- Getting ready for competitions
- Shooting for a good manners award
- Competing in a variety of shows and athletic events
- Making versatility a priority for your Dachshund
Wow! It turns out that your Dachshund is great at this training stuff (see Chapter Putting Your Dachshund through Basic Training). He loves to learn new tricks, and the two of you have great chemistry when it comes to training sessions and obedience. Maybe you have a champion in the making. If you want something else to do in your spare time that includes your Dachshund, why not consider a little friendly competition?
Preparing for Competition
A basic obedience background is essential for any canine sport, so be sure your dog at least knows the basics (see Chapter Putting Your Dachshund through Basic Training). One good place to start? Taking the Canine Good Citizen test. See the following section for details.
Taking the Canine Good Citizen Test
– Accepting a friendly stranger. Your Dachshund must remain quiet and well behaved when a friendly but unknown person approaches, speaks to you, and shakes your hand. While you and the stranger talk pleasantly, your Dachshund must stay next to you and not show any sign of guarding you, of shyness, or of moving toward the stranger (barking and jumping up on the person are no-nos).
– Sitting politely for petting. In this test, your Dachshund must sit at your side while someone he doesn’t know approaches and pets him on the head and body. The stranger must then walk behind and around you and your Dachshund. Your Dachshund must not act shy, aggressive, or resentful toward the stranger. Again, no barking and jumping! (Don’t stop reading yet; your Dachsie really can do this!)
– Accepting grooming. The purpose of this test is to show that your Dachshund can be safely and easily examined and handled by a stranger, such as a vet, groomer, or friend. The evaluator combs or brushes your Dachshund and gently examines his ears and each front foot. Your Dachshund must accept such handling without acting shy or aggressive.
– Controlling your dog for a walk on a loose leash. You must demonstrate your control over your Dachshund for this test. Walk with him on either side of you on a loose leash — meaning no pulling on the leash for either of you. During your walk, you must make one left turn, one right turn, one about turn (which is turning around and going back the way you came), one stop during the middle of the test, and another stop at the end. Your Dachshund must stay in a good heel and may either sit or stand during the stops.
– Walking through a crowd. Your Dachshund must demonstrate his self control in a public place for this test. You and your Dachshund must walk around and by at least three people, during which time your Dachshund may display interest but not excitement, shyness, or resentment. You may direct, encourage, and/or praise your Dachshund during this test, but he must not pull on the leash and must remain at your side.
– Sit and Down on cue while staying in place. This test determines your Dachshund’s knowledge of basic commands. Ask your Dachshund to sit and to lie down. You may make each command more than once and may use more than one word. (You can include your Dachshund’s name in the command, for example, or add words of encouragement.) Next, you must ask him to stay, after which you walk down a 20-foot line away from him. During this walk, he must stay in place, although he can change position (move from lying down to sitting, for example).
– Coming when called. Your Dachshund must demonstrate his understanding of “Come” (see Chapter Putting Your Dachshund through Basic Training). In this test, you must walk 10 feet from your Dachshund, with or without saying “Stay.” Turn to face your Dachshund and call him to you. He must come when called.
– Reacting properly to another dog. For this test, your Dachshund must demonstrate his good manners around another dog. No, really, stop laughing! I’m serious. With your Dachshund on a leash, you must approach another handler with another dog on a leash, standing approximately 10 yards away. You and the other handler must stop, shake hands, talk pleasantly, and then continue past each other for 5 yards. Both dogs should show casual interest in each other but shouldn’t leave their respective handlers’ sides and shouldn’t act shy or aggressive (or bark, roughhouse, or growl).
– Handling distractions. Distractions are a part of life, and in this test, your Dachshund demonstrates how confidently he can handle them. The evaluator sets up some common distractions, such as a book being dropped to the floor or a jogger running by. Your Dachshund must show some natural curiosity in, and may even appear startled by, the distraction. But he must not act aggressive or fearful, try to run away, or bark at the distraction.
