Skip to content

The Nose Knows

March 20, 2017

Bailey and I have been doing Nosework training since last summer.  We had a couple of fun sessions at Atlanta Obedience club and I took a couple of virtual classes through Fenzi Dog Sports Academy (  Our dining room, deck and driveway have been our training grounds.

Nosework is a sport that mimics working search dogs.  The dogs are looking for a particular scent.  We are currently working with the National Association of Canine Scentwork (NACSW) scents and trials.  The AKC is just starting their own scentwork program.  NACSW uses 3 scents Birch, Anise and Clove.  The beginner scent is birch.

The way it works is the dog has to pass an Odor Recognition Test (ORT) on each scent and then they can begin to work towards Nosework titles.   There are 4 searches in the NACSW, Interior, Exterior, Vehicle and Containers.

The ORT is the beginning of it all, the ORT consists 12 identical boxes laid out in two rows.  The scent is in one of them and the dog needs to let the handler know which box the scent is located.  Each scent has its own ORT.

On Saturday we entered our 1st Nosework event, a Birch ORT.  Bailey was more than ready. We walked in and I asked Bailey to search and she went to work.  She checked the 1st line of boxes very quickly and then started on the 2nd row.  She searched the first 3 and then gave me the alert on the 4th box, I called it and we passed!  She worked like pro, I was so proud of her.

Now we will start working on Nosework titles.


Is it our turn yet?

All dressed and ready to go!

Making the turn to check the second line of boxes

wp-1489974188257.jpgThis is the one! The Nose Knows!  Alert!

We had a fun, fast run and I even got a compliment on my handling skills.

The little club that could and Does!

March 6, 2017

The little club that could and does!

In 1950 the Atlanta Obedience Club was formed and 67 years later AOC is still providing Atlanta great training and competition opportunities. 

I joined the club in 2013 and quickly realized that this club “had it going on”!  At any given time there are around 60 members on AOC who contribute much time and energy into making AOC successful.

AOC has a wonderful club building that provides a safe and comfortable place to train and compete.  We recently had all new sports flooring put into the building to provide an even better experience.  We use our building a lot!

When I say a lot I do mean a lot!  AOC holds training classes at a minimum 3 days a week about 9 months a year.  These classes are managed by our wonderful training director and taught by our talented members.  We hold STAR puppy
and CGC classes, Beginner Obedience classes, all levels of competition classes, Beginning agility classes, conformation classes and others when needed. 

Our classes are just a small part of what AOC does.  We often refer to it as the AOC death march, its starts in September when AOC hosts a Responsible Dog Owners Day, October we hold a 3 day Agility trial, November is Obedience,
where we hold a Novice only trial on Friday night followed by 2 Full Obedience trials.  December belongs to Rally and Tracking in addition to the Holiday happenings.  AOC holds stand-alone Rally trails, holding 2 trials a day on the weekend for four Q opportunities. 
Tracking is not a big number sport but we hold TD, TDU or TDX test in December. 

As the calendar turns to a new year, AOC just keeps rolling, January has another 3 day Obedience trial followed in February by another weekend of 4 Rally trials and another tracking opportunity.   We aren’t done yet, in March
we again hold 3 days of Obedience starting with the Novice only trial and the 2 Full trials.  April brings another 3 day Agility trial and a Seminar weekend for members and non-members alike.   Some years like this one we add additional events and seminars. 
This past September we added a Rally trial to give regional competitors the opportunity to qualify for the Rally Nationals which is being held in Georgia in 2017.  We are also adding an obedience trial to the end of the “March” in April to give regional competitors
one more opportunity to at the big “Perry” weekend.  We are also holding our 2nd Matthew Twitty Seminar

Once the weather turns warm we spend the summer highlighting AOC at local “fests” and dog events spreading the word about dog training and responsible dog ownership, hosting Canine Good Citizen (CGC) events and enjoying the summer.

I bet you can tell I am mighty proud of AOC and the members who make all of this work.  It is amazing to me how many times Atlanta Obedience Club or its members are featured on the AKC website or Facebook Page.  We are well known
for our wonderful hospitality, well run events and good attitude.   We welcome both the seasoned competitor and the enthusiastic new comer to our events and classes.  Big dogs, small dogs, Purebred or All American AOC is always happy to talk DOG.  With new
events on the horizon, who knows what the future holds but I know AOC and its membership will be involved.

