One of the fun things about pet photography in Chattanooga is that you get to meet some of the most amazing dogs and their people. Take Firelight’s Cariad Elgin Geronimo RA FDC CAA BCAT RATN SDPRO CGCA TKE for example. 

Vizsla Dog holding Flowers in his Mouth

Called Strider for short, I came across him and his person and trainer, Anna Craig, a few years ago. It has been so fun watching their journey together.


The Vizsla Breed


Strider is a 5-year-old Vizsla. According to the American Kennel Club, the Vizsla is a versatile, red-coated dog who was bred and built for long days in the field. Though the Vizsla is an elegant looking dog, they are built for sport, are very smart, and are extremely rugged.

Vizsla Dog with bow tie standing on rock

Anna works at a dog daycare and an came across a couple of Vizslas over the years that made her start researching the breed, and eventually, picking Strider. She finds them to be a very comical and fun breed that is always making her laugh.

Like most dogs that I meet while doing pet photography in Chattanooga, Strider also has some adorable traits that make him so endearing to his person. In Strider’s case, he always wants to have something in his mouth.  He has a favorite dinosaur toy that he uses just like a baby uses a pacifier when it’s sleepy time and he will fall asleep with his dinosaur toy in his mouth.  How cute is that?!

“He has been my best friend and led me down the road to becoming a dog trainer. It’s the best thing I have ever done.”


Dog Titles and Awards


The Vizsla breed excels at sports and Strider is no different. For those of you not in the know about dog events and awards, here is a breakdown of just what all those letters after his name mean.

Vizsla Dog Head and Shoulders

RA:  RA is the abbreviation for Rally Advanced.  It means that he has completed the advanced class in the sport of Rally Obedience.

FDC: FDC is the abbreviation for “Farm Dog Certified”.  This tests his manners in a farm setting around lots of animals and other farm things.

CAA:  CAA is the abbreviation for Coursing Ability Advanced.  This is advanced coursing where the dog has to stay committed to chasing a lure around turns for 600 yards.

BCAT: BCAT is the abbreviation for another coursing ability test but in this case, the dog is tested for speed in a straight line. RATN: RATN is a Novice Barn Hunt award.  This is where the dog has to sniff out a rat in a tube and let the trainer know when he finds it. It is also critical that the dog only alerts when a live rat is in the tube and not when the tube is just scented to smell like a rat. The dog must locate the live rat. The dog must also be able to fit through an 18″ wide by a bale-height tall tunnel. Barn Hunts test the nose, speed, and agility of the dog.

Vizsla Dog laying on bench

SDPRO: SDPRO is a professional stunt dog title.  Dogs must do ten test items in order to pass each level in the Stunt dog categories. To reach the PRO level, you must complete all the three lower levels first which means that to have an SDPRO title, a dog must complete approximately 40 different stunts. Some of Strider’s tricks include cleaning up his toys, bringing Anna a drink from the refrigerator, and wiping his paws.

CGCA: CGCA is the Canine Good Citizen Advanced award and is recognized as the gold standard when it comes to dog manners in a public setting.

TKE: TKE is the award for Trick Dog Elite. This is the highest level of Trick Dog performing and requires a routine that has a story or script.  A dog must already have the 4 lower level titles, must complete a minimum of 10 tricks and at least five of the tricks must involve props. No agility, obedience, or lures are allowed to be used.  

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