Friday, October 31, 2008

Vinlands Totty is the first puppy that I have bred and kept. As the last dog in the house, she claims she is neglected. She is. The rest of the pack claim that she is spoiled. She is. Poor Totty!!

She has gone through three classes so far at Sportsmen's:-Puppy Kindergarten, Beginner and Canine Good Citizen and is only 8 months old. She is not currently enrolled in a class and really needs to be. She is a high energy Icelandic.(Icelandics are already a high energy dog so she is really an handful.)

Here are some recent photos of Totty. She is what I call a chocolate tricolor.Her mother, Thordunu Kria, is a black tricolor.

I have already begun looking for a mate for Totty, even though she will have to wait until she is two years old, and have narrowed the candidates down to handful.

On Friday Huld earned her third leg for her Rally Excellent, RE, title. In rather rapid succession she has earned her Rally Novice, Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent titles.

Rally is one of the dog sports that is becoming more popular especially with novice handlers. It’s a great way to get acquainted with dog sports like agility and obedience because there is less pressure on both the dog and the handler to do things perfectly, especially at the Rally Novice level.

There are three levels of rally: Rally Novice, Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent.

To earn a title at each level a dog and handler must work together as a team and successfully do all the exercises on a rally course. A qualifying score is 70 points out of a possible 100 points. Points are subtracted from 100 each time a team doesn’t do the exercise correctly. Judges can take off points for things like not performing the task correctly, having a leash that is too tight, excessive barking, etc.

Each time the team qualifies, they earn a leg toward the title. Three legs are necessary in order to finish and get the title. Beginning dogs can earn their Rally Novice, RN, title. Exercises in Rally Novice are done on leash. Exercises in Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent are done off leash and require increasing amounts of skill.

Frankly, Huld and I were not going to go as far as Rally Excellent. We had earned titles in Rally Novice and Rally Advanced and, I at least, was ready to retire.

She finished her Rally Advanced title in three shows but we had entered four shows. The closing date for future shows often comes before you know if you have qualified for current shows. So you may be entering your dog in a Rally Advanced show before you know if you have finished or qualified for a title.

If you have earned your three legs for a title, the Show Steward will let you move up to the next level if you ask. Because we had already paid for the fourth show, we went to the show, asked to be moved up, and were moved up to Excellent and qualified.

Let me say this about Huld: she loves to go to shows and do her stuff. Me? I’m not so crazy about the whole thing.

She - and I - are getting older and getting around has become harder for me (and her). Well, once we had one leg towards the RE title, we had to go on. Two more shows and we had earned our three legs.

My friend, Cathi Winkles, is the Training Director at Sportsmen’s Dog Training Club and also takes photos at dog shows. (The link to Sportsmen’s is below.) The attached photos were taken the day Huld earned her third leg in RE.

Huld insists that we be fair and mention the other dogs. Korpur has finished his RN title and was the first of my dogs to also earn his RA title. Kata and Kria also have their RN and RA titles. Kappu, the younger male in our pack, has his RN title. Totty earned her CGC the same weekend that Huld finished her RE title.

Not too long ago in April 2007 several breeders banded together to pay for a group ad in the Dog World issue that featured the Icelandic Sheepdog. We were all members of the Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America (ISAA). The ad listed the ISAA website as a contact for all of us. We were all such good friends and so excited about the future back then.

Other breeders had their own individual ads as well if I remember correctly.

I also placed my own separate ad which a great friend designed for me. I only had one call from that ad but I sold a wonderful puppy named Vinlands Loa to a fantastic couple in Minnesota.

From time to time Dog World and their near relation, Dog Fancy, still contact me to see if I would run that ad again. It is rather expensive and I’m retired and living on a fixed, but decreasing, income so I’ve always declined.

This year Icelandic Sheepdogs are again going to be featured, not alone but along with several other breeds, this time in an upcoming issue of Dog Fancy. Someone from Dog Fancy contacted several of us and asked if we would do individual ads or perhaps join together to place a group ad in that issue.

We talked with one another and decided that we would do another group ad and that this time we would also have a group website that interested people could go to in order to find Icelandics. The idea snowballed and we now have a small website. We call ourselves the Icelandic Sheepdog International Breeders (ISIB). All of the US and Canadian people on the ISIB website are members of the ISAA, some are lifetime members. We do not have a chat-room, have never had a meeting, and do not discuss issues. We are not a club and do not want to be a club.

Attached to this blog entry is a copy of our ISIB ad. Somehow the color blue was switched to red. Computers are amazing,aren't they?

We listed two phone numbers in the ad, an east coast one and a west coast one, in case readers of Dog Fancy do not have an internet connection.

We appreciate all the ISAA has done for the breed. Our ISAA breed club has done a great job. It is our turn now to help them by expanding the number of breeders that advertise thereby increasing public awareness.

Since some of the breeders that were interested in advertising in Dog Fancy are not ISAA members because they live in Europe or Iceland, having an "international" name is a way of encompassing everyone and explaining to the public that there are many options to explore when looking to buy an Icelandic Sheepdog.

In the December 2008 issue of Dog World Chihuahuas are featured. I counted almost 30 big separate color ads for Chihuahuas. In the classified pages of Dog World there are an additional regular 30 +/- ads.

I don’t think we will ever be taken seriously until we increase our exposure. We hope the small amount of additional exposure we’ve provided with our ISIB ad will add to the prestige of the Icelandic Sheepdogs and the ISAA.

We decided to step up to the plate, put our money where our mouths are, place the ISIB ad in Dog Fancy and help the ISAA with a show of our confidence in the great job they are doing!