Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feb. 28 - Lisa's Musings (from the dog show day 2) and Every Day Life

Dog Show Day Two

That elusive piece of the group remains just that.

Two more Best of Breeds and little Driver remains undefeated, but we can't seem to get a group placement.

At least not yet.

It occurred to me that non-dog show people might not understand why this is important and how it works.

Every dog that wins a Best of Breed then goes on to compete in what's known as a group. In Driver's case, at a UKC show, it's called the Gun Group and includes all the breeds that go out in the field and hunt. In AKC, it's called the sporting group.

At a UKC show, for instance, it's a huge number of dogs and you win points toward a championship for winning your class, best male or female and Best of Breed, you also win points for getting a group placement.

In both AKC shows and UKC shows, Driver's group is one of the most competitive and the largest. We get lots of looks and good comments from the judges, but Tollers are a relatively rare breed and judges just aren't as confident in giving them a piece of the group because they don't judge them as often as say a Labrador or a golden retriever.

So he has to be spot on and really sell himself to a judge. But he's a puppy, and sometimes he picks the wrong times to move or sit or look at someone outside the ring doing something fun.

Take today for instance, there was a handler in the ring with a squeakie toy. Most sporting dog handlers know better than to squeak a squeakie toy in the ring.

Squeakie toys are like crack to Tollers. The only thing more additive are tennis balls and ducks.

So when the handler who happened to be behind me squeaked the toy, I was lucky to hang onto Driver who really, really wanted to grab that toy. In fact, the setter in front of me whipped around trying to find where the squeak was coming from.

Bless little Driver's heart, he focused on me -- but both the setter's handler and I wished serious ill will on this person.

Serious ill will.

You don't take a squeakie toy in a ring with a group of toy crazy dogs. These are retrievers -- that's what they do.

It's what they LIVE for ... so the fact that my puppy didn't melt into quivering oblivion is a victory unto itself.

And, I don't think this person did it to ruin anyone else's chances, he did it to try and get his dog excited -- but someone needs to clue him in on the etiquette of the group ring.

Driver is dangerously close to getting his UKC championship but because there aren't a lot of Tollers showing in UKC, we need a couple of group placements to finish off the requirements for that CH title.

From what I was told, with all of his wins, he's got enough points, but he needs a group placement or two to become a champion.

We'll try again in two weeks when we head to Kalamazoo for another UKC show.

And we'll play with squeakie toys at the show; probably a few tennis balls, too, but I can promise you, we won't be doing it in the ring.

And, if any of the other handler's got a hold of the person who did today, I'm sure he won't be doing it in the ring, either.

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