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A new UD and what it takes to get it.

(This was originally printed on the USKBTC email list. It is reprinted here with permission of the author, Eve Fishell.)

2004 is a remarkable year – three – yes, 3 Kerries got the Utility Dog title – Evelyn Gansfuss’ Phoenix, followed by Jan Eno’s Jessie and now Virginia Barishek’s Andy. Never before did 3 Kerries get a UD in one year!

First of all I would like to congratulate Virginia and Andy on this great achievement. It takes a great team to get this prestigious title. While thinking about Virginia and Andy on my lonely dark 5 a.m. walk with my dogs it came to me that many Kerry people may not know what it takes to get a UD. So if you know or are not interested, there is no need to read further!!

Before competing in Utility the dog must have successfully completed CD and CDX titles.

To get the UD title, the dog must obtain 3 qualifying scores (170 or more), under 2 judges, achieving over 50% in each exercise. The dog works off lead at all times. The handler may give only one command (verbal or signal) for each portion of the exercise. The dog must not anticipate any command and must satisfactorily complete each principal portion of the exercise. The handler may not touch the dog or talk to him at any time during an exercise, other than giving the commands. Praise is allowed between exercises.

Utility has 5 groups of exercises during which the dog works mostly away from the handler. These are:

Signal Exercise
The handler may not give any verbal commands. The exercise consists of a complete off lead heeling pattern. On the judges command, the handler gives the dog a signal to stand, stay and the handler walks across the ring and turns to face the dog. He/she is directed to give a signal to lie down, sit, come and return to heel.

Scent Discrimination
The handler provides 10 identical articles, (usually dumbbells), 5 leather and 5 metal. The judge chooses one metal and one leather article and gives them to the handler. The rest are arranged in the middle of the ring and touched by the steward . The handler scents one article standing with his dog turned away from the articles. The judge places the scented article among the others. On command, the handler turns and sends his dog. The dog must go to the articles and retrieve the one scented by the handler, bring it to front, and then go to heel position. The same is repeated with the other article.

Directed Retrieve
The handler and the dog sit between the 2 jumps with their backs to the end of the ring. The Steward places 3 identical gloves, one in each corner of the ring and one in the middle. The judge selects which glove to retrieve – 1, 2 or 3. The handler turns with dog at heel, gives the direction and command to retrieve, and the dog must bring the correct glove.

Moving Stand
The handler with the dog at heel is given the command, “forward.” After a few steps, he/she is directed to stand the dog. The dog must stop, in standing position, while the handler continues to walk at a brisk pace for 12 feet, then stop and turn to face the dog. The judge then examines the dog, including touching the dogs legs. The dog must remain in the standing position. The judge then tells the handler to call the dog to heel, and the dog must return to the heel position.

Directed Jumping
There are 2 jumps in the ring – one on each side – one bar jump and one solid jump. The handler, on command, must send the dog away from him to the other end of the ring, and then order it to sit. The dog must turn and sit facing the handler. The judge then indicates which jump to take – bar or solid – and the dog, on command, must return to the handler over the indicated jump. The exercise is repeated with the other jump.

So there you have it. All you have to do is to do these 5 exercises correctly 3 times in front of a judge without a major fault and you have your UD. ;-)

Eve Fishell


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