Friday, July 31, 2009

The Lhasa Apso Standard

As a mentor for our breed, I had the opportunity at the Waukesha show to talk to a prospective Lhasa Apso judge. Like others before her, one point she tried to make with me was that she thought our breed standard was too vague. I countered with the fact that the Lhasa standard emphasizes the features that set the breed apart and if the standard doesn't mention a trait, then a judge should take that to mean "normal canine [movement, structure…whatever]" is expected. I could see the light bulb going on in her head. "Oh," she said, "then for front movement one would expect them to converge toward center." Yes.

Those of you interested in reading about the Lhasa Apso standard can find resources at the web site of the American Lhasa Apso Club. At the top menu, click "Education" and select "Judges Education." When that information comes up, go to the menu on the left and select "Breed Standard," which will give you the official AKC Standard for the Lhasa Apso, "Annotated Guide," which will give you a written explanation of the Standard, or "Illustrated Guide," which provides the written explanation along with illustrations and photos. You might also want to watch the AKC video about the Lhasa Apso. Note that this video is divided into 6 chapters, so be sure to watch them all!

One of the activities at the American Lhasa Apso Club's national specialty will be a judges' education seminar. This will include the official ALAC Judges Education Committee presentation, opportunities for hands-on examination of Lhasas, and ringside mentoring. The specialty will be held October 14 -16, at the Hotel Carlisle and Embers Convention Center, Carlisle, PA.

Speaking of the specialty, if you want a week of Lhasas, Lhasas, Lhasas, you should plan to attend. The week includes 2 local specialties, a futurity, the ALAC regional specialty, and the ALAC national specialty PLUS seminars, banquets, games, and a fun match! People and their Lhasas from all over the U.S. will attend. Find more information on the American Lhasa Apso Club website.

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Wow…talk about a hectic two weeks! Two weeks ago I was frantically trying to get ready for vacation: dog grooming & bathing; laundry & packing; instructions repeated ad nauseam for my husband (poor man!) I left Illinois in the wee morning hours of the 16th to catch a flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I returned home on the 20th, after spending a delightful time in Miami with our daughter who moved there a year ago. Back home, I played catch up at work and at home, especially since I was preparing to leave again for a 3-day dog show in Waukesha, WI! (You guessed it: more grooming, bathing, laundry, packing, and repeated instructions. My husband is a saint to put up with me!)

Friday I left home at midnight and my friend and I, along with 7 dogs (Lhasas and Shibas) made it safely to Waukesha early enough to find a place to set up our grooming area. Since the show is an outdoor show, we were lucky the weather for the weekend was the mildest at that show in 30 years – something that dogs and handlers (and I'm sure spectators) all appreciated. Because I was showing Mira, who is black, I was very glad for the lower than usual temperatures.

The Good: Mira showed two of the three days and took Winners Bitch both days. She earned 3 more points toward her championship and now has all the single points she needs, plus one of the two required majors. I pulled her entry on Sunday since there was no possibility of a major win that day. Now she sits at home for a few weeks while we wait for a chance at majors at an upcoming 4-day specialty and all-breed show in MN.

The Bad: Belle was entered only on Saturday and she was her usual stubborn self. When I finally coaxed her into walking a few steps, the ringside crowd clapped for us. These Lhasas keep me humble.

The Ugly: My male, Joyslyn's Heart Breaker, certainly lived up to his name on Friday! He loves to go to shows; it is just that lately he has decided the shows are fine – except for the going in the ring and showing part! That attitude was not helped on Friday when, just as he was about to enter the ring, an older woman with an unattractive voice and a faulty sound system chose that moment to announce the class placements in the Great Dane ring next to ours. Oh my… many Lhasas at ringside totally lost it then, including Breaker. He freaked out. He was skittish as he went around the ring, tail down, looking behind him, weaving from side to side, just sure "something" was going to get him. On the table, he hesitatedd to stand for examination and was shaking and pulling away. I was mortified and, of course, so concerned that the entire weekend was going to be a repeat performance.

