(this post was originally written for publication in 2005 in a local AKC newsletter)
I’d like to share a bit about the three dogs that have gotten AKC titles in 2005. I call them my Three Amigos. In 4 months, January through May, combined they achieved 7 AKC/UKC titles (21 legs). So, here goes…
In 2001, I saw Teddy’s photo online at a kennel and training facility in Madison, WI where I trained another dog. In the summer of 2000, he was dropped off with the message, “Here’s your stud fee, we can’t sell him”. There’s not a big demand for a long coated German Shepherd in the show ring, in fact, they are not shown at all (that may be changing a bit in Germany). At that time, he was 7 months old and had lived his life in a barn stall. He became the kennel dog at his new digs and was treated well. He had an official name – Parlzer vom Haus Kuhn – and when he arrived at the kennel, the gal who ran it looked at him and said – oh – you look like a Teddy Bear. Moreover, because she was from England and grew up reading books about the adventures of Teddy Edward, a teddy bear, he was officially called Teddy Edward. He was placed twice but came back - reason - severe separation anxiety and unexplained fear of loud machine noises especially traffic sounds. I adopted him when he was 15 months old and soon realized the extent of his problems. We proceeded to work them out one at a time. Teddy is the dog that I used when I conducted the Canine Good Citizen evaluations because he’s so laid back and easy going with other dogs. He has come a LONG way. (Update: now, he’s the dog who’s training Brita and making sure she has doggy manners.)
Seven months later while at a regional Schutzhund trial, I spoke to a gal from the local German Shepherd rescue and was told about a coated female from the Madison area. Ironically, her father was Teddy’s grandfather and this dog, Lasso, was a World Sieger in 1999….the highest accomplishment a German Shepherd Dog can achieve in the show ring in Europe. (www.drachenberg.com ) Olivia vom Drachenberg (affectionately called Liver now) was a very nervous, high-strung girl. She had a good life for 2 years and then her owner’s divorce landed her in the shelter. She too had been placed twice and came back each time so she had been shifted around for 4 months. Before I even saw her, I knew she was to be part of my household. That fall, I enrolled her in her first obedience class. It was a beginner’s course and she was so frightened that she trembled uncontrollably for the entire 8 weeks.
We worked through issue after issue as I trained them. They each were registered as Therapy Dogs , passed the CGC test and after 15 months and 2 attempts they got their first obedience title….a BH in Schutzhund .
Kobie came on the scene a few months later….another coated Shepherd but this time instead of a German Shepherd she was a Shiloh Shepherd. Teddy and Olivia were both 4 years old and Kobie was 2. Her owner needed to place her because she was more dog than he realized (a Sheltie person) and she was starting to run the household. She blended right in with the other two, became a Therapy Dog, passed her CGC and BH in 6 months.
The switch was then made to AKC/UKC trials and over the next few years, we worked on a CD and a UCD consistently scoring in the high 180s to mid 190s.. We traveled around and did some herding, first in New York State and then locally. Olivia and Kobie were natural sheep herders. Teddy was a sheep chaser….not good! The instructor about Teddy was “It’s hard to look innocent with wool in your mouth”.
In December of 2004, I thought Olivia could do a CDX so we signed up for the Oshkosh trial in mid January and went from barely holding the dumbbell to in 30 days a 4th place and the first open leg. From January to the first week in May of this year, we did 11 trials and got 21 legs for 7 obedience and rally titles…..a CD, UCD, CDX, UCDX and 3 RNs.
The icing on the cake the summer of 2005 was taking Olivia on a whim to upstate New York to participate in the obedience portion of a Protection Sports Association (www.psak9.org) trial that Ari was entered in. It was obedience with distractions…..gunfire, hot dogs on the ground, strings of cans tossed at her while she was on a down in front of a decoy, a bubble machine blowing bubbles, an air horn. She scored 84 of 100…..judging was tough but she scored 84 two days in a row to outscore 60 dogs entered over those 2 days and earn yet another title. Not bad for a rescue dog who trembled through her first obedience class.
These 3 amigos had NO training and stepped up to learn what I asked them to learn. Olivia did some protection work and when I got her she wouldn’t even play tug.
In September of 2005, Teddy had hip surgery and he had the femoral head removed for his one hip because of severe hip dysplasia. He’s doing really well now but retired from competition. In February of 2006, Kobie was diagnosed with Pancreatic Insufficiency and is doing well as long as she gets enzymes on her food. Olivia, in March of 2006 was diagnosed with arthritis even though she did not have hip dysplasia. Olivia and Kobie may do some Rally competitions in the future but I promised Teddy, who never really liked doing the shows that he wouldn’t ever have to do one again!
I’m blessed that these three dogs came into my life. They have given me more joy than I could have imagined!