DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
BURNET — While you might think the only gig a dog has is snoozing away the afternoon on the couch, it might be recovering from a hard day’s work — at least, if it’s a working dog.
“Working dog?” you ask. “What’s that?”
Well, a good place to find out is at the fourth annual Working Dog Field Day on April 12 at Reveille Peak Ranch, 105 CR 114 west of Burnet and off RR 2341. The event, sponsored by the National Lacy Dog Association, offers numerous activities for dogs, dog owners or just interested people.
“A lot of people have dogs bred for certain jobs, but their dogs are basically pets and might not do an actual job,” said Courtney Farris of the NLDA. “Part of our event is to introduce people and their dogs to all the different types of activities available out there. You have some breeds, especially, that really thrive on having a ‘job’ or activity, and it helps them in many ways, from health to their behavior.”
The event runs throughout the day. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. Some of the activities include additional charges to participate, though watching is typically free.
While the NLDA is sponsoring it, Farris said it’s open to all breeds.
“Sometimes, even though the Lacy association is the sponsor, we end up having more non-Lacy dogs than Lacy dogs. But that’s OK because it’s all about getting the dogs and owners a chance to learn something new. Even, maybe, find a new sport or activity to participate in.”
Some of the topics and events include hog baying (all day), a blood-trailing workshop (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.), rattlesnake avoidance (noon-1:30 p.m.), a dog-breeding seminar (1:30-2:30 p.m.), a search-and-rescue demonstration (2:30-3 p.m.) and a trapping-and-treeing demonstration (3-3:30 p.m.) There are also opportunities for dog owners and dogs to earn tracking certifications Friday-Sunday (appointments required) through the Texas Blood Trackers (www.texasbloodtrackers.com).
One of the most important topics of the day might be the rattlesnake avoidance clinic, which is $50 per dog.
“This is something that any dog that’s outdoors could benefit from,” Farris said. “It’s rattlesnake season right now, and that clinic could really save you and your dog some serious problems.”
Farris will be giving a workshop on tracking. She’s the owner of several Lacy dogs (the breed is the state dog of Texas and was developed in Burnet County in the 1800s.)
“I’ll talk about ways owners can build better relationships with their dogs,” she said. “And, then, every team that signs up gets to try a tracking course.”
But this isn’t just a day for dogs and people interested in hunting or other similar activities. Farris said one of the best programs that would benefit all dog owners and dogs regardless of breed is the one led by J.P. Yousha of Chromadane (www.chromadane.com).
“J.P. is a nationally recognized Great Dane breeder and trainer,” Farris said. “She’s the first person to take the Great Dane and be ranked or certified in obedience, agility, (rally) and conformation in (the American Kennel Club). If you want to learn about breeding or puppies or just about anything else, this would be beneficial to all dog owners.”
Many of the seminars and training date back generations when early Texans used their dogs for working cattle, hunting and protecting livestock and family.
“There’s a long heritage for many of these things that goes back 200 years,” Farris said. “This is a chance for people to bring their dogs out and get some training or just see some of the things they and their dogs can take part in. There’s definitely something for every dog and dog owner.”
The Lone Star Bowhunters Association will be even holding a youth archery shoot throughout the day. Along with all the activities, folks can win items during a prize giveaway. One of the big items in the drawing is a Yeti cooler.
Go to www.nationallacydog.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the breed, this event or working dog topics. Go to rprtexas.com for more information on Reveille Peak Ranch.