Sports & Performance

102 – Dog Obedience with a What? Obedience and Agility with a Non-Traditional Dog: Gail Budde

dog obedience

Dog Obedience with a What?  Obedience and Agility with a Non-Traditional Dog: Gail Budde

Dog Obedience and Agility rings are filled with Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Corgis, Parson Russell Terriers, Labs and Golden Retrievers.  But what about Clumber Spaniels, Pugs, Bulldogs, Norwegian Elkhounds and Great Danes?

Dog Obedience with a Non-Traditional Dog - Gail Budde

Gail Budde trained the first Clumber Spaniel to get a Utility Dog leg, "Breaker".  Breakaway N or M, CDX, RE, MJP, MXP, TDI, CGCA, TT, NFP continued to compete in agility until the age of 10, and obedience until 11 years.

dog obedience


Body Structures and Abilities

Clumber Spaniels are long and low, heavy-bodied, intelligent hunting dogs.  Great Danes and giant breeds don't turn on a dime.  Pugs and Bulldogs are not know for nimble leaps in the air.

Just because a breed has a different body structure doesn't mean that they can't succeed in obedience or agility.  They may not prance at your side with head cranked up or dance through the weave poles, but each breed can do the job with their own style.

Consider Structure, Don't Compare

First, don't compare and try to do what other breeds do.  Your dog is unique in it's structure.

Long and Low

Long and low breeds have straight sit challenges.  Consider the geometry involved.

Fast is Relative

Clumber Spaniels are not fast out of the gate, and teaching a fast recall can be a challenge.  Think change of speed vs greyhound speed and reward quick or energetic starts.

Rewards in Dog Obedience

Not every dog will chase a ball for hours or drill repetitive exercises.

Consider what makes your dog happy:

  • Chase a ball 2 times?
  • Tug?
  • Hide and Seek?
  • Food?
  • Squeakers?
  • Chasing you?

Be creative and be ready to constantly vary the rewards.

Training the Non-Traditional Temperament

Have confidence in yourself and your dog.  Be prepared for the two of you, as a team, to create your own unique obedience

Remember...linebackers, gymnasts and sprinters do not move the same.  They condition and perfect the body structure given to them.

Breeds have temperament traits as well.  Golden Retrievers are "want-to-do" dogs, and Clumber Spaniels are intelligent thinkers that require a meaningful reward for them.

Tailor your training to your breed, your dog.  Again, don't compare.

Are short, single exercise sessions best?  One, done then fun?  Or a series of 5 different exercises in a row?

About Gail Budde

Gail Budde trains Clumber Spaniels and Golden Retrievers.  All of her Clumber Spaniels are Therapy Dogs or in the process of becoming one.  Gail competes and enjoys most dog venues, including barn hunt.

"Breaker" - Breakaway N or M, CDX, RE, MJP,MXP, TDI, CGCA, TT, NFP

"Gin" - Kel Pye's Half Pint of Gin, UD, CGC

"Woody" - Cross Creek's Mr. Chips v Klpy CDX, NJP, TDI, CGC

pure dog talk

93 – Versatile Companion Champion Dog – What It Took To Be The First with Andrea Ford

Versatile Companion Champion Dog

Versatile Companion Champion - VCCH

Andrea (Kyllarova) Ford, newly immigrated from the Czech Republic, acquired a backyard bred Golden Retriever in 2000 as a companion. From those humble beginnings grew the very first AKC Versatile Companion Champion Dog team.

Versatile Companion Champion Jakki

Jakki introduced me to dog sports,” Andrea says. “Golden Retrievers have been my breed since then.” She adds that she’s learned along the way to research breeders to acquire her following three dogs.

I really enjoy training and showing dogs, attending seminars and learning more from different sources,” Andrea adds. “I am a member of the Golden Retriever Club of America, Huntsville Obedience Training Club and the Tracking Association of North Alabama.

Andrea says the key to success in earning the VCCH, a goal she achieved almost by accident, is the intense bond between handler and dog.

What is a VCCH?

VCCH is a title awarded by the American Kennel Club for dogs who have achieved the highest level titles in all of the companion events: obedience, agility and tracking.

Andrea and Jakki attended their very first AKC event together in February 2003. Six years later they made history with AKC’s newest championship title.

It took us three years from Novice A agility to his victory lap Master Agility Champion (MACH) run on February 26, 2006,” Andrea says. “He earned his UD title two weeks after his MACH title. All three UD legs were first placements with one of them at the Golden Retriever National Specialty in a class of more than 30 dogs.

