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
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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)