a trainer can be prepared for the dog's error.

    Often times when training a handler will miss the opportunity to make an appropriate leash correction.  Experienced trainers know it's better to accept the missed opportunity but novice handlers will often try to "catch up" by making a bigger correction.  This is ineffective training which could possibly cause an injury to the dog.  If the dog gets a foot or more out of position, you're no longer making heeling corrections but controlled walking corrections.  You shouldn't be moving the dog's weight by trying to jerk it into position.  You should be making controlled tweaks of the leash that the dog feels but doesn't fear.  The leash corrections allow the dog to learn where it should be walking in relation to its handler.

    The dog has learned to pay attention on the sit and accept praise and the sit stay exercises. It is now important that the dog learn to pay attention while heeling, for an inattentive dog cannot heel well.

    One of the best ways to teach attention while heeling is to do right turns every time the dog demonstrates an inattentive behavior. While heeling the trainer closely observes the dog, and when the dog looks away he immediately does a right turn, gives a quick leash correction, and praises lavishly. The trainer should be making the right turn an enjoyable game rather than a brusque correction.

    Should the dog lag slightly behind the handler’s leg, a forward correction is applied, which causes the dog to move forward.  Often times it is very helpful for the trainer to briefly accelerate their forward speed simultaneously at the time of the correction.  This stimulates the dog to speed up into position and reduces any harsh corrections that need to be made.  Again... Remember... You cannot effectively correct a large mistake!  If the dog has fallen into a lag that is a foot or more behind the trainer, it would be considered a controlled walking error and corrected accordingly by turning round, walking backward, and popping on the leash until the dog is in the controlled walking position.

    In teaching dogs to heel it is common for some dogs to go wide, increasing the space between dog and trainer. This is corrected by a leash correction toward the trainer as they simultaneously step directly away from the dog.   NEVER MOVE TOWARD an error as this compensates for the dog’s mistake. Instead move opposite of the mistake so the error is intensified to the extent that the dog discovers it has occurred.  This improves the dog's learning and helps it to avoid repetition of the same mistake.

    As some dogs show a tendency to heel wide others will lean against the trainer's leg when walking.  In this situation no corrections are applied at this stage of training. It is a good fault because the dog is learning it should be walking at the trainer’s left leg. When crowding occurs the trainer should merely lift his left leg a little higher than normal while walking. This will cause a noticeable interference between handler and dog, causing the dog eventually to move over, allowing freedom of motion between the team.

  • Friday, February 02, 2018 1:10 PM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    By Bob Self

    Note:  This post is dedicated to my good friend Nancy Speed!

  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 12:08 PM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no one's around to hear him, is he still a bad dog?

    Group Exercises

    There continues to be discussion regarding the safety of group exercises.  Most agree that this is a important skill for dogs to learn and good trainers who have developed voice control over their dogs can train the exercise well.  However concerns continue to impart that we see an ever-increasing number of dogs breaking during the stay exercises and this causes danger to other dogs in the group.  Whether there is actually a increasing number of dog-on-dog attacks is in question because few of us have access to the data tracking these situations.  Nevertheless it makes sense that if there are a greater number of dogs breaking the stays, there would be a greater probability of attacks.  The “face validity” that these exercises are dangerous is not good for the sport.  Whether experienced or novice, a good trainer or bad, we all share the same concerns over our dogs getting involved in a fight.  It is not a positive situation and I have changed my opinion.

    Like most I continue to believe the stays an important skill for dogs to learn but given the sensitivities of exhibitors nowadays it appears that something must be done.  If for no other reason than the perception of danger is not healthy for the sport.  Suggestions have been offered to make group exercises safer while still demonstrating that dogs can perform the skill.  Personally I find these remediation's less than adequate substitutes.