Andrea says, “Our first time in Utility B was two weeks after finishing his UD and he won the class to earn his first 6 OTCH points. On the way to his OTCH, he earned 4 firsts in Utility, 5 firsts in Open, and 3 High Combined wins. In November, 2007, he completed the requirements for UDX and in June 21, 2008 he became an Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH).”

The PhD of Dogs

The AKC says the Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) title is often referred to as the “PhD” for dogs, and is the highest obedience title a dog can receive. To obtain an OTCH title, a dog and handler team must receive 100 points by placing first, second, third or fourth in the Open B or Utility B classes and a first place in Utility B, and first place in Open B and an additional first place from either class. In 2015, only 88 OTCH titles were earned in the entire country.

The VCD program was introduced in 2001. While hundreds of dogs of all different breeds have been awarded VCD titles, it would be eight years before the first team achieved the impressive Versatile Companion Champion (VCCH) title.

Obedience, Tracking and Agility

According to the AKC, “The Versatile Companion Dog titles are titles that are designed to acknowledge and reward owners of all breeds that compete in Obedience, Agility, and Tracking events. The VCD titles are a way to showcase their tremendous talent in so many areas.”


Listen as Andrea tells the powerful story of the journey on which she and Jakki embarked. You can learn more about the tracking component of the VCCH in Episode 92.

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92 – Tracking: Testing Your Dog’s Ability to Scent with AKC Judge Wally O’Brien

Tracking with Wally O'Brien

Tracking - Testing Your Dog's Ability to Scent with AKC Judge Wally O'Brien

Wally O'Brien is currently a tracking judge for the AKC, judging TD/TDU/TDX/VST (all levels) and also a tracking judge for the Australian Shepherd Club of America at all of the same levels.

Tracking with a Siberian Husky

In the mid to early 80s my wife and I decided we wanted to get a Rottweiler. We were being very selective and knew it might take us as long as a year to get one. In the meantime, I wanted to get involved with dogs more, especially tracking. So I used the dog we had, a 12 year old Siberian Husky. Huskies are not known for their tracking ability and I never did earn any tracking titles with her.

I couldn't find anyone doing AKC tracking at that time and ended up tracking with a Schutzhund (now IPO) tracking club. After a couple of years I ended up becoming the head of tracking for the group. A couple of years later, as happens with many Schutzhund groups, they broke up. So at that point I started teaching tracking on my own. By that time, I probably had put about half a dozen tracking titles on my Rottweilers.

Teaching Tracking

When I first started teaching, all of my students had Rottweilers. I was maybe 4 years into it, when I got my first non-Rottweilers, a couple of Bloodhounds and a German Shepherd. DOGS WITH TAILS! When it comes to tracking, tailed dogs can have a tremendous advantage. Typically they'll wag their tail when on the track and stop wagging when off the track.

I had been running Medallion Rottweiler Club's tracking tests and doing the same for a couple of other clubs. Was there for other clubs, when I could be, as a tracklayer. Because of all of that, I ended up knowing all of the local tracking judges. I then started thinking about becoming a tracking judge. That happened in 1991, or 1992. I became a TDX judge maybe 2 years later. VST and TDU didn't exist.

Versatile Surface Tracking

Can't remember the year, but some time in the mid to late 90s, the concept of Versatile Surface Tracking came up. By this time I had developed a reputation as one of the more knowledgeable people in the Chicago area when it came to tracking. I became one of the people who helped get VST off the ground, but also one of the people who helped develop the rules for VST. Ended up as speaker at a couple of the early meetings and helping people train for the concept.

From early on in my tracking judging career, I have been fortunate to be one of the "go to" judges in Chicago.  At one time, I was judging maybe 14 assignments (for tracking you are there on both Saturday and Sunday). I don't have the exact number since the AKC has changed the way they calculate the number of assignments a judge judges, but I know I've judged over 300 tests.

As far as students are concerned, my students have earned every AKC and Schutzhund title that is offered. I quit counting the number of students and titles after 300. I know I'm getting old in the sport because I now have students of students of students now teaching tracking.

All-Breed Tracking

Students have had Rottweilers, Bloodhounds, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels, Italian Greyhounds (Only TDU IG in the history of the breed), Yorkie (Only TDX Yorkie in the history of the breed), Irish Wolfhound, Siberian Husky, Golden, Border Collie, and a Sheltie.

