I need to be a triplet

As you’re reading this, I’m probably either getting patted down by a TSA agent or winging my way over the country on my way to Orlando. (By the way, no one tell my kids that Orlando is the home of DisneyWorld. I’m already in enough trouble as it is with them.) But I’m not going to see Mickey or the Harry Potter park (though trust me, it’s tempting) because I already have enough to keep me busy with the AKC/Eukanuba show to fill an average 36 hour day.

I printed out all the events that are taking place and I ran out of ink. It’s that big.

And it’s not just a conformation show, what you typically think of when you think “dog show”. That is a big part of it too, but there are two other national AKC events taking place at the same time:

AKC Agility Invitational

This is the fifth iteration of the AKC Agility invitational, with dogs from Great Danes to chihuahuas bobbing and weaving their way through the course. I am actually fascinated to see a Great Dane run an agility course. How the heck do they manage to work that huge frame through the obstacles? It’s a mechanical miracle.

This is also the first year All-American Dogs (ie portmanteaus, ie mutts) have been invited to compete. I know this is a controversial decision, but I’m excited to see it, personally. Agility is such a cool sport, and it’s nice that anyone who wants to compete at this level, can. There are 592 dogs competing in this competition, nine of them the aforementioned All Americans.

This is ALSO the inaugural AKC Juniors Agility Competition, where accomplished kids from all over the country make me bemoan how behind I am on parenting my kids into more substantial accomplishments than “fished a grape out from under the couch before Brody found it.”

If any readers out there do agility and would like to do a guest post on the process, I’d love to have you. I love watching these dogs weave through the poles. Especially the little guys, who look like millipedes when they run.


AKC National Obedience Invitational

These guys kill me. They are SO GOOD. Obedience training starts (and stops, for most of us) at the novice level, with basic commands: heel, come, sit/stay. When dogs graduate to Open class, retrieving and jumping challenges are added. And then at the Utility Class, additional challenges include scent discrimination, directed retrieves, jumping and silent signal exercises. All under the pressure of being in a ring with a multitude of distractions. Seriously, the first time Brody did a sit/stay in a class with five other dogs there I almost died of pride. I can’t imagine working at this level.

There will be 146 dogs out there making my training look woefully inadequate. As with agility, this competition allows All-American Dogs (there are 6 competing in obedience) and will also have a separate event for the junior handlers.

No, really, I need to clone myself

This is what happens when I get overwhelmed with data. I obsess over shoes, because shoes are small, and I understand them. I have 35 e-mails from Jen at Eukanuba with information about this bacchanalia, hence my last post about shoes. On top of the conformation event and the agility event and the obedience event and the separate junior event, THERE’S MORE.

Eukanuba World Challenge:  A separate show from the AKC/National Championship, the World Challenge is a joint effort between AKC, Eukanuba, and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. 42 dogs from around the globe are invited to compete in both this competition and the National Championship.

I, for one, am hoping the guy from Belgium is back this year, because he was wearing the most amazing suit I have ever laid eyes on and I need a picture.

Dock Diving Competition

Flyball Competition

Law Enforcement and Military K9 Detection Competition (last year the cops took pride in letting us know their demo boxes contained actual drugs, because who would be stupid enough to try and take them from the armed K9 unit?)


My life is pretty straightforward. I get up, I have specific tasks to do and places to be at specific times. It is an orderly, linear process. I quickly find myself overwhelmed with inertia when there are too many choices, just like those parents who make the mistake of taking their kid to 31 Flavors and ask them to choose one instead of saying, “strawberry or chocolate?”

So you see my dilemma: Almost all this stuff is going on simultaneously. If I don’t pick, I’ll end up sitting in the concessions area all day fretting over all the things I’m not doing. So I’ll ask you guys, because you were really helpful in helping me narrow my field with Meet the Breeds- is there a specific event of those listed above that you think sounds SUPER AWESOME that I should write about? Or should I just break into a vendor booth and hide under a Golden Retriever blanket all day? I need your help!

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  • Tara Flynn

    I love watching agility, but have to say the drug dog thing sounds fascinating so it gets my vote.

    • It’s amazing watching them work. Those dogs are hardcore.

  • Cathey

    It ALL sounds great to me, but I’d say one important place to be is at the Jr. Agility Competition. We have to find a way to make more responsible adults when it comes to pets and other animals, and starting as kids makes a huge difference. Whatever parts you attend, I know you’ll keep us fully informed. Have a great time, Dr. V!

    • Thank you Cathey!

  • Lisa W

    Steal the Golden blanket for comfort, but I’d love to hear about the obedience stuff and the law enforcement/military competition. And of course, anything about mutts!!! 😉

    • I’m not sure when the All Americans compete but I’d like to try and figure it out.

  • gaylec

    Oh I’d be all over the Agility and Obedience. You could trim off time at the breed rings by not trying to see them all ( I KNOW you will watch the Goldens). Then just catch the groups and do the other competition events. I adore agility, I’d love to try it with Belle. I’ve done a lot of formal Obedience competition, but never agility, and it looks so fun for both the dogs and the handlers. Have a blast Jess, wish I was there with you!

  • I think it all comes down to personal preference. If it were me going, I’d be heading right to the agility ring to watch it (I’ve just started competing in agility so not only is it fun to watch, it’s also helpful!). I’d also really want to watch the dock diving because that looks like SO much fun. I find obedience work insanely boring to watch (and would be bored DOING it too). Flyball could be fun to watch but isn’t really my thing and sadly, I’m not sure I’d want to watch the law enforcement people unless I knew HOW they trained their dogs as that sort of thing tends to get trained through some pretty aversive means and I don’t deal well with that.

    • I’ve never seen flyball so maybe I should check that out.

  • Jeanne

    even though i compete in agility fairly regularly, i still love to watch it whenever i get the chance. but we don’t have many flyball competitions around here, and they are so fun to watch. i’d definitly go for that. and the drugs. i mean, the k9 competition…!

    • Yes, hello officer, I’m here for the drugs….I mean, wait….

  • Janesbrowndog

    Agility all the way! It is so cool!

    • Aren’t they awesome to watch!

  • Anonymous

    Second the dock diving! I absolutely love to watch that on TV, and I know Clyde would love to participate if we had the facilities to train. Agility is always fun to watch as well.

    • Dock diving is a total blast.

  • I’m for agility, especially since they opened it up. The other one I’d want to see is dock diving, because both those events you can see how much the dogs enjoy it.

    • I love watching the dock diving. LOVE it.

  • Kolchakpuggle

    I’m an agility fan myself. If I was there, you’d find me glued the the agility events unable to look away! Have fun! Even if you don’t get to see it all – it’s still super cool that you are there!

    • SO much fun to watch!