We love Westminster and the dedicated breeders who preserve our cherished breeds!
The competitive start of the Iditarod starts in about two-and-a-half hours in Willow, Alaska!
It is more than the “last great race” — as mushers and dogs work as a team braving nature they are also paying tribute to important role sled dogs have played in Alaska’s history (for a great example, read about the Great Race of Mercy). We salute the people who keep, breed, train, and compete with these amazing dogs and the traditions they uphold!
Check out the infographic below for some quick facts about the Iditarod (man, that’s a lot of calories!):
Check out this video of a raptor taking out a drone:
Video provided by a Dutch company, Guard from Above, that has partnered with police to train these birds to disable drones.
While the idea of a bald eagle squadron guarding the white house may be far-fetched, if the technique can be perfected, we agree with the company’s founder that this is a very cool “low-tech solution for a high-tech problem!”
Next year’s Westminster Dog Show will be adding an obedience event, and we think this is pretty cool! Obedience training is a great experience for dogs and their owners — and not just for the sake of competition and titles; obedience training is a fantastic positive experience for dogs and their people that brings with it lifelong benefits.
A well-trained dog is the kind of dog that other people will be as delighted to see as you are. And dogs so often live to please — all that positive energy a “good doggie” receives means so much to them! Furthermore, training provides your dog with positive activities that stimulate them mentally and physically. Dogs have a need to interact with their people and to be entertained. Like people, they can get bored. What better way to improve the bond between you and your dog than activities that will improve both of your lives!
While an obedience title takes a lot more time and effort than many owners are able to commit to (which is fine!), it’s still fun to be a spectator at obedience events, and we love that this display of such a valuable — and at its most basic level, highly practical — skillset will now be part of the highest-profile dog show in the U.S.!
We were excited to learn this week that two more all-breed AKC dog clubs are adding dock-diving to their annual shows: Olympic Kennel Club in Enumclaw, Washington, and the Rose City Classic in Portland, Oregon!
You might think it silly to get excited over a dog sport, but for water-loving dogs and their owners, it’s hard to top the fun and excitement. Dogs of any size, breed, or mix can compete (no pedigree necessary) as long as it is safe and fun for your dog. What a celebration the human-animal bond! And much like agility, it’s an activity spectators can appreciate, too.
Here is a “how to” page from North America Diving Dogs.
A recent survey of dog sport* competitors tells us that they are overwhelmingly female, married or cohabitating, between the ages of 45-74, college educated, and hail from a variety of urban and rural backgrounds.
To anybody who regularly participates in dog sporting events, the picture painted by this survey seems pretty accurate, even if the numbers themselves seem exaggerated. And even if you haven’t been there and done that, the results make sense: being a regular participant requires a certain investment of time and resources that are not as readily available to all demographics.**
But after demographics, we find information that may actually be surprising to readers, responses that go against popular stereotypes. You know that old football saying: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing“? Well, at least according to this survey, winning is definitely not the only thing for people who compete with their dogs — in fact, it’s not even near the top:
The reasons the participants gave included improving their connection to dogs (36 percent), the social aspects of participation (40 percent), enjoyment (31 percent), the opportunity for physical activity for both dogs (40 percent) and humans (52 percent), or that people simply got pleasure from the time spent with their dogs and satisfaction from the team aspect of participation (34 percent). In comparison, only 13 percent of the people surveyed highlighted that it was the competition and accomplishment which served as the reason why they participate.
What is this? People enjoy events that allow them to socialize and share challenges with the dogs they love? The world of dog sports is not comprised entirely of judgmental cliques and monomaniacally ruthless competitors? Who’d a thunk it? True, this was a small survey — perhaps the hardcore competitors were too busy gathering up ribbons to fill out the questionnaire — but we don’t think it is inaccurate. We think these attitudes speak directly to an important bond, the camaraderie between the humans and dogs in these sports. We think these attitudes are what make these events so appealing and valuable!
*conformation, obedience, rally, agility, and/or field trials
** Interestingly, our own recent observations at dog sporting events suggest that there are also a lot more individuals in the under-30 crowd compared to past years — a demographic you might think least likely to have the time or resources available for such pursuits.
For many dog enthusiasts, the Westminster Dog Show is the most exciting and highly anticipated sporting event of the year. With a rich history dating back to 1877, top breeders and dog trainers from around the world work a lifetime for the opportunity to have their dogs recognized there.
Most of these breeders belong to AKC kennel clubs where they, along with other dog lovers, volunteer their time and work for the benefit of dogs, responsible dog ownership, and the preservation of their breeds.
They breed their dogs carefully, contribute to canine health by donating to scientific research and test their own dogs before breeding them… then test them again in the show ring.
In the world of dogs, to call Westminster a “big deal,” is a big understatement!
Of course, dog enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who eagerly await Westminster each year. Perhaps you have noticed that in the weeks leading up to Westminster each year animal rights organizations increase their attacks on AKC, purebred dogs, and dog shows exponentially — especially the larger, factory fundraising groups. This isn’t a coincidence: these guys love the Westminster Dog Show! Whether their appreciation comes in the form of carefully timed and targeted opinion pieces bashing the AKC, or more disruptive forms of attention-seeking, it is obvious that the animal rights crowd just can’t get enough Westminster!
And you know what? While we certainly don’t like it, we understand why they do it. Their fundraising and hence their very existence depend on exploiting (disparaging) the work of others. So even though they don’t produce any exciting, constructive, or entertaining events like the Westminster Dog Show themselves, they do know how to capitalize on its success; they’d be crazy not to grab on to the coattails of this, one of dogdom’s most important, venerable and visible events! After all, it is easier to get attention by inserting yourself into someone else’s picture than by doing something positive yourself.
At NAIA we believe that hands-on experience with animals is one of the greatest ways of fostering a child’s sense of responsibility and empathy, and of laying the groundwork for a realistic view of animals and our connection with them. Groups like 4-H have long provided youth with hands-on experience in areas such as agriculture — but when it comes to the world of purebred dogs and dog shows, there has been virtually no concerted effort to nudge forth the next generation.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t start now…
Great fun for a great cause. Click the image above to open it in PDF format and order your book(s) today!
Purina Takes over for Pedigree at Westminster
If you tune in to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show tonight, be prepared for a change of tone in the advertisements. Gone will be the usual ads focused on homeless dogs, sad and desperate for adoption, in will be commercials portraying happy, vibrant dogs at work and play — all types of dogs: show dogs, working dogs, rescue dogs, purebreds, mutts, therapy dogs, you name it. Read more »