Earthdog Work


Rats, Tunnels, and Our Terriers

by Carole Fry Owen

Earthdog work is a hobby you should consider to test the natural instinct of your Scottie, Westie, Cairn or any small terrier. My Scottie Rescue Stormy had a ball being an earthdog. She’s not a fancy Scottie, just a game terrier. I also had fun!

What’s involved? Your terrier scoots down a man-made (very safe) tunnel, finds one or two caged rats at the end of the tunnel and “works” the rats for a designated time by digging, barking, growling, lunging or biting to indicate he/she wants to engage the quarry. Sound like what comes naturally for your dog?

After just one short practice (which was a key to success!) to introduce her to a short tunnel and the rats, my Stormy “qualified” in “Intro to Quarry” both days at the earthdog tests in Houston, and also almost qualified as a Junior Earthdog in the longer, more difficult tunnel.

For “Junior,” Stormy needed to go down a 30-foot tunnel that had three 90-degree turns. Thirty seconds were allowed to reach the quarry. Then Stormy was supposed to “work” continuously for 60 seconds. Stormy was a barking fool, but she reached the quarry several seconds too slowly. Darn, but I was proud she did so well on her first tries on the harder tunnels. If she gets her Junior title, there are Senior and Master Earthdog titles we can pursue.

Unfortunately, Stormy’s “smartness” later got the best of her. She discovered at her next earthdog tests that she could stay in the tunnels and continue to have fun barking if she backed up so I could not pull her out. She also discovered she could “go over the top” and reach the quarry without going through the tunnels. Stormy needs more work.

Sadly, Tejas Earthdog Club of Southeast Texas, to which I belonged, has disbanded. The good news is that the Houston Dachshund Club bought TEDSET’s equipment and plans to start earthdog trials. Dachshunds are very game at earthdog work!

Chances are the Dachshund club will also have practice sessions to get novice dogs ready for basic earthdog work, like TEDSET did. The club’s website iswww.houstondachshundclub.org (click “useful links”). For information, contact Trish Mims at phantomdach@earthlink.net .

Another Texas earthdog contact is Doreen Workman, former president of Tejas Earthdog Club of Southeast Texas at doreenbcct@gmail.com . You are also welcome to contact me, Carole Owen, at ritescot@aol.com .

A great earthdog book is JoAnn Frier Murza’s Earthdog Ins and Outs, available on Amazon.com .

Several helpful earthdog websites are:

American Kennel Club: http://www.akc.org (search “earthdog”)

http://www.foxterrier.com/working-activities/earthdog/
http://www.cesky.org/earthdog.htm
http://psearthdog.freeservers.com/EarthDog.htm

How to Compete in AKC Earthdog Events

PAL and ILP are the magic letters which will allow your rescue dog, or your unregistered purebred terrier, to compete in performance events of the American Kennel Club. PAL stands for Purebred Alternative Listing. ILP (Indefinite Listing Privilege) was replaced by PAL. Both are forms of AKC registration for dogs.

With an PAL or ILP #, even an unregistered rescue dog can compete for awards in AKC obedience, rally, agility, earthdog, tracking, junior showmanship, or any events a Scottie or Westie, Cairn or other terrier is qualified to enter. A PAL or ILP registration shows that in the best judgment of the AKC, your dog is a purebred dog of the stated breed.

I obtained an ILP # on my Rescue Scottie Stormy so she could compete in AKC earthdog tests. Today she would get a PAL. It was very easy to do. I completed the application form, and received Stormy’s ILP number within several weeks.

Requirements:

  • Two recent color photos of dog: 1) full front view showing facial characteristics and 2) full side profile standing on flat surface (not grass)
  • Statement that the dog is spayed or neuter
  • Fee of $35.00

For a PAL/ILP application, download from http://www.akc.org/pdfs/ilpform.pdf ; or contact American Kennel Club, PO Box 900059, Raleigh, NC 27675; phone 919-233-9767; orPAL@akc.org .

AKC Purebred Alternative Listing

(formerly known as Indefinite Listing Privilege)

PAL and ILP are the magic letters which will allow your rescue dog, or your unregistered purebred pet, to compete in performance events of the American Kennel Club. With an PAL or ILP #, even an unregistered rescue dog can participate in AKC obedience, rally, agility, earthdog, tracking, junior showmanship, or any events a Scottie or Westie (or Cairn, etc.) is qualified to enter. A PAL or ILP registration shows that in the best judgment of the AKC, your dog is a purebred dog of the stated breed.

I obtained an ILP # on my Rescue Scottie Stormy so she could compete in AKC earthdog tests. Today she would get a PAL. It was very easy to do.  I completed the application form, and received Stormy’s ILP number within several weeks.

 Requirements:

Two recent color photos of dog: 1) full front view showing facial characteristics and 2) full side profile

. Statement that the dog is spayed or neutered
.  Fee of $35.00

For a PAL/ILP application, download from http://www.akc.org/pdfs/ilpform.pdf ; or contact American Kennel Club,
PO Box 900059, Raleigh, NC 27675; phone 919-233-9767; or PAL@akc.org  .