While others had the opportunity to settle their dogs down, I did not as Breaker was the only dog in his class and we were in the ring when it happened. It was not pretty, and neither he nor I had any fun in the ring that day. Saturday and Sunday were better days for him so I'm hopeful he'll bounce back. He took 2nd out of 3 both days and on Sunday took Reserve. He is going to be a challenge that I hope I am up to meeting. I'll keep you posted.

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Getting Ready for Meet the Breeds

This weekend, in addition to preparing for a trip to Miami to visit my daughter, I'm getting Walker (Ch. Joyslyn MiToya Wind Walker) ready for the Meet the Breeds event at the fair in Peoria. I chose to take Walker because (1) he is a beautiful Lhasa; (2) he loves to show and now that he is "retired" he seldom gets to go to a show; (3) I love to show him; and (4) I groom his long, lovely show coat a couple times a week and I want to show it off!

At this particular Meet the Breeds, the dogs will get to go into the ring and walk around it while information about the dog, the owner, and the breed is being read. Walker will enjoy being in the ring again and it will also be a good 'practice' session for a couple shows I plan to take him to in August. As I said, he enjoys the show ring and I enjoy showing him, so each year we go to a show that is nearby and strut our stuff. Sometimes we even place in the Group! Walker is not a good traveler, as far as staying in hotels is concerned. He fusses and whines all night, and unless I stick him in bed with me (which I have been known to do when I get frustrated with his noise), neither of us spends a very restful night. Thus, the area show is "it" for him. We can drive back and forth and be rested for each day.

Walker will be 7 years old at the end of October. He will then officially be a "veteran" and can be entered in the Veteran classes at the dog shows that feature those classes. His coat is easy to maintain so I'll probably keep it long and take him to some of those shows – as long as we don't have a lot of overnight trips!

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mystery Solved!

Will she walk? Won't she walk? How will Belle respond to her first experience in the show ring? The mystery is solved!

Today our little beauty made her debut in the show ring at the Blackhawk Kennel Club show in Amboy, IL, under judge Luc Boileau. Let me first say, that that man is definitely a judge you want to show under if you are showing a puppy. He is gentle with them on the table and very patient with an apprehensive puppy.

We did not show until after 2:00 so Belle had a lot of time to get used to her surroundings since we arrived at the show at 9:00 so Jane, the friend I travel with, could show a Sammy for another friend. Belle went to ringside to watch and we took a little walk around the rings that were less crowded. She had her tail up and was happy to greet people and other dogs. Ditto outside the Shiba Inu ring where Belle and I watched our friends Jane and Rebecca show their Shibas. We heard lots of "what an adorable puppy," "what a cute face," etc.

When it was Belle's turn to enter the Lhasa ring, I carried her in. Both judge and steward said, "What a cute puppy!." When Mr. Boileau asked me to "take her around," I informed him that this was her first show and going around might take some time! He told me to take my time and let her go where she wanted to go. With some coaxing and baby talk and help from a fuzzy "flat rat" toy, Belle took off, stopping occasionally to investigate the shiny green tape at the corners of the matting, a crack in the floor, and some bait another handler had dropped. She did fine on the table and the down and back. The only one in her class, she came home with her first (of many I hope) blue ribbon. Her first experience was a satisfactory one for both of us.

The same cannot be said of Breaker. He was the only dog entered in 9-12 puppy. Some noises from people scraping chairs and moving equipment spooked him and he was a handful. Back to class for Breaker!

I guess there always has to be something to fret about!

Mira took Winners Bitch and Best of Winners. She earned 2 points and now has 10. She needs one more major and some singles.

I owe many thanks to friends Jane, Rebecca, and Jill who helped at ringside.

That was my 4th of July! Up at 3:45; potty and feed the dogs; get myself groomed and dressed; load the car; leave at 6:00; drive; spend time at the show; drive; get home at 7:15 and unload dogs; potty and feed the dogs; throw some dog laundry in the washer; change clothes, feed myself, sit down at the computer and type this note. It is now 8:45 and I'm proud of my day's accomplishments! I hope your 4th was as satisfactory for you.

Life is good when you have a Lhasa to love you!