Dallas-Fort Worth Dachshund Club Earthdog Tests
by Karla Deithorn, Executive Field Representative
Dallas-Fort Worth Dachshund Club does it again! Twice in one month they have held events that showcase the talents of their members. The Earthdog Tests held at Rose Creek Kennels in Red Oak, Texas on February 21 and 22 allowed the members to show how they can pull together under difficult conditions with entries of 78 on Saturday and 62 on Sunday.
I arrived at the grounds to find committee members and judges attempting to bail out the den that would be used for master, Senior and Junior classes. Yes, I said, "bail", as in a bucket brigade. The water from the four inches of melted Valentine's day snow continued to seep into the den. The committee decided to dig a new den on higher ground, or as one club member put it "on a Texas hill." They moved the dens back further in the field, however, that meant the added distraction of a neighbor's chickens, turkeys and sheep on the other side of the fence. But I get ahead of myself.
The Texas soil in the pasture where the trial was held was heavy, thick black clay. Committee Chairman, Ken Hagmueller, drove off to get some help - a backhoe. He returned as some of the committee was also digging a new Introduction to Quarry den. Ken mounted his trusty, rented backhoe and, in short order, dug a new Intro den. While he was digging the new Master den on the other side of the field, Judge Mark Chenot began his Intro class. He began his orientation by saying, "Repeat after me, Earthdog is FUN!" The exhibitors followed his orders, then everyone had a good laugh. It helped relax the novice exhibitors and even lightened up the experienced ones. He gave an excellent orientation then hobbled out to the den. Oh, did I forget to mention that Mark had major knee surgery over the Christmas holidays and had only been off crutches for ten days? THAT is a dedicated judge! He had an entry of 24 in Intro and 6 qualified.
Mark took a break while Judge MA Klein did her three Master entries in the new, dry den. There were two qualifiers and the bye dog, Oliver who is owned by Tracy Freeling, had never run Master before. He did a good job of helping to complete the second brace.
Judge Mark Hamilton supervised the change of the den from Master to Senior level and then held his Senior orientation. There were 6 qualifiers and the rest of the 10 entries came close. It is always a treat to watch exhibitors calling dogs out of the den in this class.
Next was Judge MA Klein's Junior class of 41. The largest class of the day. There were 4 qualifiers, including Kipper, a Cairn Terrier who completed his title, as well as Lulu, a Border Terrier, who earned her first leg. Many of the Junior dogs had come right out of Intro and it was their first trial. They did a good job on portions of the test and they will eventually put it all together.
A few dogs decided they needed some livestock experience. Maize, a Parson Russell Terrier, tried her hand at chicken wrangling when some chickens came through the fence in the far corner of the field. And Sea Bee, a Smooth Fox Terrier, thought sheep herding looked like more fun than the den, when some sheep and lambs wandered over to the fence. Fortunately, none of the dogs seemed to be distracted by the big tom turkey on the other side of the fence who was proudly displaying for his hens.
Click on image for caption and larger view.
On Sunday the livestock was handled by stewards, Ken Hagmueller, Larry Innes, Mary Powell and Nancy Barclay. There were four in the Master class on Sunday and all four dogs qualified. The Dachshund Bentley, owned by Larry Innes, completed his title. This old dog did a good job of marking the den and worked continuously and LOUDLY through the entire 90 minutes. His bracemate, Gretchen (owned by Ron and Delia Johns), also earned a leg and it was her first time in Master. She entered the den and could be heard barking in frustration at the roller obstacle. She popped out the entrance to glare at her owner as if to say "Someone put a pipe in my den! Come help me!" When he just stood there, she glared at him one more time, then went in and rushed over the obstacle to still make it to the quarry in time. The second brace was two Parson Russell Terriers, Diva and Whipper, and anyone who says terriers can't work together hasn't seen these two. They hunted with each other and checked out the false den together. When they marked the entrance, they were all business, with no displaced aggression at all. They are a real credit to terriers. They were a joy to watch.
It was especially rewarding to see so many of the DFW Rescue Dachshunds performing so well at the test. And many of the breeds had a variety of titles other than Earthdog. Whipper, the Parson Russell Terrier, has titles in agility, obedience, and is a breed CH, plus is a Master Earthdog now!
Since Dallas-Fort Worth Dachshund Club just got the go ahead to start holding agility trials, I suspect the area will soon be a hot bed of agility as well. This is a club who believes in a well rounded dog and is willing to do the work to allow others to prove their dogs. They are a club that is special indeed.