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bradl

Congratulations Doogie

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bradl

Bred to type, raised with love, trained with respect — congratulations to all involved.

ctca_winter_2017_final_lr_pdf.png

I remember seeing Doogie in the conformation ring as a wee puppy at what was probably his first show. He simply radiated charm and intelligence (in between puppy bounces, of course) and stacked himself and moved like he was born to show off.

We see Doogie everywhere we go and he is a fun-loving and hard-working dog with a busy itinerary. He is no doubt planning to continue to "upgrade" some of the many titles he's earned so far.

Even the laundry list of titles after his name hide multiple titles that were earned in progression. For example to earn the ME (Master Earthdog) title he first had to earn a JE, then an SE, and finally the ME. To earn the EE4 he had to first earn an EE, then an EE2 and then an EE3. The boy loves earthdog, for sure.  Likewise the pre-CDX will no doubt become a CDX (if not someday a UD … I would not doubt it for a moment) not to mention the myriad agility titles yet possible. 

Well done Doogie. Well done to those who gave him life and then a life full of love and adventure.

Breeder: Vicki Havlik & Betsy Peets. By GCh Ch Quail Creek's River's Edge JE x Ch KinLoch's Wee Bonny Willow Brook. 

Owner: Bette A Shuh & Vicki Havlik & Ryan Westlund.

Doogie was born 04/17/2012.

 

 

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Sam I Am

So question. What makes an exceptional show dog, rally dog, agility dog? Is it the breeding of a certain line, an exceptional trainer, sex of the dog or all of the above. Having known friends that have shown other breeds, like a standard poodle, makes the training look easier. I have often said to these friends, if you can train a willful wee terrier to do obedience etc, then to me you are an amazing trainer. Doogie is amazing!

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bradl

All of the above plus a serious commitment of time, energy, and to a certain extent, money.  

Just as an example, for one measly title (to the tune of the old Mastercard commercial) :

Quote

Time between titles: 2,270 days;
First leg to third leg: six months;
Miles driven: 3,216;
Cost of this brag: one dollar;
Stella earning her CDX: priceless.

I didn't total up the actual expense (gas, a zillion show entries, many nights of  hotel/camping charges, class fees, equipment, etc.) because (a) lazy and (b) don't really want to know :w00t: 

In order to get so many titles a dog and its handler are very very busy. They enter many events and are somewhere doing something virtually every weekend (and sometimes weekdays too). Ordinary dogs will do well for a while but will eventually tell you they are tired, or bored, or need a break. They may get ring-wise or shut down. The exceptional dogs seem to thrive on it and have nearly endless energy and enthusiasm — it is their favorite thing to do. Their motto seems to be "MORE!"

An exceptional show dog is (or should be) an exemplar of the breed. Some things are easy (or at least easier) to breed for or correct in a generation or two; others are easy to lose and hard to recover. Breeders have to manage genotype and phenotype to reliably get dogs that are genetically sound and where those genes have been expressed in a manner consistent with breed type. They have to have a clear picture in their mind of what that type is and know (or learn) how to achieve it. And the dog has to be built to safely and easily work without fatigue or injury. A dog doesn't work with it's haircut or pretty face and a crippled-up dog can still work like you would not believe, but taken on average a healthy well-put-together dog will have an easier time of doing the things it was meant to do.

Related is temperament and instinct. It's no good having a line of dogs bred to be pretty airheads if their drive to work is lost. In earthdog we do occasionally see dogs who have no prey drive although they are thankfully more rare than their owners realize. (Many who 'flunk' early in earthdog incorrectly conclude their dog cannot or will not do it.)  On the flip side you see dogs that are so clearly driven to work even the artifice that is earthdog. They hunt actively, they use their noses, they read their bracemate and work cooperatively, they indicate furiously, they are relentless, they are a joy to watch. Even in a line with a lot of really good workers though you may get one that is an outlier. Nature loves its random.

A good performance terrier is very intelligent but able and willing to tune in to their handler for a purpose. Terriers gotta be terriers but when their own drive aligns with our intentions for them they can be amazing performers. Getting to that point of mutual communication and understanding takes a handler with patience and a great deal of insight into 'reading' their dog, just as the dog has to be able to read their handler. 90% of early obedience training for instance is training the handler. To be clear with intent, to be consistent in behavior, expectations and communication, to give good direction and appropriate timely feedback. And because Cairns don't generally tolerate rote drilling the trainer has to be as interesting to the dog as the dog is to the trainer :P  It helps for the trainer to be creative as sometimes a dog just doesn't 'get' one method but will readily comprehend another. That's where a teacher with a lot of  experience that includes terriers can be  valuable.