– Staying calm during supervised separation. The last test determines how well your Dachshund can behave when you aren’t around to influence him. The evaluator says something to the effect of “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and you agree. Hand the leash to the evaluator and walk out of sight. The evaluator holds your Dachshund’s leash for 3 minutes. Your Dachshund needn’t maintain a Sit or Down position, but he shouldn’t bark excessively, whine and cry, howl, pace, or act very nervous. Slight agitation is acceptable, because your Dachshund really has no idea where you went, and he loves you so!
Showing Your Dachshund: Isn’t She Lovely!
Show dogs can’t be spayed or neutered. The basic purpose of dog shows is to evaluate breeding stock. The best breeding specimens earn a championship, meaning they can put “Ch” before their registered names as a title. If your Dachshund is spayed or neutered, he can’t compete in conformation shows unless they’re informal (and non-title-earning) fun matches.
Shining in Obedience Competitions: Surprise ’em All!
- Companion Dog (CD)
- Companion Dog Excellent (CDX)
- Utility Dog (UD)
- Utility Dog Excellent (UDX)
- Obedience Trial Champion (OTCh.)
- Tracking Dog (TD)
- Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX)
- Variable Surface Tracker (VST)
- Champion Tracker (CT)
Spayed or neutered dogs may participate in both Rally and obedience trials if they’re registered with the appropriate organization. Some less-formal obedience events by local clubs may not require any registration. However, puppies less than 6 months of age, females in heat, and lame, deaf, or blind dogs may not compete. Dogs that attack other dogs or appear dangerous or overly aggressive will be disqualified.
Canine Freestyle for Dramatic Dachshunds
Competing in Field Trials: A Dachshund’s Destiny
1. A Field Marshall calls each brace to attention.
2. Volunteer brush beaters scare up a rabbit, and whoever sees the rabbit first shouts, “Tally Ho!”
3. After the rabbit has been spotted and has scurried away, the Dachshunds are brought to the place where the rabbit was spotted.
4. Each handler encourages his or her Dachshund to find the line, or scent, of the rabbit.
5. As soon as the Dachshund catches the scent, the handler releases the Dachshund; he or she must then stop giving instructions but may follow the dog — behind the judges only.
6. When the judges have seen enough to judge the Dachshund’s ability to follow the scent with persistence and enthusiasm, they ask the handler to pick up the dog.
Tracking tests for sniff-happy hounds
If your Dachshund loves to follow a scent (and what Dachshund doesn’t?), consider tracking. Tracking is a fun, addictive, outdoorsy sport, a sort of competitive form of canine search and rescue. Your Dachshund can earn tracking titles, and you’ll have fun watching him use his natural nasal abilities. For more information on AKC-sponsored tracking events, check out www.akc.org/events/tracking/index.cfm.
Competing in Agility Trials: Poetry in Motion
Agility helps both you and your Dachshund stay in great shape. It’s also the perfect outlet for your little performer. Any dog may participate in an agility trial, whether or not it’s registered or spayed/neutered.
Some Dachshund owners may be nervous about training their Dachshunds to do agility because of the jumping. Luckily, jumps are adjusted for the height of the dog, so a healthy, athletic Dachshund at his ideal weight should have no problem with the jumps. However, if your Dachshund has had back problems before, or you believe that he’s at risk for disk disease (see Chapter Handling Dachshund Health Problems), stick to obedience or another less stressful activity.
- Novice Agility (NA)
- Open Agility (OA)
- Agility Excellent (AX)
- Master Agility Excellent (MX)
- Master Agility Champion (MACH)
– The A-frame: Your Dachshund must go up one panel of the A-frame and go down the other panel after touching the contact zone, in whatever direction the judge orders.
– The dog walk: Your Dachshund must go up one ramp, cross a center section, and go down the other ramp after touching both contact zones, in whatever order the judge specifies.
– The seesaw: Your Dachshund must ascend a plank, cause it to seesaw the other way, and then descend, waiting on the opposite side to touch the ground before getting off — after touching the contact zone, of course.
– The pause table: Your Dachshund must jump onto a table, pause for five seconds in a Sit or Down position (according to what the judge decrees), and then dismount.
