Top Rally Dogs - Official 2016 Results

Meet Canada's Top Rally Dogs

1-TRD-Otto.jpg#1  Diaz Chien Policier RAE3, CDX
Call name: “Diaz”
Belgian Shepherd Dog
Owner/Handler: Sharon Otto
 
How long have you been training dogs? I’ve been training dogs for competitive obedience for about 10 years now. 
 
List other events you participate in with your dogs. My dogs have been in the top of their groups numerous times and in the Top 10 in rally and obedience. Diaz is my first Belgian and #1 Rally Dog. I start all my dogs in the rally ring before they go into the obedience ring. Rally is a great chance to get ring exposure for you as a handler and for your dog. Diaz will be back in the obedience ring this year. 
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? Every trial has been memorable with Diaz. Diaz is usually very perfect in her exercises. I'm usually the one making the mistakes! 
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? We go jogging to burn off some excess energy! Then we will work on some fronts and finishes, and heeling backwards to get her focused on me.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? Diaz is a typical Malinois, with a natural inclination to bite. My biggest challenge was to keep Diaz working without engaging her mouth. 
 
Advice you would give someone new to rally trials? I think rally is a perfect event to start a dog. Rally imprints the basics required for obedience. It's also a great place for people to get familiar with the trial atmosphere.
 
2-TRD-Freisen.jpg#2  Ch. Aikerskaill The Race is On CDI, RAE
Call name: “Lewis”
Whippet
Owners: Crystal & Doyle Friesen
Handler: Crystal Friesen
 
How long have you been training dogs? I started in obedience out of necessity with an out-of-control Labrador. My first CD in 1992 got me hooked. He was followed by two Standard Poodles and then Lewis. Each has been so different in their training, and I have changed my methods to suit their learning. Lewis is the end result of the goal to keep learning and to keep improving.
 
List other events you participate in with your dogs. We compete in conformation, obedience and rally. Lewis did try lure coursing but it was not for him as he has to leave me to catch the ‘bunny.’ He doesn’t like to leave my side.
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? Our most memorable trial has to be the Alberta Kennel Club rally trials held at Spruce Meadows in Calgary. Even though the ring was covered, the massive rain and hailstorms each evening soaked the venue. The ring was wet and the courses were challenging. For the six trials, we finished with four perfect scores under two judges whom I have a great deal of respect.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? I watch the course as it is being set up and choose three or four signs that I believe may be weaker, and then work through those. We then do a heeling spiral and head to the ring. He doesn’t need much time to get ready – too much time bores him. If the dog ahead of me is taking a little longer than anticipated, I will play tug with him to keep him focused on me.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? The most challenging aspect of rally for me has been to remember to keep it fun. I am very competitive and want a flawless performance. 
 
Advice you would give someone new to rally trials? Get a rule book. Knowing how the sign is to be judged gives a great deal of confidence to your performance. Watch the higher levels at the trial as well. When you have a picture in your mind as to how the run through should look, it gives you a goal to work towards. And, find a mentor.
 
3-TRD-Fly-R-MacMillan.jpg#3  GMOTCh.(2) Clitheroe R Commander N Chief RAE42
Call name: “Fly’R”
Golden Retriever
Owners: Charles & Joan MacMillan
Handler: Charlie MacMillan
 
How long have you been training dogs? I was introduced to obedience in the early 1970s. When he died from cancer, my wife and I said, “no more dogs.” That lasted about a month. We found a breeder who would not let us have “Mac” unless we promised to put a Utility title on him. OTCh. Shorelands Squire Mac O’Shay was my first AKC OTCh. and my first Top 10 obedience dog. If my math is right… about 45 years training dogs.
 
List other events you participate in with your dogs. Fly’R received basic training in agility and some dance moves. However, we liked obedience and when rally became a titled event, we tried it and liked it.
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? With Fly’R there were many memorable wins. On October 1, 2016, in his 14th year, Fly’R won the Rally HIT of HITs for the second consecutive year.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? Fly’R in his later years needed very little warm-up. I would always make sure that he was moving well. To make sure I had his attention, I would do a “205” – back up three steps. If he stayed in position, I knew his attention was on me.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? In 2011, Fly’R had to adjust his gait as I recovered from a detached quadriceps tendon. In 2015, as he slowed with age (but still wanted to compete as if he was two) we had to learn how to compete at his new speed. At the same time, Fly’R’s son Ace was coming onto the rally scene with the energy of a two-year-old.
 