Just a disclaimer, these crazy AOC people elected me as their Club President not once but twice! What are they thinking!

I love my dog club!





Oh Rats!

March 5, 2017

Cali had a new adventure today.  We went to a Barnhunt clinic at our favorite Barnhunt venue Family Pet Obedience School.   Tammy held a clinic for new/novice dogs and we took advantage of the opportunity.

Cali wasn’t sure about that big ol’ rat in the cage and but once it was in the tube and she had a good time looking for it.   It took a couple of tries but in the end she jumped on a bale and barked at the rat tube.  I’ll take that as an indication!


The loss of Joy

February 25, 2017

I haven’t visited our blog page for a while.  We have had lots of good thing happening here at Solstice but everything here is painted a bit grey as we move into spring.

A month ago we lost the boss of the house, our little fuzzy face, our delightful Sienna. Sienna was just weeks shy of her 8th birthday.  She was my Mom’s little heartbeat and the delight of her days.

She exhibited some tummy issues and she didn’t feel well but still eating and drinking and pooping so we were supporting the tummy issues and then all of a sudden she was sick!   The exam and blood work was inconclusive and our Doc thought a possible pyo so surgery was quickly scheduled.  Sadly she didn’t survive the procedure.  She had an intestinal rupture and there was no obvious causes for the rupture.

Our hearts are broken, especially Mom’s she lost her joy on four feet.  For me I realized I have been so very luck that until the loss of Si, I have never lost a dog in the prime of their lives.  Newborn puppies and old dogs yes, the circle of life but never one that was tragic and so unexpected.

Sienna will always be in our hearts and memories.  There are so many memories that she can never leave us.

Always, always in our hearts, love you always, always.

Sienna, Gruffels Solstice Paint by Numbers, RATI, RATN


A new venue and more new letters!

January 16, 2017

New puppy, new experiences!  This weekend Caliwags and I stayed in the Metro area and competed in the International All Breed Canine Association (
shows.  These are international style shows where each dog receives a written critique and a ratings card that earns their title.  The IABCA offers what they call the baby puppy class 3-6 months which was just right for 5 month old Cali. 

This venue offers 4 sets of shows on a weekend with an entry of 150 -200 dogs per show (guessing, I didn’t count).  Additionally they offered an Express show where a dog could earn a 5th
rating card.  The Express shows are simply an evaluation and not a competition between dogs.  It is done individually.  The judges we showed and were critiqued by where:  Mrs. Patricia Nemirovsky de Alsina (Argentina), Mr. Robert Schwalbe (USA), Mrs. Janet
Schwalbe (USA), Ms. Luanne K Dunham (USA) and Ms. Juliann Bitter (USA).  Groups were done by a 2 judge panel, we were also judged by Mr. Steven M Jeffery (USA) and Ms. Gloria Kerr (USA). 

Each judge provided written comments on the following:

Overall Impression







Front Quarters

Back Quarters




Cali received 5 SG-1 ratings which is the highest rating a puppy can receive and in doing so earned her IABCA National Baby Championship (NatBA), International Baby Championship (IntBA) and her Honors Championship (HnrBA).

IABCA NatBA CH, IntBA CH, HnrBA CH Stornoway Hot Tamale aka Cali 

Here are just some of the critique comments:

Overall Impression – “Excellent type”, “Nice puppy, typey, well built”.  Head – “typey, pleasing planes, fits the dog”, “Beautiful – Feminine”. Movement – “Excellent side gait, down and back very clean”, “sound and true”.  Front
& Rear Quarters
“Good shoulder layback and Good rear angulation”. “Excellent”.  “Well angled, muscular” Ears – “Correct shape, well used”. “Well set and carried, excellent size.

In addition to earning her puppy titles she also did well in the groups, she was awarded one Puppy Group 1s and 4 Puppy Group 2s.

