The same, yet different.
One of the things that drew me to CARO originally was the fact that CARO rules allow for the participation of a wide range of individual dogs and people. CKC, on the other hand is a bit more restrictive although I am very pleased about the recent changes they have made to allow the participation of a wider variety of dogs.
CARO Canine Eligibility
- Dogs of any breed, or mix of breeds.
- Dogs 6 months of age or older.
- Dogs registered individually with CARO.
- Course adjustments may be made for physically challenged dogs at the judge’s discretion.
- Dogs that appear to the judge to be in pain or discomfort may not compete.
- Bitches in season may not compete.
CKC Canine Eligibility
- Purebred dogs registered with the CKC (or dogs eligible for registration).
- Purebred dogs of CKC recognized breeds that have an event Registration Number (ERN) or a Performance Event Number (PEN).
- Purebred dogs of CKC listed breeds that have a Miscellaneous Class Certification Number (MCN) or a Performance Event Number (PEN).
- Purebred dogs of breeds not recognized by the CKC that have a Canine Companion Number (CCN).
- Mixed breed dogs that have a Canine Companion Number (CCN).
- Dogs must be 6 months of age or older.
- Lame dogs (in the judges’ opinion) can not compete.
- Dogs may not be entered under a judge (or an immediate family member of the judge) that owns, sold, held under lease, handled, boarded, trained or instructed a dog regularly in the 6 months prior to the trial.
- Bitches in season may not compete.
The main differences, at the moment, between the eligibility of individual dogs in CKC and CARO include a streamlined registration process for CARO and an allowance in CARO for course adjustments for dogs that are physically challenged. If a handler would like to request course changes for a dog with a physical limitation for a CARO trial, they may do so in writing and should include this request and with their trial entry. In my time as a judge I have approved a few course modifications including: Lower jump heights for mobility restricted dogs, extra time to complete the course for older, slower moving dogs and, obstacle substitution for visually impaired dogs.
CARO Handler Eligibility
- Handlers must own the dog they handle, or be an immediate family member of the owner (Junior Handlers are an exception)
- Course adjustments may be made for physically challenged handlers at the judge’s discretion.
CKC Handler Eligibility
- Dogs may be handled by the owner, family member or another person
- Trial Secretaries, Superintendents and Trial Chairs may not handle a dog at any trial in which they are acting as an official.
- Exercises and routines may be adjusted for handlers, but only if the modifications do not provide and advantage to the dog and the dog is required to perform all exercises.
- Individuals may not compete under a Judge who is an immediate family member.
- Individuals may not compete under a Judge who as attended regular training classes held by the exhibitor in the 6 months prior to the trial.
The main differences for handler eligibility between CKC and CARO revolves around who can and cannot handle a dog under whom. I am not sure how the CKC rule about accommodations for handlers with physical disabilities plays out and what kind of modifications have been allowed. In CARO the process is the same as for dogs, it must be done in writing prior to the trial, preferably when you send in your entry. In the past I have seen a request from handlers for exercise substitution (someone who could not run), for extra time and even for leniency with the tightness of turns for handlers with balance issues.
That just about covers my understanding of the eligibility rules for which dogs can and cannot compete at CKC and CARO rally trials. If you are serious about competing in rally at either venue (to me, serious means you are have or are considering entering a trial) you owe it to yourself to read each organisations rule book.
Click the following link to go to the CARO Master Handbook – 2013
Click the following link to go to the CKC Rally Obedience Trial Rules and Regulations (January 1, 2012)
Next week, we’ll compare CARO and CKC classes and titles!
CKC and CARO: Apples and Oranges?
Many of us involved in the sport of rally obedience often have an opportunity to participate in the same sport under different organisations. in order to succeed in the same sport in multiple venues, a person really needs to have an idea of each organisations rules. We all do this for different reasons. maybe we like titles, maybe we like working with our dogs, maybe we need the pressure of a trial, any trial to get our dog training butts in gear.
When I travel out of town for seminars, I typically am doing an Introduction to CARO Rally Seminar with participants who already have an idea of what rally is about and who often have been participating in CKC rally for some time. At every seminar I have done to date, conversation drifts towards a comparison of CARO and CKC. Where are they the same? Where are they different? Which should a person do first? Which is more difficult? I know where these questions are coming from: For those who know one venue, comparison is often an easy way to understand something new. However, for those brand new to the sport, comparing two venues when they do not have a basic knowledge of either venue is confusing. What this means is that I try to steer clear of venue comparison because there simply isn’t time to cover the important similarities and differences.