What is Tracking?

AKC Tracking is a canine sport that demonstrates a dog’s natural ability to recognize and follow a scent, and is the foundation of canine search and rescue work. In tracking the dog is completely in charge, because only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track. AKC

Getting Started in Tracking

The American Kennel Club has lots of resources for tracking.  If your local club wants to add the fun sport of tracking to their offerings, Wally suggests the club contact a local judge for training.
Tracking with Italian Greyhound Annie
Tracking with Italian Greyhound Annie
pure dog talk

87 – Dual Champions: Melissa Newman – Laverack vs Llewellin

Dual Champions Melissa Newman

Dual Champions: Melissa Newman - Laverack vs Llewellin

Continuing our conversation on the challenges of creating dual champions, Melissa Newman talks with us about her journey to build a family of dogs that meet this exacting goal.  From a childhood spent hunting with her family through the trial and error of acquiring a good foundation for her breeding program, her story is inspiring as to what can be accomplished with single minded dedication and focus. The Set’r Ridge dogs are iconic and can be found in many pedigrees of the top dogs in the breed.

Read more here

In a breed which most would consider “split” between shown and field, to the point Melissa describes them as two separate breeds, competing with a “Laverack” or show type English Setter in Field Trials is an uphill battle as the dogs’ running and pointing style are radically different than those of it’s “Llewellin” cousins. Just as the field dogs would not meet the standard of the dogs shown in the ring, the show dogs often don’t meet the judges’ unwritten but iron clad “picture” of a dog in the field.

Read here for more on the history of this development in the breed.

Enjoy this “talk” with one of the master breeders working to bridge that “great divide.”

Dual Champion Hadji - Melissa Newman

Setter Ridge is the home of Hadji (Dual Ch Can Ch Set'r Ridge's Solid Gold CDX MH HDX CGC), who passed on in February 2000. Hadji produced 129 American Champions including 16 all breed Best in Show dogs out of 12 different dams. He was the winner of the 1993 National Specialty, a field trial champion, and the 8th Dual Champions in the breed's history.

Dual Champions
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86 – Dual Champions: Preservation Breeders Proof of Form and Function – Frank Luksa

Dual Champions

Dual Champions: Preservation Breeders Proof of Form and Function - Part 1

One key element of preservation breeding, for many fanciers, is working to maintain the “function” for which the “form” of the breed was originally developed. The English Setter standard, for example, describes a dog “conformed” a certain way because those details enabled the dog to best do the job for which foundation breeders developed it.

Dual Champions

Dual Champions

For breeders and owners of sporting, hound and herding breeds, the holy grail of preserving form and function is generally considered to be earning a Dual Champion title. While there are innumerable tests and non-competitive venues in which to evaluate a dog’s working ability, the field trial or herding trial is a competitive sport. Earning a show championship and an FC or HC with the same dog is considered by AKC to be a DC… Dual Championship.

In researching a more in depth article on this topic, it is fascinating to look at which breeds have the most DC titled dogs and which groups have the most breeds earning DC. Look for that discussion in our upcoming newsletter as we celebrate the concept of “Form Follows Function.”

Frank Luksa - Part One

Meanwhile, we have two interviews with folks who have accomplished this feat with the same breed two decades apart. Frank Luksa, just this year, completed the requirements for his English Setter, Tessa’s, DC. Tessa was entirely breeder-owner-trained and -handled in the field and the show ring, making the feat doubly impressive. You can hear his story today and read more about it here.

Melissa Newman - Part Two

Melissa Newman was the breeder-owner-handler of the first and to date only BIS winning DC English Setter, Hadji, more than 20 years ago. You can hear her story on Episode 87.

Dual Champions

Frank Luksa Biography

I live in central New Jersey ,with my wife Maryella and daughter Hunter Robyn . I have owned and lived with a bird dog my entire life. My first dog was a big red Irish setter,named Snoopy. He started my addiction to bird dogs and being in field. I still have the fondest memories of my childhood following along with my dad, with Snoopy out front flowing through the uplands in pursuit of wild NJ pheasants !  Yes I said wild...days long gone in NJ.

As an adult my first birthday gift from my wife was a handsome liver and ticked German Shorthaired Pointer. We named him Grizzly. He was the first dog I trained myself after reading all the dog training books I could get my hands on and attending bird dog seminars. He was a very devoted dog. After Grizzly passed I did a lot of research and decided our next dog would be an English setter for hunting and family companion. Duke fit the bill . By joining the local English Setter club as well as the national club, I learned about AKC hunt tests, conformation and field trials.