The breeds representing the herding group at these shows were: Australian Shepherd, Beauceron, Belgian Malinois, Border Collie, Canaan Dog, Catahoula Leopard Dog, Collie (Rough), German Shepherd Dog, Puli, Shetland Sheepdog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, and the
Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

All in all it was a fun weekend.  Coming from an AKC background there is some frustration in the hurry up and wait scheduling that goes on.  Posted times are sometime just a suggestion and when you are used to the regimented AKC schedule where it is calculated
at 2 minutes per dog it gets a bit much when you think you have a 15 minute break and it turns into an hour + break.  But on the plus side, judges are not in a hurry, they give you time to set up, in addition to the critique they will chat with you about your
entry.  The ring waits for you if needed.  I saw one judge bring a novice GSD handler back into the ring with a more experienced handler to show her the right way to present her dog.  I saw a steward got to the other side of the building to round up some sheltie
folks so they wouldn’t miss their ring time.

The waiting also gives you time to hang out and chat, my BFF Leslie and her Keel Mountain Pembrokes also showed this weekend and we had time to chill, play with our dogs and talk and talk and talk.  We got to talk to our neighbors and some of my kennel
club friends and watch other breeds.  Cali and the Pem girls Edith and Eleanor got lots of training time too (along with some nice wins for all the girls).

Some of the other less appealing things were that there were no breed specialist although all the judges were AKC and/or FCI judges.  The other thing is paying for your title certificates, $25 for puppy titles and $40 Adult titles can add up with all the
titling options.  I remember I had to pay fees for our Mexican title certificates too and they were big fancy certificates so I will probably do it.

Probably the thing we liked the least was that there was no food vendor and nothing close enough to go fetch food with all the hurry up and wait.  We were there from 8:00am to 5:30pm and we humans were getting really Hangry and I know it tainted our opinion
of the day.

I thought it was a great opportunity for Cali to start her show career at these shows, less formal with more time.  She learned a great deal and was 100% better from Show 1 to Show 4, it was nice to have some outside feedback and confirmation on how Cali
is growing up.  There is another IABCA show schedule for later in the year and if the schedule allows I will go again.

 Cali says we conquered this show thing!

I’m proud of the baby girl, but I can tell you she was TIRED! At the end of the day.  She debuts in AKC next week in the 4-6 puppy class, we will see if she remembers what she learned this weekend.




Start and Finish, Finish and Start

January 9, 2017
tags: , ,

I am a bit late recapping 2016 but it was a good dog year, but every day with the dogs is a good one.  This was a year we tried some new things and added a new family member.

Our credits for the year:

Lindy finished her Open Barnhunt title.  She won’t go farther because at 11 I worry about the height of the bales in the more advance classes but there will be “B” Barnhunt classes in the future so she will still get to have a good time.  Even more exciting Lindy received the Registry of Merit – Versatility designation from the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America, we are so thankful for all of Lindy’s kids who helped her achieve this honor.

PJ, my main man!  I made him work a bit, you know his favorite thing is hanging around the house.  This spring we joined the Keel Mountain team at the International Canine Kennel Club shows and PJ (although evaluated as out of condition which he was) earned both his ICKC Intercontinental and International Championship.  Mostly he just ruled the house and yard.

Frosty tried some new stuff, she could have cared less about running CAT, she told me in no uncertain terms that she had no interest in chasing a trash bag.  She also tried Barnhunt and on the last day of 2016 earned her Barnhunt instinct RATI.  She also earned her Canine Good Citizen designation.



Bailey was the workhorse of 2016, like her daddy PJ, Bailey also earned her ICKC Championships.  She ran a lot this year, she finished her Coursing Ability Advanced title and is 9 passing runs from her Excellent title.  She ended the year as the 3rd fastest Cardigan in the AKC and is currently the only GCH running Fast CAT.  She has 137.5 of 150 points toward her BCAT, Fast CAT title.   We also started working on Nosework.  She loves finding stuff so we are excited to try it for real in 2017.  Barnhunting was a challenge for Bailey this year as she is in the Master’s class.  The dark and twisty tunnels have been our downfall this year but we will get there.


Sweet Banner, Ban is the stay at home girl but this summer I took her to Nosework class and she seemed to like the work she just doesn’t handle being away from home so I doubt we will go forward with competing but she has fun playing the game at home.


And then there is Cali, a highlight of our year is adding her to our family.  She has been busy learning how to be a good girl (she is a brat) but she did earn her AKC STAR Puppy certificate and is starting her training for all kind of things in 2017.


