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aktualizované: 20.10.2011 16:41:35 

BarberStreet 23 Irish Terriers

 There are many activities you can share with dogs. Terriers are universal and there are no limits in activities with them. Unfortunately human members of BarberStreet team are limited - by age, time and so on. So we focused only on few activities - dog shows, dog trekking and hunting. Other dreams like cani-cross or skijoring we probably give-up to next generation.
Dog shows
In BarberStreet team there is no common accord regarding to dogs shows. For the one part (Marta) it is only stupid waste of time and money, for other part (Jozef, Basia, Rick, Aero, Maggie, Mia) it is the chance to show what we know, excite the competitors and meet our friends.
Dog shows are fine when (a) you have quality dog with show spirit and (b) you are prepared for unqualified judgement  and (c) you accept the fact that the decision could be done not according to quality but the other side of the leash and (d) you enjoy more to meet the friends than obtain ribbons and cups.
Dog with show spirit
Fortunately all our dogs have natural show aptitude. They are communicative and enjoy all this bustle, thousands of dogs, applause in the ring, chicken from fast food etc... so we mostly had prefect days on shows.
Sometimes I handled also the dogs without show spirit (fortunately not mine), and, although they were mostly very nice and we won the title, handling didn't bring any pleasure to me or dog (maybe only for the owner). In my opinion, the dog without show spirit suffers from shows and it's better to find another type of activity.
Prepared for unqualified judgement
Dog show environment changed rapidly during the years. I remember nice atmosphere and real experienced and knowledged judges 10-15 years ago. They mostly commented all their decisions so shows were source of knowledge for dog breeders and owners.The pressure on the economics brought higher entry fees and - all round judges, especially on International shows.
I don't believe that the one person is able to judge all dog breeds expertly. I can imagine that judge is able to learn the standard but at least the lack of experience is visible. When you have no experience in breed, you can judge only according to feeling, so eye-catching non-standard dogs are winning very often. Such practice can't help at all and can damage the breed (because unexperienced breeders choose Multi-chmpions and not standard dogs). 
Sometimes you can obtain unqualified judgement also from the specialist. According my experience the officials of dog clubs are mostly bad judges. They suppose that with the function they obtained wisdom as well. Contrary is the case. Off course exceptions exist.
The only possible defense is to select the shows according to judges. Sometimes you choose maybe only 2-3 shows in the year and the way to Championship is longer, but you prevent the disillusion.
Other side of the leash
The relations inside the community play significant role on dog shows as well. It could happen that you chose the right show with expert judge, you have perfect dog with show spirit and - you lose because the judge is good friend of your competitor. What to do? Depends on the situation. You can try to be judge's friend  :-) or study the relations between judges and breeders :-) but I don't think it's the best tactics (although many exhibitors use it). When you have really good dog the best solution is to show it. When the difference in quality is visible, you don't win but all people around the ring appreciate the quality. I experienced it more times - it was very fine for me but absolutely annoying for the judge. And sometimes the judge doesn't risk the reputation and you win.
Enjoy the time with friends
the time spent with good friends is more valuable than ribbons, cups and titles. This is our major rule for dog shows. Enjoy the dogs shows with real friends, nice weather (sometimes also bad weather), appreciate quality winners regardless if they are yours or your competitors. Than the shows will be cellebration for you.
 Dog trekking
By the definition the dog trekking is extreme sport. Because in our famility there is a long tradition of extreme sports ( human team members are former climbers and current fast-packers) we naturally started with dog-trekking when Basia grew out. In that time (1996) ther was no organized dog-trekking competition so we focused on fast-packing with dog.
Irish terrier is natural trekker. It's able to go many kilometers in every terrain more days in sequence. We made with Basia and than with Aero more serious hikes in Slovak mountains. These trips were interesting because of lenght (daily portion 25-50km) as well as by terrain severity (in some cases climbing terrain II-III UIAA). And Irish is able to make it without human help. Long winter hikes was also no problem.
When we got Norwich we doubt if such breed can enjoy trekking - and we were surprised. Although Norwich is no favorite for dog-trekking competitions, its ability to make  the same portions like Irish terrier is beyond question. The preparation for extreme performance takes longer time - Mia is 1 year in training and we make maximum 25-30km trips - but I am sure she will be able to go standard long trek (100km in 2 days) after 2-3 years of training. Winter trips are little bit problem (because of fresh deep snow) but it's no problem to take her in the bag when she is too tired.
Another favourite activity was bikejoring. When you have not enough time for serious trekking, to run alongside the bike is very exciting and useful for Irish terrier. Unfortunately Norwich can't do it because of their short legs. :-)
When you like outdoor activities we can only recommend to spend it with dog(s). It's great benefit for both sides.
 Nobody in our family is hunter. And we didn't like to kill animals. On the other side some of our friends are hunters and use Irish for hunting. I was curious about Basia's hunting abilities because at least 3 generations of her parents were the companions and not hunters.
We chose to test Basia's bloodhound abilities because we found it as a least destructive hunting activity. My friend prepared blood tracks and we started. First we wanted to show Basia what's going on so we took experienced bloodhound Bax. But Basia knew what to do She shortly attacked his friend Bax and started to  track. Our friend prepared very complicated, more than 1km long track but there was no problem for Basia. She did it  - and was disappointed because on the end was only the bottle with blood and not the wild swine.
We tested Basia more times, often in severe conditions. She was always successful. We tried the Bloodhound trials but we failed because of my dilettantism. Later Basia was used some times in practice (when other dogs failed) and she was successful as well. But it's history.
This experience is quite important for me. When somebody appreciated ugly dogs because of their hunting origin, he is completely wrong. The hunting ability is something what the dog possess naturaly regardless if its parents were hunters or not. All Irish Terriers I know have hunting abilities.