I feel very lucky to have reached some personal milestones with our dogs over the years.

We are the proud breeder/Trainer and handler of the 13th DUAL CHAMPION ENGLISH SETTER . Other highlights have included showing & training the breeds first GCH  master hunter and exhibiting at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club in NYC .

It's my passion for the sport of pure bred dogs that made me feel the need to give back to it in anyway I can.  Judging Field events could be considered giving back...although I get such a great deal of pleasure climbing in the saddle and watching bird dogs it doesn't seem fair .

I have judged over 50 field events in 8 different states and I wish the Best of Luck to All!
~ Frank J Luksa Jr

Dual Champion

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84 – Obedience at the Garden: David Haddock, AKC Judge

Obedience David Haddock

Obedience at the Garden: David Haddock, AKC Judge

Obedience was not always offered at the Garden during the Westminster Kennel Club show.  David Haddock, member of Westminster Kennel Club and AKC Judge, was instrumental in the inclusion of obedience competition.

obedience david haddock

Obedience at the Garden - Photo by Diana Han


A native of Wichita, Kansas, David obtained his first purebred dog in the 1970’s, during which time he owner-handled the Alaskan Malamute to an obedience title and conformation championship. He later acquired Portuguese Water Dogs, handling one of the first PWDs to achieve both Breed Championship and Utility Dog titles.  He is a former board member of the PWD parent club and has authored several PWD articles that have appeared in national publications.  David and his family have also owned and exhibited Border Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, Havanese, Chihuahuas, Toy Fox Terriers, Whippets, and Samoyeds.

David is the long-serving President of the Nashville Dog Training Club, where he has been instrumental in developing multiple venues for canine performance.  During his tenure, the club has gained national recognition for its semiannual 4-day agility trials and multiple venues for obedience, rally, tracking, and lure coursing.  He is also a member of the Nashville Kennel Club, Santa Barbara Kennel Club, Westchester Kennel Club, and the Westminster Kennel Club, where he serves on the Dog Committee.  David is a nationally recognized obedience judge, having adjudicated at over 300 trials in 40+ states.  He is also approved for several breeds within the Working Group.

David is a graduate of Washington & Lee University (BA, 1983) and Columbia University (MBA, 1987).  He spent his early professional career with New York-based real estate and finance companies before embarking on a successful entrepreneurial career, first in the health-care field and later in consumer products.  He was a founding partner and/or executive in multiple start-ups and early stage businesses, including Windy Hill Pet Food, a roll-up ultimately acquired by Mars Pedigree.  He has worked internationally as a pet industry consultant, and owns and manages several niche brands within the pet food industry.

obedience david haddock
Obedience at the Garden - Photo by Diana Han

Article by David Haddock for the Westminster Times

obedience david haddock
obedience david haddock

The Dog Show: 125 Years of Westminster

William F. Stifel

David Haddock
Westminster Times Article by David Haddock - Westminster Kennel Club
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64 – Bloodhound Mantrailing and Canine Health Foundation Tick Program with Susan Hamil

bloodhound mantrailing

Bloodhound Mantrailing, Canine Health Foundation Tick Program and more with Susan Hamil

Bloodhound Mantrailing vs. AKC Tracking

Bloodhound Mantrailing is a Bloodhound Club breed specific performance trial that differs from AKC Tracking.  AKC Tracking is an all-breed event where the dog has to track every turn.

Bloodhound Mantrailing does not have to indicate each turn.  Scents can be 18 hours to 36 hours old.  Trails are variable surfaces - grass, parking lots, buildings, and the bloodhound has to give positive identification of the person that laid the trail.

Bloodhounds as Evidence Tools

Did you know that bloodhounds do more than find lost people or track criminals?  They also are used as an evidence tool in court and investigation.  An item is presented to the bloodhound, and the dog then "picks from a line-up" the person whose scent matches the item.

Susan Hamil - Quiet Creek Bloodhounds

#1 Bloodhound status belongs to Susan Hamil's Quiet Creek Bloodhound line.  However, Susan's dedication to the Canine Health Foundation and it's Tick and Disease prevention program demonstrates how excelled breeders and dog people give back to their sport.

