Obedience dogs

Obedience dogs

The first obedience trial in North America was held in October, 1933. Between 1931 and 1933, Poodles had provided the means of working out details for our rules; still earlier, they provided the original inspiration for the sport on this side of the Atlantic. After 1933, they were used for promotion. Obedience training and exhibition at obedience trials are birthrights of our modern Poodles.

See: Catharine C. Reiley, "Poodles in obedience", Mackey J. Irick, The New Poodle, 6th ed. (New York: Howell Book House, 1986), pp. 361-9 (chapter 52) for an outline of development of the endeavour as well as many classic anecdotes, such as an account of the 10,000 miles 10-week "trailer trek" across North America during the fall of 1937 by Helene Whitehouse Walker (founder of the sport in North America, and charter member of the Poodle Club of America) and her then-assistant, the now-legendary trainer, instructor, and author, Blanche Saunders--with three Standard Poodles--to popularize the then-new sport.

Blanche Saunders' earliest, and most successful, book was Training You To Train Your Dog (NY: Doubleday, 1946). She also published books for children: Dog Care and Training for Boys and Girls (NY: Howell, 1976); previously published separately as: Dog Care for Boys and Girls (1964) and Dog Training for Boys and Girls (1962).

Two classic texts by Saunders are still in print: The Complete Book of Dog Obedience: The Guide for Trainers, 8th printing (New York: Howell Book House, 1988; first published in 1954) and The Blanche Saunders' Obedience Training Courses: Novice; Open; Utility (with Tracking), 7th printing (New York: Howell Book House, 1987; first published separately in 1958, 1961 and 1961 respectively).

Saunders died in 1964; her memory is honoured each year at the Poodle Club of America's National Specialty when a trophy in her name is awarded to the highest-scoring Poodle in the Open B class.

Nowadays, the contribution which Poodles made to obedience is still viable: most of us in North America, north to south, east to west, have routine access to dog training classes, seminars, videotapes, training manuals, articles, obedience matches and--obedience trials.

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