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No Dog Left Behind? – Is It Too Easy to Get a Title?

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76 – March, 2018

by Caroline Coile

This month AKC began issuing Achiever Dog certificates to acknowledge dogs that compete in a variety of sports. On the surface that sounds great, but I was surprised to see dogs that I know only as conformation dogs suddenly posting their certificates on Facebook, with friends congratulating them on their versatility. So it turns out the bar is pretty low: “A dog will receive an AKC Achiever Dog certificate when they have been awarded a placement or earned a qualifying score in three different sports.” So a dog that earns any sort of ribbon in conformation (or maybe just chases a lure one time to earn FCAT ribbon), a CGC and a Trick Dog Novice title is now considered an Achiever Dog. Call me old and crotchety, but in my day these dogs were called “just starting out.”

Even today, I call the requirements for a CGC, CGCA and Farm Dog “good manners” that I expect every one of at least my adult dogs to have, and even the Novice Trick Dog title something most of my untrained puppies can do just because they live with and in- teract with me. That said, I’m still in favor of the titles. I think…

Let me back up to the days before I was old and crotchety. Back in the ‘70s when I was a teenager with my first show Saluki. Back when all there was were books and magazines and actually talking to people, and they all said, “a well-rounded dog has titles on both ends.” For my breed the options were conformation, obedience, lure-coursing and tracking. So I earned titles and even Top-10 placements in the first three areas. OK, so he ran away when we tried tracking, but, you know, sighthound! In the years since I’ve always been eager to try any new sport, partly because I often have to write about these sports (and you’d be amazed at the stupid things you write when you’ve not actually participated in a sport!) and partly because I wanted to show that Salukis are not the feral animals they were considered to be when I got my first one. We’ve yet to achieve the tracking (but a Saluki I bred has his TD) but we earned titles in rally, agility (we were even #1!), CGC, Fast Cat and Trick Dog. None of these titles attest to anything about my dogs’ value as Salukis, but they all attest to either their value as everyday companions or the fact that we spent some fun time together.

Click here to read the complete article
76 – March, 2018

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