    Keep leashes on dogs during the stays.  This suggestion appears to be an inadequate solution to me.  I doubt that having a leash on will deter all dogs from breaking and/or engaging in battle.  Especially those dogs who are now causing the problems.  Furthermore I'm not confident that trainers who can't train reliable stays now will suddenly have the ability to do so if a lead is attached.  Even if handlers can grab/hold the leashes, it would still be difficult to pull fighting dogs apart.  Anyone witnessing a dog attack is aware that once dogs latch on to each other, many don’t release easily.  Beyond that, it is still an alarming spectacle for anyone to witness.  Unless we require 8' leads with dogs spaced10' apart this appears to be a poor solution.  And... one that wouldn't really demonstrate the intent of the exercise anyhow.

    Taking the dog to a separate location to perform stays.  Some suggest doing these exercises in separate rings independently or grouped farther apart.  While this idea might improve the situation it will only take one incident to reinstate the alarming concern.  As well, obedience already appears idle enough as it is and I'm not sure this idea will make it more effective.

    Stay and walk.  Various versions of the exercise where handlers leave their dogs on a stay and then walk around the ring have been suggested.  In my eyes this doesn’t appear to be a valuable substitute for the groups.  If we were going to do that, why not leave the dog on a recall exercise, have the judge pause with the handler at the opposite end of the ring, and then order the handler to call the dog.  Optionally you could have the handler walk around the ring to a point where the dog could be called.  Combining recalls with the stay would be a more efficient solution while performing them separately makes little sense and only duplicates the idea that the dog must stay until the handler performs the next act (calling the dog or going to the dog).  This idea will make obedience appear more lethargic.

    Discussions about creating a substitute exercise for the stays indicates that exhibitors feel they are an important skill for dogs to demonstrate.  For what it appears to matter in today’s obedience, dogs are already demonstrating that they must stay during recalls, examinations, retrieves, go-outs, broad jumps, and signals.  If we want to make stays safer I recommend that we eliminate group exercises entirely and replace them with a more-in-depth exercise performed while the dog is initially in the ring. 

    As mentioned, one of my thoughts would include a longer pause within one of the aforementioned exercises (retrieves, recalls, jumps, signals, exams, etc.).  Perhaps this could pause could be implemented at the judges discretion?  Optionally having handlers walk a longer, indirect path, on the recalls could demonstrate a dog's capability to stay.  Again, this path could be implemented at a judge's discretion.

    My personal preference would be to include a more complex examination exercise.  This type of exercise would demonstrate what most handlers appear to believe.... "that a dog should be able to stay in place while another human approaches and touches it."  According to the regulations as they are today, no dog is required to be examined or touched at all during the open exercises.  Unless a judge measures a dog's jump height, no one examines them after novice until (AND unless), they get to utility.  Sometimes that's a looong time!  Why not create an exercise that continues to build on a skill the dog learned in novice?   Why not create an exercise that continues to demonstrate a dog's ability (AND stability) to stay and be touched by another human?

    Everybody appears to want a safer obedience.  Everybody appears to want a friendlier sport.  Society has changed and the sport must change to keep in stride.  Perhaps it’s time to eliminate the groups and remove this monkey from the back of obedience.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Wednesday, March 01, 2017 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Happy St. Pat's Day!

    Sometimes I wonder about owners who impart human characteristics onto their dogs but I gotta concede this picture's a hoot.

    New Subscription Option

    I received several questions about the planned lower cost subscription option mentioned in my last column.  We are still working on it but don't want to unveil it until we've posted enough content on for subscribers to get started.  It shouldn't be much long now and we'll notify all F&F friends when it is available.  As indicated in the last issue, the new option will be much more affordable while giving subscribers access to the same content we publish in the magazine.  And YES... the ratings will be included as well!  We sincerely feel that most will like it because it will be easier to navigate and read, especially on smartphones!


    I am delighted to bring the fancy our first report in this issue.  This year we are starting with the Open A Ratings which you'll find later in this issue.

    For those who don't realize, quite a bit of work goes into the publication of our rating system data.  A few individuals who work behind the scenes to make our reports possible don't get the recognition they deserve.  Their efforts are deeply appreciated!

