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2017 Top Rally Dogs

Top Rally Dogs - Official 2017 Results

Meet Canada's Top Rally Dogs

Before Chevy and Kathryn met they had both been active and successful in field and obedience events. Their new partnership and a new sport would become a perfect fit! Kathryn can’t say enough about the most recent addition to the family, “Chevy is an amazing dog and made my introduction to rally a great experience.” 

We had a chat with each of the ten TOP DOGS who shed some light on their most memorable victories and quirky anecdotes – here are their interviews:

#1  GMH & MOTCh. Zaniri’s Custom Coupe RAE3, TD, WCX, DDX


1-Chevy-Golden-Retriever-interview.jpgCall name: “Chevy”
Golden Retriever
Owners: Lori Little & Kathryn Poirier
Handler: Kathryn Poirier
 
How long have you been training this dog? Chevy and I have been training in rally for two years. He has been with me for five years and I was supposed to be his retirement home, but he loves to work and train so we decided to try something new.
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. Chevy had titles in obedience, working certificate, hunting, tracking and draft before I got him to be my running and hiking partner. A friend convinced me to try rally, and Chev and I were hooked. We both love the connection that rally gives us and it has only made the bond between us stronger.
 
What was your favourite moment of 2017? I don’t really have a favourite moment. The whole rally experience has been so much fun for Chev and I. The group we train with are amazing and the support and friendship both in and out of the ring is something I truly cherish.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  Chevy was highly trained before I got him and even though he had not competed for a few years before we started rally I have to be very careful with my body language. He reads me like a book and as a consequence I have had to learn to be very precise and to always keep in mind how he was previously trained as we learn new rally exercises.
 
What does your dog love to do when he’s not in the ring? Chevy loves to do anything that involves spending time with his people. If that happens to include a walk or retrieving of any kind, so much the better.
 
What drew you to this particular breed? I got my first Golden from a friend and was hooked. They have great personalities, temperaments and are always willing to please.
 

#2  GCh. Winberlee’s Back in Black CGN, CDX, RAE6, HT, HSS, HSD, SDSS, AgI, AgNJ


Call Name: “BO”
Bearded Collie
Owners: Ray Salmon, Ann Rambaud & Joyce Ann Burgett
Handler: Ann Rambaud2-BO-Beardie.jpg
 
How long have you been training this dog? About six years.
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. Herding, agility, nose work and some obedience.
 
What was your favourite moment of 2017? There were so many that it would be very hard to pick a favourite.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  We are still working on his and my speed in finishing a course.
 
What does your dog love to do when he’s not in the ring? I think that he just loves to hang out with my husband and me. He also loves going for walks and playing ball.
 
What drew you to this particular breed? Size, appearance and temperament.
 

#3  Ch. Boland’s Rachel Alexandra CGN, CDX, RAE3


3-Rachel-Doberman.jpgCall Name: “Rachel”
Doberman Pinscher
Owner/Handler: Katherine Stead
 
How long have you been training this dog? Rachel was born into my hands, so I’ve been training her since birth.
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. We’ve done some tracking, schutzhund and are just about to start scent work.
 
What was your favourite moment of 2017? Flying out to B.C. and finishing our RAE at the British Columbia Doberman Pinscher Club Specialty and winning the Roland Belanger Memorial Trophy for Highest Aggregate Score in Rally offered by the Dumbell Obedience Club. Rolly was one of the first judges out west to really embrace rally obedience and he was very encouraging in my getting my rally obedience judge’s licence. It was a huge honour to win the award.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog? Offset Figure 8s with food distractions. She is very food motivated and was able to self-reward at a trial, so we worked with a lot of food all over the house – on the floor, in bowls, in bags, anything I could think of.
 
What does your dog love to do when she’s not in the ring? Go for long runs in the woods at Guides Canins, training or lying under the blankets with me.
 
