General Principles

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Canine activities at SCA events should be:

  • Safe- for humans, animals and the site
  • Educational - we are a nonprofit organization researching and recreating the Middle Ages and Renaissance
  • Fun - the real reason we do this
  • Others?
  • Details?

Safe:

  • Humans and animals should be healthy and physically/mentally prepared when the event starts (at the very least, no signs of contagious illness? hopefully wouldn't need shot records)
  • Activities should be safe, utilizing best practices/principles gleaned from real-world canine activities
  • Accessory animals (eg. geese for herding or rats for scent work) should be treated humanely.
  • Activities should be compatible with mundane dog training - no nasty surprises like a blind dead-end tunnel that looks like a standard agility tunnel
  • Equipment should be safe for the dogs, the handlers, and accessory animals, and not damage the site.
  • Set-ups should also consider bystander safety, especially children who might be tempted to play on agility equipment or run through a lure course and trip on the lines

Educational:

  • Activities should encourage an appreciation of the period bond between humans and their dogs
    • give our dogs the chance learn to be "real" dogs not just couch accessories
    • develop positive relationships with our dogs
  • Emphasis on plausibly period activities done in a period way as much as safety and practicality will allow. For example:
    • period-based scoring for coursing,
    • natural-looking agility equipment,
    • medieval timekeeping techniques...
  • Realistically, most actual dog training will have to happen between events, possibly with the help of non-SCA training professionals (see below)

Fun:

  • Keep things flexible and accessible:

open to different breeds, different levels of ability, different training backgrounds (AKC, UKC, etc.)

  • Competition can be fun, but not if it compromises safety or educational goals
  • Don't have too many rules.

Activity Ideas:

  • Classes - how to make a period-looking collar, role of terriers in medieval villages, etc.
  • Recruiting/Demo Classes - this is my dog doing this cool thing, this is how I got my dog to do this cool thing and you can do it, too.
  • Talent Shows/Research Presentations - this is my dog in a period-attempt at a pack saddle, this is my dog doing tricks based on "Of English Dogs".
  • Functional Activities - lure coursing, agility, scent work, herding...
  • Doggie Decathalon - the dog who can do the most different things well (only possible once we have a basic competence at a sufficient number of functional activities)