At the last seminar I delivered, I promised to prepare something for participants to help them better understand the similarities and differences and I am finally getting around to it. From my extensive experience with CARO and my limited experience with CKC, these two venues differ in a few ways that I intend to explore every over the next few weeks.
- Equipment and rewards
- Course design
- Ring procedure
- Exercise performance criteria
I am a bit behind but two weekends ago, Bear and I headed to St. Norbert, MB for three days of herding. This was my first herding clinic so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I’m new enough to the sport to know I don’t really know anything.
There were a variety of dogs and handlers at the clinic including mixed breeds, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Swedish Vallhunds, a Dandie Dinmont, a Poodle and our friend Astrid, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. I only recall one border collie in attendance!Some dogs were new to herding some have been attending classes for the past year or so. Some of the dogs took to herding like dicks to water and others needed some encouraging to interact with the sheep. Regardless of what happened in the ring, Roy, the clinician, had something nice to say about each dog and their work.
Over the weekend, Bear and I made progress in a few areas and discovered a few new challenges. Below are the highlights:
- We managed to get Bear to work a little further away from the sheep i.e. not plastered to their butts. When Bear works farther back, the sheep panic less and Bear barks less.
- I discovered that Bear barks mostly when I turn him from moving in a counter clockwise direction (away) to circling clockwise (come by).This means he’s turning left, which was the same way he turned in flyball…at least he’s consistent.
- We were able to move sheep in more of a straight line than we ever have.
- Not once all weekend did he try to dive in and grab wool.
- Bear worked in a ring with 2 border collies in attendance…staring at the sheep…as border collies do. He gave them a brief glance and then went back to his sheep..no hard stare, no lunge, no nothing.
- We started working on walk-ups and getting Bear to move towards the sheep at a speed slightly slower than Mach 10. Sheep don’t like Mach 10. and moving slowly towards the sheep is a skill we need for driving at the intermediate level.
- We started a few call offs – calling Bear away from the sheep. He was better than I thought he would be. Leaving perfectly good moving sheep is going to be one of the major challenges for us if we ever progress to the intermediate level.
- Roy believes Bear is barking not at the sheep to get them to move but at me because I am preventing him from doing what he would like. I would agree that frustration and barking go hand in hand with Bear.
Roy said he thought we could ‘go far’…not sure what that means. I think our progress will mostly be limited by how often we can get out and train on sheep and right now, it’s around once a month. Roy did leave us with some ideas for ‘dry land training’ without sheep and I will write more about these as we give them a try.
Other highlights of the weekend included: Meeting some new people including another rottie owner and someone who lives not far from us, great food and company (as always) and and two incident-free nights in the hotel with our friends Stephanie and Astrid!
Yesterday, since I had to drive in to Winnipeg to pick up dog food for work, I decided to bring Bear with me and go herding for the first time this year. We have not been out since our first trial in September but we are attending a clinic next month so I figured it could not hurt to get Bear out to see sheep – especially if it might prevent a meltdown in a few weeks.
I still have a lot of things as a handler to figure out including, staying out of Bear’s way when he’s doing what he should, walking in a straight line and staying on my feet!
As usual, Bear was his whiny, groan-y bark-y self (boy can a bark echo in an indoor arena!) but I was nicely surprised by two things.
First he was able to work with one of the resident border collies in the ring. The dog was occasionally ‘helping’ because in his eyes, I’m sure it was clear we had no clue what was going on. Typically bad things happen when Bear gets this close to a dog while he is so amped up. Yesterday, he looked at the dog – and if dogs could shrug, that’s what he did then he continued working the sheep. It may be because the dog does not even seem to register that Bear exists or maybe he’s just one of those dogs that never sends one confrontational ‘vibe’ to other dogs. Bear is the king of picking up on such things and dealing with them in an equally confrontational way. I don’t think he would be ok working with just any dog but this one, named Pistol, is now in the ‘tolerable dog’ category.
The second thing that surprised me was that Bear was able to work close to the sheep without having to use his mouth (for biting). There were a few times he would use his shoulder to move a sheep or a nose poke – but very little nipping and certainly no grabbing and holding. If we can keep this up and build on it then maybe, just maybe, there’s hope that I can teach him to drive sheep away from me which is something we’d have to do at the next level – if we ever get there!