Long way of saying … nearly all Cairns can do far more than we give them credit for, but there are also always a few that are indeed exceptional. In every case it takes a lot of work  and opportunity  to realize that potential.

Sorry such a ramble. Too much coffee this morning :shy: 

Edited by bradl
then/than it's/its

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Pepper Bug's Mom

We love Doogie here in Bellingham!!! He is an inspiration!  My little Pepper is a true Cairn - loves to hunt and actually (at age 5) is much better on recall!  Today she alerted us to the flock of geese flying over our house! Her true alert is when the Blue Heron attempts to land in the yard and she has a bark that is only for Heron Alert!!! Our poor lab Teddy better stay out of her way when the Heron is in site!

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Sam I Am

Thanks Brad into the whole mind set of the Cairn. I suspect it is also in the same lines of showing a horse, ie jumping, dressage. In the world of horse showing however, success is so much predicated on the actual rider. I have seen amazing horses shipped from Europe with a price tag of $300,000 +, to only start the painful decline of their wonderful breeding and training start to go down hill rapidly from a weathly individual who is an un skilled rider.

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bradl

I agree. And the converse may be true to some extent as well.

It saddens me that people write off Cairns and terriers generally as somehow inherently incapable of high levels of performance. If *we*  give them the opportunity and put in the work even "ordinary" (as if any Cairn is ordinary, humph) dogs can do so much more than we give them credit for.  My face still burns a bit when I think of something said to me once at an obedience show-n-go (practice). A couple of ladies were there with their Utility dogs and were hanging around when Stella and I went in to make a hash out of the Open exercises. While a disaster obedience-wise Stella's personality is pretty vibrant. One of the ladies asked me, "Do you do Agility with that dog?" I said "no" and she and her friend said virtually in unison, "SHAME ON YOU."  I got what they meant and to this day feel guilty I never gave Stella a chance to try it. 

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Sam I Am

You love your dogs  Brad...no guilt allowed!

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sanford

My compliments to Brad for that excellent, informative post...:thumbsup: And I must add that if only I had read his entry back when I got my first Cairn, I would have lowered my unrealistic expectations, (for myself!):D

P.S. ..."when their own drive aligns with our intentions for them they can be amazing performers"... I've always been impressed with the Border Collies at the dog run who are prime examples of this... I think they would be inconsolable without a task or a job to do - furiously herding non-stop, whether its another dog, a ball or a person. Impressive to witness their inborn drive!

P.P.S. On the topic of breeding, genotypes, etc. that Brad refers to, I must recommend an unforgettable novel, (about dogs - what else?): The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, A big book, but a page-turner about the inner lives of dogs, whose human family has bred generations of a fictitious breed, and their mute son who runs away into the wilderness with three yearling pups. The book goes into great detail re the meticulous recording and record-keeping to track canine genealogical lines across generations, etc., a process I never read about before. 

 

Edited by sanford

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Hillscreek
5 hours ago, bradl said:

They have to have a clear picture in their mind of what that type is

What is 'type' I wonder. For the show people it seems to be to try and breed to the current favorite picture of a breed, a certain shaped head, a particular coat color or length. Never mind that that picture may not be the one described in the standard - cairn terriers a good example here. The standard itself changes over time.

For a working dog the work 'type' is ability above the pretty look. e.g. if a collie doesn't have the 'eye' it doesn't matter how good looking it is. I remember when we were breeding retrievers for hunting several people saying "I hope you don't have show dogs". Well we did for a little while but we gave up on it - too much traveling too boring for the dogs (and me). I did compete in Obedience for several years but I was not really a competitive person. My pleasure was more in raising pups to be ready to go out there in the field. Never a dull moment and never repetitive - just how many times can one go over the same jumps - out in the field they are different every time.  Generally we found that if a dog could do its job it usually was well put together and pretty good looking also.

I agree that it is a combination of dog and his/her human together that is the best whatever they are doing and the greatest are those exceptional dogs like Doogie who relate almost as one with their handler. Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere. Remember the jrt who went from home to home and finally met up with a great trainer and everything clicked. He was a tv star, in lots of ads etc etc. I forget his name.

Regarding the book Sandford mentions I read it when it first came out as I was interested in the dog breeding sections though I can't remember much now. I thought the book long winded.

 

 

 

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_whits_

"And because Cairns don't generally tolerate rote drilling the trainer has to be as interesting to the dog as the dog is to the trainer."

Truer words were never spoken Brad. Addie doesn't compete but during our almost year of training in formal classes she made it clear she was there to be entertained and we'd better keep things fresh. Inevitably if she thought the session got boring she'd walk to the middle of the room and dramatically flop down on the floor on her side until we came up with something better. To this day at home if we're practicing old or new training she'll just wander off if unless I keep things interesting. 

Edited by _whits_

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