Dog shows (conformation events) are intended to evaluate breeding stock. The size of these events ranges from large all-breed shows, with over 3,000 dogs entered, to small local specialty club shows, featuring a specific breed. The dog's conformation (overall appearance and structure), an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality purebred puppies, is judged, thus spayed or neutered dogs or mixed-breeds are not eligible to compete.
Many times a new exhibitor will get their start at dog shows by finding a mentor, usually the breeder they acquired the puppy from. Many AKC clubs also offer “handling” classes to teach owners how to present their purebred dog to a judge at a dog show. Dogs must be at least 6 months old to enter a dog show.
Running a dog in an agility trial is the ultimate game for you and your dog. In an agility trial, a dog demonstrates its agile nature and versatility by following cues from the handler through a timed obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, weave poles and other objects. It’s an activity that strengthens the bond between dog and handler and provides fun and exercise for both, which might explain why it’s so enjoyable to watch and has become the fastest-growing dog sport in the United States!
There are several types of classes offered at an agility trial: Standard, Jumpers with Weaves, Fifteen And Send Time (FAST) and Preferred. The Standard class has contact obstacles, which have yellow “contact zones” at each end. Contact obstacles include A-frame, dog walk and seesaw. The dog must place a least one paw in the contact zone in order not to receive a fault. This encourages safety in training and in running the course. The Standard class also has a variety of jumps; weave poles, pause table, tunnels and a closed tunnel. The Jumpers with Weaves class does not have contact obstacles or a pause table to slow the team’s forward momentum. This is a very fast course requiring instant decisions by the handler and close attention from the dog.
Agility is a time and fault sport where the qualifying requirements are more challenging as the competition class levels get higher. There are two types of faults: time and penalty. Time faults are given for every second a dog goes over the Standard Course Time as set by the length of the course.
Rally is a companion sport to AKC Obedience. Both require teamwork between dog and handler along with similar performance skills. Rally provides an excellent introduction to AKC Events for new dogs and handlers and can provide a challenging opportunity for competitors in other events to strengthen their skills. The dog and handler team move at their own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.
A rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. Communication from the handler to the dog is encouraged and there should be a sense of teamwork and enthusiasm as they go through the course.
Obedience trials showcase dogs that have been trained and conditioned to behave well in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. AKC Obedience trials allow exhibitors and their dogs to enjoy companionship and competition as they proudly earn AKC titles.
Dog and handler teams are judged on how closely they match the judge's mental picture of a theoretically perfect performance as they execute a series of specified exercises. Accuracy and precision are essential, but the natural movement of the handler and the willingness and enjoyment of the dog are very important. Each level of obedience competition — novice, open, and utility — requires mastering a specific skill set, which increase in difficulty, before advancing to the next level.
Most AKC clubs conduct a variety of classes instructed by trainers who have won awards in obedience competition with their own dogs, and they make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest training techniques. They have experience training all breeds of dogs and can help solve behavior problems. Most clubs accept all types of dogs, mixed breeds and purebreds, and prospective students are usually welcome to observe a class before signing up for a training course.
Rally run-throughs with the Putmans
Tuesday nights starting Jan 2, 7 pm
Family Dog with Kathy Sherrill
Saturday mornings starting January 13, 10am
Conformation with Susan Brasher, Laquinn Richey, and Vickie Buckelew
Monday nights starting January 8th, 6:30 pm
Scent work with Billie Medendorp
Wednesday nights starting Jan 10th, 6:30pm
Cost is $90 andthe application can be found on this site
To enroll in class you will need to download the sign-up form at the following link and then complete it and return it to DAKC Training, 212 Mill Road SW, Decatur, AL 35603. Also include your check.
Once you return your form and check you will be notified if you are in the class. Class size is limited to 8 per class.
Link for sign up form
*all classes are one hour long and meet for 6 weeks unless otherwise noted
**proof of current vaccinations from your dog's veterinarian must be presented at the first class