We’ve got some excellent opportunities coming up this year in herding that include two clinics and a trial this spring and two trial weekends in the fall. For the spring trial my goal is to finish our Herding Started Title, we need one more leg. I think we will also give the Stock Dog trials a try. I’ve had to check out the rulebook because I don’t think I saw any Stock Dog runs last year and they look really fun. The Stock Dog classes are designed to simulate common farm chores. Dogs are moving stock over larger spaces than the arena trials and the obstacles are actually farm fields, pens, stalls and trailers, not simple 4×8 panels. It sounds interesting but not like something we would have been able to accomplish without any previous trial experience – I am looking forward to the extra challenge!
I decided to enter Bear in one CKC rally obedience trial at the Excellent level last weekend. We had successfully been trialing in different venues (besides home) without food on the course and I thought we might be ready.
I was wrong.
There were 5 dogs in our class. I knew the dog ahead of us and the one behind us so the honor exercise wasn’t a big concern. We did our warm up – Bear seemed focused and ready to go.
We approached the ring as a friend came in to say “hi”, I quickly said “sorry we’re going in the ring” but it was too late, Bear had spotted her and as soon as we were in the ring, he was looking for her – or something else (anything else!!) in that direction.
To say the run was a disaster would be kind. Suffice it to say after a ton of sniffing towards the honor dog (too close for my liking) I took Bear by the collar and asked to be excused.
In hind sight, I probably should have signed up for floor time Thursday night and I should have asked to be excused earlier on in our run.
Compared to other recent ‘failures’, when I left the building on Friday, I wasn’t overly upset, surprised or humiliated…I was…ambivalent…I wasn’t thinking up plans for training for future CKC trials, or going over the performance to see where I might have done things differently – I was just glad to be going home!
This ambivalence combined with the high cost of CKC trials has led me to the conclusion that maybe I need to forget about any more CKC trials with Bear. We have so many other fun things to do right now that I can’t be bothered to waste any more time , money and energy on something that leaves me feeling so…blah!
Last Wednesday we made the trek to St. Norbert for our last chance at herding before the trial at the end of the month.
On the weekend we went down to Bottineau, ND where I purchased a stock stick so now I look like I know what I am doing. My stick is plain white with a black handle and it’s nothing fancy – it cost $13.99(USD) – but it’ll do.
After Bear’s sheep biting episode the last time we went herding, I decided that I would approach herding like I try to approach other high arousal situations. We did some settle work before it was our turn and in between runs. We played the “look at that” game with the sheep and were generally able to keep the barking down to a bare minimum outside the working area.
This week the sheep we were working with were less cooperative than they have been before – meaning that the instant we walked in, they ran to the other end of the field and when we walked towards them, they bolted again. Bear was in quite the lather by the time everyone was settled enough to let him off leash. He managed to hold his stay, round up the sheep and bring them to me….then we actually tried a Herding Tested course which involves walking around the ring through 4 panels. The sheep were so sensitive that they did a lot of running which turns Bear’s prey drive on big time! However, I managed to position myself (by running) close enough to him that I could tell him to ease off with a verbal cue. I had to do this a lot and by the end of the run, between the running and hollering ‘easy’ I was tired and my throat ached. That being said, Bear was very reasonable with the sheep – not nearly as much dive bombing. Quite a few times, he tried to come around and head them off at the front but apparently, this was because I was using too much pressure to get him back off the sheep which meant he naturally moved to the pressure-free zone up front. Even with the flighty sheep, we were actually able to move them sheep around reasonably getting at least one sheep through each panel which would be a qualifying round at the herding tested level.
The second time around, we were on the same sheep, the dog before us had a real hard time moving the sheep off of the fence. They would stand and stare at him, even when he was literally standing with his nose almost close enough to sniff their bums. I was worried about these flighty sheep turned sticky because I didn’t know how Bear would handle things. Would he bite? Would he dive bomb? Turns out he did neither. He shoved his shoulder in between sheep and fence and nipped at the sheep, but not the high arousal, clamp down kind of bite like before. The instructor said this was acceptable, given the sheep’s reluctance to move. It took us a few tries to get the sheep off the fence but we managed to do it, get them around the course again and return them to their favorite pen. Bear was much more responsive this time, almost no barking.
This is it for us and sheep before the trial at the end of the month. I entered 4 Herding Tested runs and hopefully will come home with a herding tested title, if not, at least we would have had the chance to get out on sheep 4 times with a knowledgeable person. Hopefully I can convince someone to come with me to be my personal videographer/photographer.