A sad note is that our Stoney took his journey to the Rainbow Bridge.  Stoney was my first Cardigan, my 1st Mexican Champion, my first Agility partner.   He spent his last few years with my dear friend Janne in El Paso instead of making the trip to Florida.  He had a great last few years as an only dog and I am forever grateful to Janne for making his last few years so comfortable.


So what are our goals for 2017?

Of course Cali will be a big part of our dog schedule in 2017, she will start her conformation journey in February and she will also start also start some other sports.  Lots of fun plans in the future.

Bailey will continue to chase the “bunny” and work on her CAT and Fast CAT titles and she has started work on the Barnhunt Crazy 8 title as well.  She is entered in her first Nosework test in February so we will see how much fun she has with that venue.

Frosty earned her 1st Novice Barnhunt leg on January 1st so we will continue to work on that and I might start her in Nosework and I still want be a better trainer and do some Advance Rally with Frost.

Personally, I am excited to be going the Westminster this February, Leslie and I are spending a week in NYC and I can’t wait.

I am planning on going to the CWCCA Nationals in Ohio in May which is always a wonderful time.

I am in my second term as the President of Atlanta Obedience Club and as always I am looking forward working with the club members to make AOC a great place to train and compete.

As always I hope to be able to help others and be a good sport.  I hope I can always remember that it is my privilege to work with my dogs and I look forward to all the fun we will have in 2017.




Of Merit

January 4, 2017

“The quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward

Several years ago I was very happy to be designated a Breeder of Merit by the American Kennel Club. It takes some time and work to earn the designation. AKC Breeders of Merit must demonstrate the following:

•Has a history of at least 5 years involvement with AKC events.

•Earned AKC Conformation, Performance or Companion* event titles on a minimum of 4 dogs from AKC litters they bred/co-bred.

•Member of an AKC club.

•Certifies that applicable health screens are performed on your breeding stock as recommended by the Parent Club.

•Demonstrates a commitment to ensuring 100% of the puppies produced are AKC registered.

Right before Christmas the dog that helped ensure that I had the qualifications to earn that designation was herself awarded a designation of Merit.


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America has a Registry of Merit (ROM) program for Sires and Dams who are successful producers. There are 3 levels Gold, Silver and Bronze and there is the ROM and the ROMV (the V stands for versatility).

BRONZE LEVEL ROM, a stud must have offspring who have earned a minimum of 15 credits; a brood bitch must have offspring who have earned a minimum of 7 credits. Also, to qualify a stud dog must have a minimum of 10 different offspring having at least one credit each; a brood bitch must have a minimum of 4 different offspring having at least one credit each.

SILVER LEVEL ROM, a stud dog must have at least 15 offspring earning a total of at least 30 credits under the guidelines; a brood bitch must have at least 6 offspring earning a minimum of 14 points.

GOLD LEVEL ROM, a stud dog must have at least 20 offspring earning a total of at least 50 credits under the guidelines; a brood bitch must have at least 8 offspring earning a minimum of 25 credits.

A Versatile ROM (ROMV) requires get to attain points in both conformation and performance/companion events. The number of get needed for Gold, Silver or Bronze remains the same.

My darling Lindy Hop who produced two litters with a total of 8 puppies earned the ROMV designation. Five of Lindy’s 8 puppies contributed to her point total. I am so proud of all of the puppies and thankful for their great homes. The puppies that contributed points to Lindy’s ROMV are:

From the Lindy x PJ litter

Solstice Flying Ace, RAE, CD, GN, NHIC (Charlie)

Arylan Flight from Justice, RN BN, NHIC (Bonnie)

GCH. ICKC CH Solstice Flying Start, CAA, RATS, RATI, NHIC (Bailey)

From the Lindy x Oz litter:

CH Arylan Custom Goldwing (Rider)

Solstice Fly Girl, RN CGC (Phoebe)

And if points could be earned from fabulous companion homes, Solstice the Flying Farmer (Zippy), Solstice Manhattan Project (Einie) and Solstice Pin Up Girl (Mandy) would contribute too.

I am so proud that Lindy has been included in the Cardigan Breed History as a ROM-V producer.

CH Arylan Flying Start, RATO, RATI, ROM-V