Advice you would give someone new to rally trials? First, work on heeling. You cannot have a good rally dog without having a good heeling dog. Second, get someone who knows rally to show you how each exercise should be performed and then make sure that you and your dog are comfortable with each exercise. Find rally fun matches and then go out and enjoy trialling at rally competitions.
 
4-TRD-Schofield.jpg#4  Calinours Touch of Faith CDX, RAE6, SHDX
Call name: “Louie”
Pug
Owner/Handler: Yvonne Schofield
 
How long have you been training dogs? I have been training for 12 years. I started doing agility with my first Pug.
 
List other events you participate in with your dogs. Over the past 12 years, I have done agility, obedience, rally, scent hurdling, brace, as well as working with a vaudeville group, performing at senior homes with our dogs.
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? The trial that stands out for me was when I asked my dog to go to heel and he started to go around but didn’t come into heel position. I looked back and he was standing facing the two male ring stewards. He is nervous of men and was not going to turn his back to them. I realized then that I had better teach him a flip-turn.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? I like to get to a trial early to set up and walk my dog. I usually just do a few sits and downs, some spins and play a bit.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? I think the most challenging thing for me is to stay relaxed and remember my lefts and rights. I try to not overthink everything. My dog knows his stuff.
 
Advice you would give someone new to rally trials? Try to be upbeat and make it a positive and enjoyable experience for your dog.
 
5-TRD-Flanigan.jpg#5  Shelamo Man On A Journey CGN, CD, RAE4, AgX, AgJX, IP
Call name: “Journey”
Shetland Sheepdog
Owners: Judy & Terry Flanigan
Handler: Judy Flanigan
 
How long have you been training dogs? I have been training dogs since I was eight or nine years old.
 
List other events you participate in with your dogs. Besides rally, I currently participate in agility, obedience and nosework. In the past, I have also done tracking.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? Before going in the rally ring, I go through a few attention exercises with treats, of course, and then play with my dog. This allows us both to relax before entering the ring.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? With rally, every time you go in the ring, the course is different. The most challenging part, for me, is remembering the details of how each station is to be performed. My dog Journey and I compete in rally under different organizations, and the rules are unique to each.
 
Advice you would give someone new to rally trials? My advice for anyone doing rally, and not just beginners, is to study the rule book, especially the exact wording for how each station is to be performed and judged. It is very easy to mix up similar signs during the stress of a trial. Make sure you and your dog can perform each station with confidence before sending in your entry form and money.
 
6-TRD-Ace-MacMillan.jpg#6  Goldunn Fly’N First Class RAE, CGN
Call name: “Ace”
Golden Retriever
Owners: Charles & Joan MacMillan
Handler: Charlie MacMillan
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? At the ripe age of one and a half, Ace made the Rally Top 10, along with his father Fly’R. In October, at the Caledon trials under judge Isobel Hutton, son and father placed first and second respectively.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? With a young dog, you have to make sure that you have his attention. I do this by doing some warm-up heeling just before we are to enter the ring. If there is a station in the course that Ace has problems with, I perform it to remind him what he has to do.
 
Are there benefits/challenges to training and trialling more than one dog at a time? Most of the benefits relate to time and money. For us, travelling, food and places to stay are major costs of campaigning in Canada, as there are very few trials in our part of Ontario. Trialling two dogs with one set of travelling costs is a benefit. According to my wife Joan, the biggest benefit is not having to sit around waiting to go in the ring!
 
The challenge is to match each of their personalities. A young dog works faster and with less confidence than an older dog that is seasoned, confident and somewhat slower. Each dog handles stress differently and may work for different commands for the same exercise. Your job is to remember what goes with each dog.
 
What advice you would give someone trialling two dogs at the same event? Train both dogs at the same time. Keep the commands as common as possible and in training see how each dog handles the other dog’s command. Change their names when training so each dog is use to hearing the other dog’s name but still does the exercise. If needed, keep a book to help you remember each dog’s quirks.
 
7-TRD-Diedrich.jpg#7  Rival’s RUTripin CGN, RAE3, AgI, AgNJ, HIC
Call Name” “Rue”
Border Collie
Owner/Handler: Theresa Diedrich
 
How long have you been training dogs? I have been training dogs for approximately 20 years.
 
