A new awards program, call the English Shepherd Versatility Awards Program is now being offered by the United English Shepherd Association. Here’s what they say about what this program is:
The breed is known for its wonderful temperament and versatile nature. Maintaining its heritage and these characteristics contributes to the health of the breed, and should still be apparent in modern dogs. This program helps preserve those traits by awarding versatility titles to the dogs that have distinguished themselves in a variety of activities, including athletic companion, herding, and performance sports to name a few. It also recognizes the many different life styles of the modern day ES and encourages owners to be active and have fun with their dogs.
One of our dogs is a suspected English Shepherd, so I was so interested to learn more about what the program is all about. Don’t have an English Shepherd? Probably! They’re not a very common dog. But it’s still worth reading on to learn more about what a program like this contains because it could be applied to so many different purposes. In fact, it would make a fantastic program to just do on your own for fun or team up with some friends and make a competition out of it. The activities involved are a wonderful chance to bond with any dog, of any breed.
Why would I want to get a Versatility Award, and who is it for?
The name says it all – versatility. This program has so many different options for doing many different kinds of things with your dog, and it’s appropriate whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area with an English Shepherd. You can participate in organized activities like agility and barn hunt, hike in nature, practice obedience, or work on your farm. This is a very flexible program that incorporates a variety of different activities and lifestyles, celebrating and demonstrating how versatile and adaptive the English Shepherd breed is.
Also, your dog will be recognized officially!
The UESA will award versatility titles to dogs that have completed the necessary requirements for each level of the program. These dogs will be recognized for their accomplishments in the English Shepherd Journal and on the UESA website, as well as receiving an award.
What do I need to do?
The first step is to to download this PDF with all of the information about the requirements and information about each title.
There are 6 Versatility titles in the program: Versatility Ambassador, Versatility Emissary, Versatility Excellent, Versatility Ultimate, Total English Shepherd and Total English Shepherd Champion. Certificate Titles are awarded to the dogs completing the necessary requirements for each level of the program, and recognized for their accomplishments in the English Shepherd Journal, UESA website, Facebook and membership.
The dogs that reach the highest titles in the program: Total English Shepherd and Total English Shepherd Champion, have demonstrated they have the temperament, intelligence, and working capabilities that represent the breed.
You complete tasks in each category, which gives you and your dogs points towards a title. Once you have enough points from enough categories, you can apply for a title.
Activities include everything from hiking and skijoring to pretty much all dog sports (flyball, barn hunt, treibball), education and therapy, modeling, attending parades, and scent work. These are just a few of the examples of activities that can earn you points towards a title. Versatile English Shepherd, indeed!
What does it cost?
The title fee is $15 for a USEA member, and $20 for a non-member. You submit your application form and documents providing proof you have achieved the requirements for the title using the information in this document.
Does it really make a difference?
Absolutely, in two big ways.
First of all, you are doing things with your dog. This helps you develop a stronger bond, and improves the quality of life for both you and your dog, by reducing stress and frustration. You both learn new things and enjoy time spent together. What could be better than that?
Second of all you are helping strengthen English Shepherds as a breed with great, quality temperament standards. Even if your dog is altered, you are spreading the knowledge of the breed both to where your dog came from (the breeder, if applicable) and to others you meet while participating in the activities that are part of the program. If your dog is able to complete these activities well, the breeder knows more about the traits of the offspring their dogs produced. If your dog has problems completing some of the activities, this information is also very valuable to know. So regardless of the outcome, the data helps a breeder choose the best dogs to breed for future generations of puppies, so excellent temperament traits can be selected in the process. And guess what! Dogs with excellent temperaments and personalities stay with their families, and out of shelters. This is a great thing for everyone.
But best of all, you get to do things with your dog. And most dogs think doing things is pretty great.
So do I need to know my dog is really an English Shepherd?
No! The wonderful part of this program is it is open to dogs who are not known English Shepherds (in other words, rescued and adopted dogs). Therefore, dogs like Tig who were rescued can participate in this program. The focus is on doing great things with your dog, and celebrating how versatile English Shepherds can be.
How to learn more about the English Shepherd Versatility Awards Program
Make sure to download this PDF with all of the information about the requirements, categories
Join Versatile English Shepherds on Facebook
To contact the program organizers directly, message them on Facebook or on the website contact page.
Versitle active dogs are generally fit dogs! Dog not fit? Participating in any program like this, or doing your own, can change that. Check out other fit dogs in the FitDog Friday blog hop brought to you by brought to you by SlimDoggy, Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love.