    Rob Garrett works for the AKC's technology department and has been our go to guy to provide the raw data we need to tabulate the rating results.  Rob has always been extremely prompt and responsive in meeting our requests for this information.  Many years ago volunteers maintained these records manually and it required untold hours of work to tabulate the findings.  Later we hired secretaries to manually enter the data into a computer system to tabulate the results.    Rob's efforts in providing this material has saved us much of the manual work that was so time consuming and error prone.  Rob recognizes how important this information is to the fancy and he has always been highly attentive in providing accurate data for us to tabulate.  Thank you Rob!

    Dave Pluth is another marvel supporting our rating reports.  Dave provides the tabulated results out of the goodness of his heart.  I envy his adept skills in designing the data system that calculates and sorts the data for us to publish.  With Dave's "techie talents" I'd expect him to be kind of a geeky character.  Working with him the past two years had made me realize what a kind hearted "normal" fellow he is.  Always responsive to help and enjoyable to communicate with, we owe Dave a heartfelt "Thank You"!

    Nancy Speed will probably kill me for including her here but she's a deserving lady entitled to recognition!  The data we receive doesn't provide complete owner or contact information so it can be difficult to know exactly who the handlers are, or how to get ahold of them.  Nancy has led the pack in extending a helping hand anytime we've asked for help.  In genuine kindness to support the sport, and with concern helping handlers receive the recognition they deserve, I know Nancy has spent considerable time hunting these individuals down.  I suspect she has FBI connections somewhere because she has yet to fail!  Asking nothing in return Nancy does this to help all of us.  What a gem!  

    By the way... 
    Nancy & I have had a hoot watching April's delivery on the Internet.  Thanks for being my video pal!

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Wednesday, February 01, 2017 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Dogs & Cats
    Do you know what the difference is between dogs & cats?   A dog thinks, “Wow, the humans are bringing me food every day, they let me live in a nice house away from the cold, they take care of my every need… They must be gods!”
    The cat thinks, “Wow, the humans bring me food every day, they have me live in a nice house away from the cold, they take care of my every need… I must be God!”

    Velma Janek
    The sport of dogs has lost one of the greatest dog trainers, competitors, and judges of all time.  In early January Velma Janek passed away peacefully.  Velma enjoyed a number of hobbies but you could always count on a dog being close by.  In our circles she was always known as a keen supporter of obedience and countless exhibitors benefited from her experience which she conveyed through personal assistance and seminars.  We are deeply saddened to lose this fine lady of our  sport.

    New Subscription Service
    We have been working behind the scenes on an additional subscription service to offer subscribers at a much lower cost.  We are happy to announce that this additional subscription option will become available this February.  We will send email notices and include posts on our social media Facebook & Twitter accounts when everything is ready.

    To the point, the new “Website Subscriptions” will give exhibitors access to the same content we publish through our magazine “Issue Subscriptions”.  But instead of accessing PDF issue files, website subscribers will receive their articles directly on our website.  Subscribers will be able to view material by author as well as search by topic of interest.  Searches will run across all content on the website so you’ll be able to find needed info much easier than hunting issue-by-issue (as is needed now).
    A second advantage to the website format is that we will be able to post current material much faster than we can with monthly issue releases.  Some of this information will be available to website subscribers before it appears in our regular issues.

    There are advantages to both types of accounts so we will be piloting the new format for a year to see how everyone likes it.  For now we’re taking it step-by-step but other ergonomic benefits will be forthcoming in future months.  We understand the new format won’t satisfy everybody’s taste but we hope everyone will give it a look.  While we are getting up to speed on this we’re offering an introductory price for Website Subscribers at only $12.75 a year.  That’s about a buck a month and over twenty-two dollars less than our digital issue cost!  Those wishing to opt for Issue Subscriptions, and all current subscribers will receive the Website Subscription service at no extra charge.

