At the present time, we participate in 3 AKC performance areas.
In addition to AKC conformation titles, performance titles are available in
Earthdog Trials, Rally Obedience and Agility Trials.
4 Junior Cairns complete their first leg at the Oregon Trails End Earthdog Club Trials in Turner Oregon
L to R David
Delyea with O'Rourke, Greg Perry with Kona, Val Perry with Recee and Vicki
Havlik with Mary and Oliver. (Oliver is a Master Earthdog)
Kona completing his Junior Earthdog title in
Crosswicks, New Jersey
Val, Greg and Kona celebrating his
new Senior Earthdog title, Whidbey Island, WA
Earthdogs A goal of cairn terrier fanciers, and
enthusiasts of other earthdogs, is to maintain the breed's working heritage.
Obviously, earthdog breeds have little opportunity for such work today, so the
AKC and other kennel clubs have developed earthdog tests to keep these skills
alive. For quarry, the AKC test employs lab rats, which are securely caged for
safety. Dogs must track the quarry through an artificially constructed tunnel
then "work" them for a specified period of time. Work is defined as
digging, barking and lunging, or any other action which indicates that the dog
is attempting to attack the quarry. Three AKC titles - Junior Earthdog (JE),
Senior Earthdog (SE) and Master Earthdog (ME) - are available based on passing
increasingly difficult variations of the test. The United Kennel Club, the
American Working Terrier Association and assorted terrier breed clubs have
similar tests with corresponding titles.
This is what terriers are all about. American Kennel
Club created the AKC
Earthdog trials to show cairns still have what it takes. Earthdog trials
are a lot of fun. This is how it works. The dogs follow the scent of the rat
down into a small tunnel that's approx. 9x9 inches. The dogs enter and
crawl through the tunnel and at the end is a
caged rat. The dogs have a time limit to start working the rats
(quarry) by barking, digging or lunging at it and have to continue
working for a specified period of time. There are four tests, Intro
to Quarry, Junior Earthdog, Senior Earthdog and Master Earthdog, and
only three titles. You don't get a title for the Intro to Quarry.
Intro to Quarry
Intro to quarry is for beginning dogs to get a taste of the work.
They have a shorter tunnel to go through and judge is allowed to
help. The tunnel is 10 feet long with one 90 degree turn.
Junior Earthdog (JE)
The junior test is harder in that the tunnel is 30 feet long with
one 90 degree turns. To get your JE your dog has to qualify in the
Junior earthdog test two times.
Senior Earthdog (SE)
The senior test has a tunnel is 30 feet long with three 90 degree
turns, a false den and exit. Your dog has to have earned at least a JE title to enter this class. To
get your SE you have to qualify in the Senior earthdog test three
Master Earthdog (ME)
The Master test has a tunnel is 30 feet long with three 90 degree
turns, a false entrance, den and exit. The dogs work in pairs (a
brace). Your dog has to go to the right
entrance, and honor another working dog. Which really means he has to wait and let another dog work without being too noisy. You have
to have earned at least a SE title to try this test. To get your ME
you have to qualify in the Master earthdog test four times.
To find out more about AKC Earthdog Trials, click
Val and Kula completing her Rally Novice Obedience
Val and Kona completing his Rally Novice Title
AKC Rally is the new dog sport that is taking the nation by storm, a
successful stepping stone from the AKC Canine Good CitizenŽ program to
the world of obedience or agility. Rally offers both the dogs and
handlers an experience that is fun and energizing. The canine team moves
at their own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was
designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be
very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.
A rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level.
Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. Communication
between handler and dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not
required, but there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and
handler. The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been
trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of
other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of
rally at all times and under all conditions.
The signs may be any color and they include descriptions as well as
directional arrows of exercises. Signs are numbered to make it easy to
find the next station when navigating the course.
All signs are placed to the handler's right side. The signs are large
enough to be easily recognized when going through a course. The
exercises designated on the signs will be performed in close proximity
to the sign itself, either in front, back of, or beside the sign.
Role of the judge
The judge must arrive one hour before judging in order to set up the
course for the class. Judges are open to questions that the handlers may
have regarding the course during the walk-through period.They must post
a copy of the course at ringside so that the exhibitors know what to
expect and where to go once they are in the ring. The judge must
evaluate the performance of each exercise and the sense of teamwork
between the dog and handler between the stations as stated in the AKC
The orders "Are you ready?" and "Forward" are given
to each handler who enters the ring.
Levels of Competition
The three levels of competition in AKC Rally:
Novice-This is the first level for those just getting started in
All exercises are performed with the dog on leash.
There is a requirement of 10-15 stations to complete with no
more than five stationary exercises.
The exercises performed vary from turning 360 degrees to
changing paces during the course.
Exhibitors at this level may clap their hands and pat their legs
through the course.
Advanced - this is the second level, which includes
more difficult exercises throughout the course.