List other events you participate in with your dogs. I have competed in many areas over the years – agility, draft dog, flyball, Frisbee, herding, obedience and scent detection.
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? I really don’t have a memorable win in 2016, but I would say finishing my RAE was a highlight.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? I don’t really have a ritual. I do practise some of the exercises, so I feel more comfortable.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? I would say the most challenging aspect I have to deal with would be the fact that my girl is insecure and going into different venues is extremely tough. 
 
Advice you would give someone new to rally trials? Don’t be afraid to ask the judge questions. Keep calm and have fun. It’s not about winning; it’s about doing your best and creating a stronger bond between you and your dog. 
 
8-TRD-Lorrain.jpg#8  Kushnivas Hoodwinked The Devil
Call name: “Keisha”
Standard Poodle
Owner/Handler: Louise Lorrain
 
How long have you been training dogs? Keisha is my first performance dog. I started taking introductory obedience classes three years ago and began competing in rally to get over being terrified in the obedience ring. I fell in love with the rally teamwork and unlimited communication.
 
List other events you participate in with your dogs. We are actively training for obedience, although sheep appear to be even more fun than dumbbells.
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? Our most memorable trial of 2016 was the Ottawa Kennel Club. We moved up to Excellent and won all four classes. I was thrilled to earn our RE title at these trials. They were dedicated to the memory of Keisha’s breeder Rod Beaudry, an outstanding rally judge and a dear friend.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? My most important warm-up ritual is to keep calm, remember to breathe, and praise that puppy.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? The only aspect of rally more challenging than the food dishes has to be the food dishes with toys on top!
 
Advice you would give someone new to rally trials? Win or lose, enjoy the challenges and just have fun bonding with your best friend.


 
9-TRD-Watt.jpg#9  GMOTCH Riveron’s Caesar SH, WCX, RAE2
Call name: “Caesar”
Labrador Retriever
Owners: Heather Watt & Kevin Ross
Handler: Heather Watt
 
How long have you been training dogs? Caesar is the first dog I’ve ever owned or trained. I began training 6-1/2 years ago.
 
List other events you participate in with you dogs. We also compete in obedience, and retriever and hunt tests.
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? The most memorable trial would be the HIT of HITs. Unlike in regular rally trials, which start with the Excellent course and work their way down to Novice, we ran the Advance course first. Unfortunately, when we finished our second run (Excellent course), I forgot what level we were at and grabbed Caesar’s collar before going to the final sit/stay station. I hope I won’t make that mistake again.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? We play to get his energy up, then practise one or two exercises to give him confidence or remind what he’s supposed to do. Then we work on attention while practising fronts and finishes.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? The constant starts and stops can be a challenge. Since Caesar had finished his GMOTCh. before we started rally, he picked it up quickly. Most of our point deductions have been handler error (e.g., not being able to count my way through a figure 8).
 
Being in the Top 10 in two disciplines, what advice would you give someone trialling in two different events on the same day? Know your dog’s energy level, as well as your own. Some weekends we had 12 entries (six/day), which meant running back and forth between rings and disciplines. As a handler you need to be able to change your mindset between rings. Not only do you have to let your dog know which ring he’s about to enter (by doing drills specific to the course), you also have to remind yourself. I tend to not speak much in the rally ring because I’m still in an obedience frame of mind. However, I have occasionally forgotten which ring I am in when competing in Utility, and have given double commands, which has cost me a few points.
 
10-TRD-Rambaud.jpg#10  GCh. Winberlee’s Back in Black CGN, CDX, RAE4, HT, HSS, HSD
Call name: “Bo”
Bearded Collie
Owners: Ray Salmon, Ann Rambaud & Joyce Ann Burgett
Handler: Ann Rambaud
 
How long have you been training dogs? Over 30 years.
 
List other events you participate in with your dogs. Agility, herding, conformation, obedience, scent discrimination.
 
Most memorable win/trial in 2016? The herding High in Trial in August! The most memorable in rally would be four straight trials with perfect scores.
 
Do you have a warm-up ritual before entering the ring? I will do a few very basic exercises to make sure that my dog is happy going into the ring.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? Probably keeping up the happy attitude, as my rally dog tends to be a bit timid at times.
 
Advice you would give someone new to rally trials? Have fun and enjoy the moment. Love your dog no matter what happens. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t always qualify.
 
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