    Stone City Trial
    At the beginning of the year I was fortunate to be able to judge the Stone City Kennel Club Trial.  They had a neat idea that I seen a couple of time but wonder why more clubs don’t do this to make things a bit friendlier for exhibitors.  Stone City offered an “NQ Raffle”.  Those who ND’d were able to put their names in to win a prize.  What an easy idea to make our sport friendlier for those who had a bit of misfortune in the ring.  If you have other ideas please let me know and I’ll be sure to post your thoughts as well.

    Facebook Group Moderator
    A few subscribers have asked why we aren’t maintaining a FaceBook group for F&F anymore.  We did in the past but lost our moderator so it was discontinued.  We’d be happy to resurrect the F&F group again if one or two individuals would be willing to act as moderators.  The moderator would need to check in to the group on a regular basis to accept new members and help maintain order.  If interested just contact me at and we’ll work out any details to make the experience efficient and enjoyable for all.  If you’re willing to help out we’ll include a free subscription and advertising for any events/services you want to promote.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Sunday, January 01, 2017 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Happy New Year

    We would like to welcome all of our new subscribers who participated in our holiday subscription drive.  As well we want to wish all of our readers a happy and prosperous new year.  Several members took advantage of our discounted gift subscription offer and we would like to express an extra special appreciation for your kind and generous support.  Your thoughtfulness supports the entire sport of obedience.  Thank you!

    Kaitlyn & Poirot

    I was fortunate to be able to judge at the Crown Classic Show in Cleveland last month.  As a judge one never knows what they will encounter when  attending an event.  Most times these events turn out to be exceptional pleasures creating lifelong memories.  One of these incidents happened to me when I met Kaitlyn Johnson, a young exhibitor participating at these trials.

    To me Kaitlyn represents the exact kind of individual we need in this sport.  She demonstrated an enthusiastic interest in our sport and a strong desire to participate to her best ability.  Not only was this evident but I was so impressed to learn that she decided to bump up to a higher level class and give it a shot.  A lot of experienced exhibitors don’t display this kind of zealous attitude.

    Katilyn inspired me because it proves that there are people out there who find obedience attractive and worthwhile.  With all of the talk about depressing numbers in our sport, pointless changes to the regulations, meaningless classes attempting to boost entries, and a whole host of other problems; the potential for increase in obedience does exist.  They are out there folks!  The question is, can we inspire them to stay?  

    The focus of obedience should not be on changes to exercises, standardizing judging, and imitation classes.  There is really nothing wrong with traditional obedience and attempts to fix what wasn’t broke hasn’t and won’t provide increase to this sport!  Obedience needs a more progressive attitude in supporting the people that sustain this sport.  The emphasis should be on the exhibitors not the entries.

    Obedience can quickly become rigid and mechanical.  This doesn’t readily present a picture of attractiveness to many and adding more administrative overhead only increases the problem.  It’s about time we start to emphasize the attractiveness, kinship, and fun obedience offers.

    Recognition Field Editors Wanted

    I was recently asked why we no longer publish a correspondent’s section in F&F and I promised to report on this.  With advances in faster communication nowadays periodicals have had to make significant changes to the content they publish.  Today in obedience most trial announcements are online before the show is even over.  In short it would be impossible for us to publish trial news that wasn’t already outdated.  

    We do encourage submissions about worthy individuals and groups in our sport but perhaps we can do a better job?  Many supporters perform impressive feats and discharge hours of dedicated service yet these contributions go unrecognized.  Many enterprising clubs and schools that have earned accomplishments and promote ideas that we could all learn from.  Again, many of these stories go untold, and certainly so on a national level..

    We are currently looking for someone that would be interested in becoming a field editor for submissions of recognition.  In short the duties would be to help us locate individuals and clubs to highlight, request and schedule submissions, proof the results and submit them to us for publication.  If interested please email me at and we’ll work out the details.  We like simple and don’t want this to be a burden but we do need an individual who has the inclination to do it well.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Thursday, September 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Taking a look at the AKC's recent annual statistics is a good exercise for any obedience enthusiast.  It may not lead anyone into euphoria about the future of our sport, but it will provide a sense of reality, and in some cases feelings of anxiety.