All exercises are performed off-leash.
There is a requirement of 12-17 stations with no more than seven
Exercises include a jump as well as calling your dog to the
front of you instead of to a heel position.
Excellent - this third and highest level of AKC Rally
is the most challenging.
Exercises are performed off-leash except for the honor exercise.
There is a requirement of 15-20 stations, with no more than 7
Handlers are only allowed to encourage their dogs verbally.
Physical encouragement is not allowed at this level.
The Excellent-level exercises include backing up three steps,
while the dog stays in the heel position and a moving stand, while
the handler walks around the dog.
A qualifying performance indicates that the dog has performed the
required exercises according to the AKC Rally Regulations. Each
performance is timed, but times are only counted if two dogs earn the
All dogs and handlers begin with a perfect 100. A dog and handler team
is awarded a qualifying score if it retains at least 70 points after the
course has been completed. Once the team has completed the course, their
score will be posted ringside.
To find out more about AKC Rally Obedience, click
Agility is a sport that appeals to young people and to senior
citizens. It has great spectator appeal. Agility is designed to
demonstrate a dog's willingness to work with its handler in a
variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires
conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Dog and handlers
negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock.
The AKC offers two types of agility classes. The first, Standard
Class, includes contact objects such as the dog walk, the A-frame,
and seesaw. Each of the contact obstacles has a "safety
zone" painted on the object and the dog must place at least one
paw in that area to complete the obstacle. The second is Jumpers
with Weaves. It has only jumps, tunnels and weaves poles with no
contact objects to slow the pace.
Both classes offer increasing levels of difficulty to earn Novice,
Open, Excellent and Master titles. After completing both an
Excellent Standard title and an Excellent Jumpers title, owner and
dog teams can compete for the MACH - faster than the speed of sound!
(Master Agility Championship title.)
Agility began in England in 1978. The AKC held its first agility
trial in 1994.
Agility is the fastest growing dog sport in the United States and
is the fastest growing event at the AKC.
A trial is a competition. Clubs hold practice matches, then apply
to be licensed to hold official trials. At a licensed trial,
handlers and dogs can earn scores toward agility titles.
An advantage to AKC participation is that dogs can earn titles in
a variety of events such as conformation, lure coursing, earth dog,
retrieving and field trials, obedience, rally (as of 1/1/05), and
tracking, as well as agility.
In the first year of AKC agility there were 23 trials. In 2003,
there were 1,379 trials. The number of trials held in 2004 will be
more than 1,670.
In the first year of AKC agility (1994), there were approximately
2000 entries in AKC agility trials.
AKC agility is available to every registerable breed. From tiny
Yorkshire Terriers to giant Irish Wolfhounds, the dogs run the same
course with adjustments in the expected time and jump height.
The classes are divided by jump heights in order to make the
competition equal between the different size of dogs.
To find out more about AKC Agility Trials click
Canine Good Citizen
Many dog owners choose Canine Good Citizen training as the first step
in training their dogs. The Canine Good Citizen Program lays the
foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility,
tracking, and performance events. As you work with your dog to teach the
CGC skills, you'll discover the many benefits and joys of training your
dog. Training will enhance the bond between you and your dog. Dogs who
have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with-they respond
well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people
and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took
the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high
quality life. We sincerely hope that CGC will be only a beginning for
you and your dog and that after passing the CGC test, you'll continue
training in obedience, agility, tracking, or performance events.
Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to
approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.
The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in
a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake
hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment
or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to
touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the
handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the
head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the
exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not
show shyness or resentment.
Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed
and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or
friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care,
concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to
determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in
healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The
handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The
evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner,
lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not
necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the
examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give
Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The
dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should
leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is
responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog
need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the
handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct
the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either
case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at
least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk
to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal
tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.
Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in
pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and
handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three).
The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to
walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or
resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the
dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd
or strain on the leash.
Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the
handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place
commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler
prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner
chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this
test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler
may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to
get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the
dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force
the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance.
When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and
walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a
natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it
may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to
release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.
Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the
handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the
dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog
to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they
may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.
Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other
dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of
about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue
on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest
in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced
with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and
present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a
chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front
of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural
interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should
not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler
may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.
Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if
necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are
encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?"
and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight
for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should
not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything
stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the
dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management
attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").
All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting
buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special
training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, etc. are not
permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training collars
may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel
that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are
transitioned to regular collars.
The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler
should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.
Owners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test.
The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not
permitted during testing, nor is the use of toys, squeaky toys, etc. to
get the dog to do something. We recognize that food and toys may provide
valuable reinforcement or encouragement during the training process but
these items should not be used during the test.
Failures - Dismissals
Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only
exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in test Item 10,
but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.
Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a
person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from
To find out more about Canine Good Citizen click