– The open tunnel: A flexible tube must be positioned so that your Dachshund can’t see the end of the tunnel when he enters. He must go in one end of the tunnel (the one the judge indicates), go through the tunnel, and come out the other side.
– The closed tunnel: This tunnel has a rigid entrance connected to a soft chute. Your Dachshund must enter the tunnel and exit through the chute.
– The weave poles: Your Dachshund must go between the first two poles from right to left, move from left to right between the next poles, move from right to left between the next poles, and so on.
– The single bar jumps: Your Dachshund must jump over a set of bars without knocking off the top one, in the direction the judge specifies.
– The panel jump: Your Dachshund must jump over a top board without knocking it off, in the direction the judge specifies.
– Other single jumps: Courses can include other types of single jumps for your Dachshund to jump over.
– The double bar jump: Your Dachshund must jump over two top bars without knocking off either one, in whatever direction the judge specifies.
– The triple bar jump: Your Dachshund must jump over three bars of gradually increasing heights without knocking off any, in whatever direction the judge specifies.
– The tire jump (or circle jump): Your Dachshund must jump through a tire opening in the direction the judge specifies.
– The window jump: Your Dachshund must jump through a window opening in the direction the judge specifies.
– The broad jump: Your Dachshund must jump over a series of obstacles of varying heights without touching them. He must enter between marker poles placed near the front and exit between marker poles placed near the back.
Competing in Earthdog Tests: Born to Burrow
Beginners can start out with the Introduction to Quarry test (not required for more advanced levels of competition). This test requires that your dog get to the rat within two minutes and work the quarry continuously for at least 30 seconds. This test can help you determine whether your Dachshund is a natural at earthdog tests.
– Junior Earthdog (JE): For this test, you must release your Dachshund 10 feet from the den entrance. He has 30 seconds to reach the rat from the time he’s released, and then he must work the quarry, staying within 12 inches of it, continuously for 30 seconds. Tunnels for this level of competition are 30 feet long with three 90-degree turns.
– Senior Earthdog (SE): For this test, you must release your Dachshund 20 feet from the den entrance. He has 90 seconds to reach the quarry from the time he’s released, and he must work the quarry continuously for 90 seconds. Tunnels for this level of competition are 30 feet long with three 90-degree turns, but they also include a 7-foot false exit and a false den consisting of a 4-foot side tunnel with no exit and a heavily scented bedding area with no rat.
– Master Earthdog (ME): For this test, two dogs work together. You must release your dog a specified distance from the real den entrance. However, the den entrance is blocked, and a false den entrance is available, so part of the test is to see if your dog can find the real den entrance and bark to be let in. Dogs that bark at the false den don’t qualify for this title. The first dog to reach the real den is temporarily removed so the second dog can have a chance to find it, too.
The first dog is then allowed in the tunnel and must reach the quarry within 90 seconds and work the quarry for 90 seconds. While the dog is working the quarry, the judge simulates digging sounds on the top of the den with a piece of wood for 30 seconds; the dog shouldn’t be distracted by this noise. The first dog is then removed, and the second dog is given his turn.
The tunnel for this test is the same as the tunnel for the Senior test except for the blocked entrance. A 20-foot scent line leads to the entrance, and the false entrance is placed somewhere along the scent line. Also, within the tunnel is an 18-inch section that narrows to a 6-inch passageway, and the tunnel contains a suspended PVC pipe obstacle, 6 inches in diameter, with 9 inches on each side of the pipe’s center line.
Becoming a Versatile Dachshund
To earn a VC, a Dachshund must have 18 or more VC points obtained from a conformation show and at least three of the following five groups:
– Field trials
– Obedience (including the Canine Good Citizen award, which is a requirement for a VC certificate and equals one point)
– Earthdog or den trials
A Versatility Certificate is a great accomplishment. It encourages well-rounded Dachshunds, and the hope is that breeders will avoid breeding just for looks, field abilities, or obedience skill. The more wide-ranging a dog’s abilities, the healthier and stronger he tends to be. Plus, a Dachshund with a variety of important jobs is a busy, happy, challenged Dachshund.