    Noting that the AKC is forthcoming with their statistics they are to be congratulated for maintaining well-kept information.  In reviewing the statistical publications one will notice that the results for any given year is always compared with the year occurring immediately prior.  Reviewing longer spans of time one may observe that the numbers for a given year can change, but these differences appear insignificant.  For example, if you compared the 2014 Number of Dogs Competing across the 2014 and 2015 statistical issues, the difference is only off by one.  Given the thousands of records the AKC tracks, this is pretty amazing and they should receive a pat on the back for their accuracy.

    Sadly reviewing the data on behalf of obedience puts me in the anxiety camp.  One can readily see that the number of dogs competing continues to drop off at a considerable rate.  The difference between the 2012 and 2013 competition years reveals a loss of 2,266 dogs in All Breed Obedience Trials.  Specialty trials saw a loss of 247 dogs, and only Limited Breed Obedience Trials reported a gain of 44 dogs.  On these three measures the loss of dogs competing was 2,513, countered by only 44 additional dogs in limited trials.  The overall loss to the sport was 2,469!

    Since one comparison doesn't necessarily constitute a trend, let's look at 2013 and 2014.  Here one will observe that 3,471 fewer dogs competed in All Breed Obedience Trials, 105 fewer dogs competed in Limited Breed Obedience Trials, and 652 fewer dogs competed in Specialty Obedience Trials.  This accounts for a total loss to the sport of 4,228.  Close to twice the prior year's reported loss!

    As hope springs eternal, one can review the 2014-2015 results which unfortunately, again, tells the same depressing story.  In All Breed Obedience Trials there were 4,055 fewer dogs competing, 204 less dogs in Specialty Obedience Trials, and only 17 more competing in Limited Breed Obedience Trials.  This accounts for 4,242 fewer dogs participating in obedience competition.

    It has always been my belief that the AKC measures success through number of entries rather than the number of handlers.  I can see how this makes sense since entires are one important avenue of income.  Unfortunately looking at entries only tells part of the story.  It would give a fuller picture to know how many actual handlers are participating in AKC obedience.  But for now it is what it is, so we can look at entries to give us another perspective of our sport's well-being.

    The AKC Statistical Publications break obedience entries into two parts, "Trials Held With Shows" and "Separate Trials".  In reviewing this information I broke the aforementioned categories down into two additional parts.  First I looked at the numbers based only on the Novice, Open, and Utility classes because overall, these are the foundation of our sport.  Secondly I reviewed the numbers based on ALL reported obedience classes (such as the basic classes plus Beginner Novice, Graduate, Novice, Graduate Open, Versatility, etc.).  This may offer some insight into whether the additional titling classes are having any significant impact on the health of obedience.

    First looking at Trials Held With Shows, and considering only the basic classes (Novice, Open, and Utility) there were 1,027 fewer Novice entries in 2013 compared to 2012.  In the same time frame there were 1,146 fewer Open entries, and 797 fewer Utility entries.  Considering Separate Trials there were 625 fewer Novice, 51 fewer Open, and 79 more Utility entries.  Combined all of these entries indicate 3,920 fewer Novice, Open, and Utility entries in 2013 obedience competition compared to 2012.  If we look at all of the reported obedience classes combined, there were 3,920 fewer entries.  Not a favorable outcome!

    Again, first looking at Trials With Shows across the 2013-2014 competition years there were 862 fewer novice entries, 1,652 fewer open entries, and 1,261 fewer utility entries.  Among trials held as separate events there were 237 fewer novice, 851 fewer open, and 315 fewer utility.  Combine the basic obedience classes and we end up with 5,178 fewer entries!  Scary!  So did we fare any better when considering all of the obedience classes?  Worse!  Taking into account all obedience classes we were down 7,018 in 2014 compared to 2013.  This picture appears dismal!

