The Dog Sports Open is a personal protection trial held at Cher-Car Kennels in St. Johns Michigan. Cheryl Carlson hosts the event which is based on pratical obedience and personal protection exercises. It is an excellent venue and I highly recommend that anyone who can attend do so. Cheryl is an amazing trainer with 30 years experience breeding and training. Chris Fraize once told me that "Cheryl has forgotten more about dog training than you and I will ever know." He was right.
There is a different "theme" every year, which all of the obedience routine is centered around. It is NOT for sterile, precision obedience. The scenarios are dynamic and challenging for any level of dog and handler team. This year's theme was "Jailbreak". Everyone was required to suit up in prison stripes before entering the field.
There are three levels of competition. Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. What follows are photos and descriptions of my experience in Beginner.
You begin your obedience routine (to theme music of your own choosing) in a jail cell with your dog. Suddenly, the PA begins loudly blaring sirens, klaxons, dogs barking, helicopters, police on megaphones, and gunfire. An "inmate" in a bitesuit throws your cell door open and runs away from you and your dog. He then hides in an on-field outhouse blind. Your jailbreak has begun.
You exit the cell and your first task is to tunnel (in real dirt, no less) underneath a chain link fence...and bring your dog with you.
Cheryl is a big believer in the ability to multi-task under stress, so there is always a "handler awareness" component to the DSO. This year there were three black boxes in random locations. The handler had to pick one of them up and bring it to the end of the course for full points.
Next is the A-frame. Cheryl voiced a complaint that we always ask our dogs to do things for us, but we rarely get in the mix with them and help them out. Hence the mother of all A-frames. It was designed for a dog AND handler with a stay platform on each side.
After the A-frame is the gauntlet. You must bring your dog through a hallway of barrels. There is a reason I have that goofy look on my face, and it isn't pharmaceutical.
Across the field in a guard tower sits Paul Heberle, competitive marksman, with a paintball gun and a red-dot sight. It is his job to shoot you as you cross the hallway opening. No, I'm not kidding.
Make a break for it. And don't drop the box.
After that is was a short belly crawl under some razor wire.
And then back into your cell where you can keep your box and the prize it contains or trade it for the one Cheryl has.
Protection to follow...
"My first priority will be to reinstate the assault weapons ban PERMANENTLY as soon as I take office...I intend to work with Congress on a national no carry law, 1 gun a month purchase limits, and bans on all semi-automatic guns."-Barack Obama
"When in doubt, whip it out."-Nuge