Tuesday, April 18, 2006

UDC Nationals 2006

Well, here we are at scenic Purina Farms in Gray Summit, Missouri, for the 2006 United Doberman Club Nationals. The UDC is a working-oriented breed club, not affilitated with the AKC but with the AWDF. Today was a day of seminars and games; tomorrow will be temperament tests and fit for breeding tests, and then the rest of the week will include conformation, obedience, an IPO trial, etc.

We started the day with a workshop on training the Doberman for IPO (okay, actually, we started the day by getting lost, since I didn't trust my memory and instead trusted a machine with an incomplete map). I missed most of John Soares' talk, but we arrived in time for the working segment and watched other teams at work, taking careful note of how they were doing things. When our turn came, he complimented us with, "She has an awesome bite," and then told me some ways I could make her grip calmer while she sat facing me with the toy as I cradled her.

She's the only dog here with a tail! I've seen a few natural ears, especially on the Search dogs, but no tails. So she draws a fair amount of attention. Most of it has been very kind, this year. One woman looked at Laev and saw something she recognized -- it turns out she owns Laev's half-sister, just 10 days younger, whom I saw work later today and is also a very nice dog.

I also attended a seminar on the Scandanavian character test, and then we had the opportunity to work through a mock test. I opted to work only Laev, and her on only part of the test, since we have temperament testing tomorrow and I didn't want to stress the dogs in advance, but she did very well. I have video; I'll try to get that captured and rendered for posting later.

Then we went to play some Doggie Games, a fundraiser for SAR. Laev got to pick a toy, and we played Musical Flags (with marker flags instead of chairs) during which I shamelessly and ostentatiously cheated but lost our spot anyway, and Laev paw-painted a picture, and we won first place in the Doggie Duds race for which we had to run to a pile of clothes, dress the dog and race back.

There are three of us sharing a hotel room -- myself, my sister, and a friend -- with six Dobermans: one intact male, one neutered male, three spayed bitches, and an intact bitch. And, to make life really interesting, Laev is coming into heat. :-)

The only bad part of the day was the incredible tick infestation in the fields. I took 19 ticks off my right ankle alone; it was like something out of The African Queen. I hope the Frontline holds on the dogs.

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