    From 2014 through 2015 the story reads pretty much the same.  In Trials Held With Shows there were 924 fewer Novice, 1,267 fewer Open, and 1,515 fewer Utility entries.  That's down a total of 3,706 entries for Trials Held With Shows.  Looking at Separate Trials there was a positive bump in Open entries with 631 more.  Unfortunately the 694 Novice entry drop and  the 207 Utility entry drop wiped out the Open gains.  End result, a negative balance of 270 entires.  So what's the score taking into account all obedience classes?  Not good.  Taking all obedience classes into account there were 4,985 fewer obedience entries in 2015 than 2014.  A very sad state of affairs indeed!

    Can’t remember all of the info above or find it confusing?  Here’s a quick summary.  Between 2012 and 2015 there were 10,939 fewer obedience dogs and 15,923 fewer obedience entires at AKC events. 

    One can look farther back into the history of AKC statistics and occasionally find instances where the popularity of obedience appears to improve.  Unfortunately these growth spurts can be explained in terms that don’t suggest growth, expansion, development, advancement, or proliferation.  For example, a few years back some of the entries appeared to grow but investigation revealed that the growth was only due to newly added optional classes and not an increase in exhibitors.  This isn’t growth, it’s just masked reduction, decline, decrease, decay.  Doc this dog appears to be very ill!

    For those who would prefer to look at tabulations of the information above please review the tables included following this article.  Better yet I strongly suggest that you point your web browser to peruse the AKC Event Statistics yourself.  I’m always interested and open to your comments! 

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Sunday, May 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Since the new regulations went in force last December I've heard nothing but complaints and bewilderment about the rule changes to the scent discrimination exercise in utility.  At a recent judging seminar several of the attendees tried to get some feedback as to why the procedures to this exercise was changed.  Unfortunately our requests for an explanation appeared to be deliberately obtuse.  I have to wonder whether my limited view of the obedience fancy is representative of the whole.  I'd be interested in any responses that favor of this rule change and why.  If you are interested and willing please email your thoughts to me at dogs@frontandfinish.comI will not publish anyone's response without contacting them for their express permission to do so.

    Dee Dee Anderson

    Dee Dee is one incredible human and an exceptional supporter of our sport.  Dee Dee recently contacted me of her own accord and offered to put together a couple of fantastic features for us.  In this issue please turn your attention to Dee Dee's special feature covering the 2016 AKC Rally National.  We're also excited to be able to publish Dee Dee's coverage of the 2016 NOC next month.

    Open A Ratings

    A high paw to all teams who placed in this year’s Open A Obedience Ratings.  This month we're privileged to be able to provide these breakdowns for the fancy.  The Open A Ratings cover the 2015 competition year and can be found at the end of this issue. Email Addresses

    If you didn't know we will soon consolidate our F&F email addresses to help fight junk mailers and make things easier for subscribers.  For those wishing to contact me personally or to submit copy for submission please email  For other matters please write our general email address .


    I have been fortunate to be able to judge the Car-Dun-Al obedience trial several times and have always enjoyed the camaraderie that occurs at these events.  A couple weeks ago I was able to return again but this time I was met by several new exhibitors who displayed the exact kind of attitude and passion obedience needs.  I haven't seen this kind of energetic enthusiasm about our sport in a long time and it was a splendid thing to experience.  Hopefully God will grant us more trainers like this to spark an increased interest in our sport!

    Email Addresses

    If you didn't know we will soon consolidate our F&F email addresses to help fight junk mailers and make things easier for subscribers.  For those wishing to contact me personally or to submit copy for submission please email

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Friday, April 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Laurie Lo

    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!

    Email Addresses

    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  For other matters please write our general email address .


    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?

