From the Editor

Putting it to the test

By

There seem to be unlimited opportunities for ambitious owners to showcase their dogs' athletic prowess in a host of exciting disciplines. In this Performance Issue, we're happy to profile some for you.

Strongdog competition offers the larger terriers and the bully breeds a chance to prove their mettle. James Tebbetts and Carol Hamilton are devoted terrier people who are working hard to popularize the program and have it adopted by the AKC. To learn more about the activity, read "Strongdog Tests" (page 44).

Have you ever been curious about the Schutzhund, French Ring Sport and UKC protection titles found in your pedigrees? These three performance venues require your dog to be proficient not only in obedience but also in agility, control and bitework. As longtime practitioner and writer Cheryl Carlson explains in "Acthtung! Find Out More About Schutzhund and French Ring Sport" (page 36), a common misconception is that training a dog to bite or grip a sleeve or suit will automatically make him dangerous, unstable or unsafe to have in public or in your home.  The truth is that bitework, when properly introduced and taught to a dog, makes him more responsive to commands, more obedient and less likely to bite someone he shouldn't. However, this is definitely not a do-it-yourself type of training. Find out more from Carlson in this issue.

Whether it's formal exercises and competitive trials or natural behavior around your home, your dog's nose is a gift we can only marvel at. As writer M. Christine Zink DVM, Ph.D., states so eloquently in "Scents and Sensibility" (page 40), "He barely steps foot on the front sidewalk before his nose is down, reading the pages of inhalation information accumulated there." Learn more about this primary sense dogs use to interact with the world in this issue.

While we are commending our dogs on their fine performance, we are equally proud to salute our talented columnists and contributors who were honored at the recent Dog Writers Association of America gala, held in New York on February 11 the night before Westminster. Terry Long's "About Agility" was nominated for Best Column in an All-Breed Magazine. D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D., had two of her articles nominated in the same category, for Best Feature in an All-Breed Magazine: "True Tales of Canine CSI" (December 2005) and "Researcher's Best Friend" (June 2006). In addition, "Researcher's Best Friend" received the Eukanuba Canine Health Award. M. Christine Zink, DVM, Ph.D., was nominated in the Best Subject-Related Series category for "Form and Function." Congratulations to Terry, Caroline and Chris on your winning performances.

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