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A Solution For The Kerry Fall
by Lisa Frankland

This article first appeared in the Summer 1997 issue of BlueprintsOne problem faced by Kerry owners competing in obedience is how to deal with their dog’s facial hair, as several exercises require unobstructed vision. Although trimming it back or completely off is one option, the obedience regulations do permit the hair to be tied back using one to four neutral colored rubber bands. Most handlers showing their Kerries in obedience take advantage of this rule and braid their dog’s fall up; however, Lav has a fall that was layered to the point where braiding was nearly impossible. Torn between shaving his fall off for the Invitational or keeping it intact and risking failing an exercise because of blocked vision, I finally hit on the idea of making a line of three pony tails down Lav’s face, incorporating each previous one into the next. In addition to solving the vision problem without sacrificing the fall, the pony tails have the added advantage of being extremely easy to put in and take out. Some coated black elastic bands from my daughter seemed perfect for the job, being virtually invisible in Lav’s hair except for the small metal clip on each one.

As luck would have it, all three metal clips were plainly visible on Lav’s face on the first day of the Invitational. After being asked, “What is that on your dog’s face?” several times, I had had enough. When one of the judges, Joanne Johnson, next asked me that question, I quipped, “Staples!” which was the first thing to come to mind after hearing several jokes to that effect. Next thing I knew, I was being asked to wait at ringside while the judge summoned an obedience rep! Turned out that the judge thought I was serious, and that Lav was sporting surgical staples in his face. An embarrassed explanation to the rep quickly cleared things up, and Joanne Johnson was good enough to laugh about the whole misunderstanding.

I am continuing to use the coated elastic bands, but make sure that the metal parts are concealed when I show Lav. And I have learned to NEVER mess with a judge’s mind!


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