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Monday, December 14, 2015 12:00 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    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:

    • Novice: Goldstar Steadfast Nathan CD, a Labrador Retriever owned by Constance Cleveland and Judy Rasmuson
    • Open: Katwalk Extra Special CDX BN, a Border Collie owned by Kathleen Walker
    • Utility: GCH CH Wyndale's Enchantress Of Gwynedd UD CGC, a Labrador Retriever owned by Karen Vare
    • Masters: OTCH Rhumbline's Once In A Blue Moon OM1 BN GN RE, a Labrador Retriever owned by Linda Brennan

    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:

    • 8” – NAC MACH12 Wildfire Heavens To Betsy MXG3 MJB4 OF T2B2 (“Gigi”), a Papillon owned and handled by Lisa Evans
    • 12” – OTCH MACH7 Triune's Baby's Gone Shopping UDX3 OM4 VER RAE MXC2 MJC2 MXF T2B (“Visa”), a Shetland Sheepdog owned and handled by Angela Evers
    • 16” – CH MACH3 La Brise Moustique Bleu MXS MJG NF T2B (“Skeeter”), a Pyrenean Shepherd owned and handled by Kelly Maier
    • 20” – MACH13 Rivercity Outrageous MXG4 MJC4 FTC2 MFC2 TQX T2B9, a Golden Retriever owned and handled by Patricia White
    • 24” – MACH5 Hildidan's Some Kind Of Magic MXB2 MJB2 MXF MFG TQX T2B7, a American Foxhound, owned and handled by Candy Gaiser PHD

    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)

    • Beginner Novice: Cassy Didelot, Ruby Red Didelot, Labrador Retriever
    • Preferred Novice: Brittaney Allen, Allen's Ollie CD BN RN CGC, All-American Dog
    • Preferred Open: Mara Wacker, Sandy Creek Wanna'Be Like Me CDX BN GN RN, Miniature American Shepherd

    Obedience Junior Handler (OJH)

    • Beginner Novice: Anneka Mikel Dahle, Western Hills Texas Ranger AX MXJ XF, Australian Shepherd
    • Preferred Open: Avery Adams, Smokingold Vibrant Spark CDX RA MX MXJ XF, Golden Retriever
    In AKC Rally®, Juniors competed in Rally Novice, Rally Advanced or Rally Excellent, based on the dog’s class eligibility (qualifying scores and/or titles earned). 

    Placing first in their class were:


    • Rally Novice: Mara Wacker, Sandy Creek Wanna'Be Like Me CDX BN GN RN, Miniature American Shepherd
    • Rally Advanced: Brittaney Allen, Allen's Ollie CD BN RN CGC, All-American Dog
    • Rally Excellent: Destiny K. Lytle, Veniaminof Vom Lytle RE NAP OJP CA, German Shepherd Dog

    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:

    • 8”-  Kayangee Dorothy Parker (“Dot”), a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel handled by Anthony Rotelle
    • 12”- PACH5 General Tommy Franks AX MXJ MJB MXP12 MXPC MJP16 MJPS2 PAX5 XF OFP T2BP (“Tommy”), a Parson Russell Terrier handled by Deva Wilson
    • 16”- Foxglove Tempus Fugit MX MXJB OF T2B(“Zippy”), a Shetland Sheepdog handled by Tessa Winialski
    • 20”- MACH Pine Run Pity The Fool (“Mr. T”), a Golden Retriever handled by John Rotelle
    • 24”- MACH3 Zonkers Texas Hold'em CDX VCD2 RE XF (“Ace”), a Golden Retriever handled by David Frasca

    Placing first in their height division (8”, 12”, 16", 20" and 24" respectively) in the Junior Superior class were:

    • 12”- Pinky's Rockin' Rio CGC RN BN (“Rio”), an All-American Dog handled by Kailyn Merkle
    • 16”- Kaiden's Blue Blaize RN BN CGC(“Blaize”), a Miniature American Shepherd handled by Kaiden Snider
    • 20”- Eyespy Cech (“Check”), a Border Collie handled by Karr Hersh
    • 24”- Sergeant Spencer (“Spencer”), a Golden Retriever handled by Emily Tregler
<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 

Home     About     Advertising     FFX Awards     Join Us!     Issues     Ratings     Search     Sitemap     Subscribe     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy     Writer's Guidelines

Copyright 2018 Front & Finish, LLC
2310 US Highway 150 North
Wataga, IL 61488-9520
Questions?  Need help?  Email us at:
Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management