Listen as Susan Hamil discusses many of the challenges and accomplisments of the Canine Health Foundation and her role as an AKC Delegate.

bloodhound susan hamil
GCGG Quiet Creek's Limited Edition - Courtesy of Susan Hamil, Photo by Diana Han
Bloodhound Club d'Italia
Chien d' Saint Hubert / Bloodhound Club d'Italia. April 2017 San Miniato , Tuscany, Italy
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62 – Lure Coursing with Cindi Gredys: Ready to Have Fun?

Lure Coursing Straight Racing Cindi Gredys

Lure Coursing with Cindi Gredys

Ready to Have Some Fun?

Cindi Gredy

Cindi Gredy

My first borzoi was acquired in 1994. I strive to produce beautiful and functional hounds so Jubilee dogs are tested in open field competition, as well as lure coursing, racing, obedience, and rally which has produced many dual champions. The first litter, in 2001, produced a SBIS, national WD and WB in the same year from BBE, multiple BIF winners, BCOA national LGRA BOB, bench champions in US, Canada, and Japan including #1 dog in Japan. Over the years Jubilee Hounds, with only a handful of litters, has accomplished #1 borzoi all-breed (owner/breeder/handled), Eukanuba/AKC BOB, Westminster AOM, multiple BCOA national specialty awards, & AKC NLCC Best of the Best (coursing) who also holds the BCOA record for most bitch specialty wins. In 2003 we welcomed our first whippet from Bohem.. Since then they have been in the Top 20 whippets 3 times and produced several dual champions. A dog lover of all varieties, I’ve also have owned a miniature wire-hair Dachshund, Rhodesian Ridgeback, English Cocker Spaniel, and a Gordon Setter. I am now also pursuing conformation judging and currently have Borzoi, Whippets, and juniors. Being a wife, mom, grandma and jewelry designer are the other great joys of my life.

Lure Coursing Puts a Smile on Your Dog's Face

Just look at the photos... these dogs were bred to run and Lure Coursing and Racing is a sport to showcase their natural traits and energy.

Consider Different Sports

So many sports, so many mental and physical challenges for us and our dogs.  So much opportunity to bond and experience our dog's full abilities and untested talents!


Lure Coursing Cindi Gredy

Lure Coursing - Cindi Gredy

Lure Coursing Cindi Gredy

Lure Coursing - Cindi Gredy

Lure Coursing "Inspired" Jewelry by Cindy Gredys

See and Read about Cindy's art and jewelry talents tomorrow!

jewelry cindi gredys
Lure Coursing Cindi Gredys
Lure Coursing - Courtesy of Cindi Gredys and KC's Snaps
Lure Coursing Open Field Cindi Gredys
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44 – Call the Coonhounds: Night Hunts, Water Races and more

Jason Duby and Blue Tick Coonhounds Big Adventures

Jason Duby loves to run his blue tick coonhounds.  Bench shows, field trials, nite hunts and water races are all coonhound competitions that earn AKC titles.

This introduction will be shorter than usual as nite hunts and water races are new to me, but sound like "great time had by all".

Competitions are held under both UKC and AKC guidelines and are most prevalent in the southern portions of the U.S.

Please enjoy Episode #44 on

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36 – Bird Crazy Dogs? Learn from a Master of Bird Dogs: Ray Calkins, DVM

Bird Dog Mentor: Ray Calkins

Mentors Who Last a Lifetime

by Laura Reeves

Ray and Lynn Calkins, Cascade GWP, were among my very first breed mentors. Back in the mid-‘80s, I acquired my first Wirehair when I was a teenager. She was eventually bred to the Calkins’ first Wirehair, the dog who would be the foundation of their long line of dual champion dogs. The connection has continued through the better part of 35 years.

When mom sent me the bitch who would serve as the foundation for my own line of dogs, she was a daughter of the Calkins’ most successful Dual Champion/National Field Champion.

Ray taught me about pointing dogs and field trials and, along the way, he and Lynn have generously shared their knowledge, their experience and their friendship.

Ray recently retired from his long-running and successful veterinary practice outside of Portland, Oregon. Past president of the GWPCA and a judge of pointing breed field trials, Ray was the 2014 AKC Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

As breeders, the Calkins’ Cascade dogs are extraordinary, as they are represented in the lists of all-time top producing sires of Field Trial, Hunt Test and Conformation dogs. Of the 10 Supreme ROM sires, two are dogs the Calkins’ bred and four more are directly descended from dogs they bred. Of the six Supreme ROM dams, three are direct descendants of the Cascade dogs.


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