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Elite Awards Explained

Looking forward to season 4!

May 15, 2020

Source: Todd Kellam
Email: tkellam@ukcdogs.com

As we reflect on the first three seasons of the Elite Shed Dog Series DOY awards, I am very well satisfied with the dogs that have been recognized as Dog Of The Year. All three are dogs that have made their mark in our sport. These are dogs that have become household names familiar to anyone who is very involved in our sport. In the end, that is what a DOY winner should be. Because these winners were (are) the elite dogs in our sport I can say that each of the three formats we tried did work.

That being said, there has not been a single season that did not meet with some criticism or controversy. No matter how we tried to make adjustments to address those concerns, it only opened the door for another concern. It honestly came to the point where respected individuals within our sport were offering the suggestion that if the season 3 changes left anything to be desired, that maybe we consider cancelling the DOY program. The discontent involved was starting to weigh enough to take the fun out of it. When you consider that last year we only issued 22 ticket books to 11 owners, it kinda puts things into perspective.

But throwing in the towel is not an option for me. I want to recognize the deserving dogs in our program. I want to encourage more young handlers by recognizing them also. But why stop there? We have Judges who generously give of their time so that the rest of us can run our dogs. We have clubs that go above and beyond to grow our sport and raise the bar for our events. The retriever breeds are hard to beat at this game, but what about the many other breeds that successfully retrieve antlers for their owners loving every minute of it? They deserve to be recognized. As do the new people and dogs coming up through our working dog class. We need to take a step back and celebrate all that is good in our sport.

I think the answer is to recognize more dogs and more people and do it more frequently than once a year. I cant wait to see the positivity of heart felt congratulations that will be coming quarterly throughout the coming year. It will be considered an honor to be nominated in any of the Elite Award categories. And when we all get together annually and I get the opportunity to announce, "And the Elite Award goes to..." it will be a good thing for our sport.

So how does it work? It's pretty easy. You start by training hard and enjoying time in the field with your dogs, your family and your friends. Then you support the efforts of your local club by taking your turn with event hosting duties. Then you load up and support the efforts of your neighboring clubs with your entries and fellowship. Determine a goal each season that is something to work towards for you and your dog. Then be proud of the ESDS titles that come your way in route to accomplishing those goals.

Our UKC database contains all the documentation needed to make performance-based decisions for quarterly nominations and overall award winners. A nominating committee made up of UKC staff will audit this data in making nominations based on event performance. It will not be necessary to purchase a ticket book. You will not need to declare at an event that you are running for any certain category. We will not open nominations to the public and turn this into a popularity contest. Simply enter and run your dogs. As often as you individually can safely and responsibly afford to do so.

You have to remember we started this program to give the shed dog community friendly competition and titles they could be proud of, recognized by the world's leading working dog registry. When any one of those goals becomes endangered, it's time to adjust. And we will adjust. And by doing that, will continue to give Honor To Whom Honor Is Due™.

The DOY section of the rulebook was updated, effective May 1, 2020 (PDF)

Good luck everyone!

Guided by the belief that dogs make a difference by being the best partner a human can have in the field, on the job, or in a competition event, UKC is a community for people and dogs to pursue excellence together. Founded in 1898, UKC has been dedicated to enhancing the lives of Dogs That Do More, and their owners, by providing essential resources to help owners and breeders make informed decisions. The dog-human bond is celebrated through family-friendly programs highlighting the instincts and heritage of purebred and mixed-breed dogs alike at over 15,000 licensed events annually.

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