What drew you to this particular breed? I remember seeing my first Doberman as a kid – he was all paws, kind of goofy but oh so breathtaking. I was a horse person and he reminded me of a beautiful thoroughbred. I just knew one day I’d own such a beautiful dog and I’ve been very lucky to be involved with this breed for almost 20 years. Rachel epitomizes everything a Doberman should be and is such a joy to live with. 
 

#4  Goldunn Fly’N First Class CGN, CD, RAE4


4-Ace-new-photo.jpgCall name: “Ace”
Golden Retriever
Owners: Charles P. MacMillan & Joan M. MacMillan
Handler: Charlie MacMillan
 
How long have you been training this dog? Ace came to live with us when he was eight weeks old and his training started right away. As he continues with his training, his knowledge and skills grow. He has his dad Fly’R’s memory, which makes my job easier as he approaches the higher levels of obedience and rally.
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. Ace competes in rally and obedience in Canada and the United States.
 
What was your favourite moment of 2017? Ace and I competed in the AKC National Rally Competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where, at the ripe old age of two years and two months, Ace placed fifth out of 75 Advance-level qualifying teams.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  Ace is a very high-spirited dog that loves to jump any jump he sees. He is extremely fast and loves to move quickly in the ring. As I age, I do not move as quickly as I once did. In order to overcome these issues, I had to increase Ace’s vocabulary so he would understand what I wanted him to do and to keep him from going into business for himself.
 
What does your dog love to do when he’s not in the ring? Ace loves to play with his brother Deuce. He also loves to go for car rides no matter the length, as long as he is with us.
 
What drew you to this particular breed? As a child, when driving to visit my grandfather, my dad would stop at a Golden Retriever breeder to show us the puppies, as we lived in an apartment that did not allow dogs. When we moved to a house and because both my dad and I hunted partridge in the fall, we got a Golden to increase our luck. Training my first Golden to hunt made me a believer in the breed for life.
 

#5  GMOTCh. Riveron’s Caesar RAE3, MH, WCX


5-Caesar-Labrador-Retriever.jpgCall name: “Caesar”
Labrador Retriever
Owners: Heather Watt & Kevin Ross
Handler: Heather Watt
 
How long have you been training this dog? I began training Caesar about 7-1/2 years ago.
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. We compete in obedience and rally in the fall through early spring. In the summer, we train for retrieving competitions. This summer we trained and competed at the Master Hunter level and achieved our Master Hunter title.

What was your favourite moment of 2017? For most of 2017 I was competing against the same teams. To make it interesting, some of us challenged each other to see who would have the fastest time and/or win the class. Since I was competing in rally in 2017 with the aim of improving our performance in anticipation of the new levels coming out in 2018, this friendly competition made us push ourselves a little bit harder to remain precise while trying to maintain a good pace and attitude. It worked and we had fun.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  The constant starts and stops can be a challenge since we are used to being able to go for relatively long distances in the obedience ring. In general, I just added food to my training and started making a game of some of the exercises before mealtime or when warming up for either the rally or obedience ring.
 
How does it feel to be the only competitor in the Top 10 in two disciplines (for the second year)? It’s nice setting a goal and achieving it. It was challenging to stay Top 10 in Obedience since we tend to compete mainly in Utility. We also struggled a bit in the fall after a summer of training and competing in Hunt Tests (where we earned our Master Hunter title).
 
What drew you to this particular breed? I grew up with Labradors (as pets) so I thought I knew what I was getting. I didn’t know anything about competitions for dogs, but I believe he is much happier as a competition dog than as a regular family pet.
 

#6  Amaley’s Across The Universe CD, RAE


6-Jude-Sheltie.jpgCall name: “Jude”
Shetland Sheepdog
Owner/Handler: Brailen Smith

How long have you been training this dog? Jude is the first dog I have trained competitively. We started rally classes when he was five or six months old, so we’ve been training for two years now. 
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. Other than rally, we also compete in formal obedience. We have also dabbled in agility, herding, barn hunt, and participate in visits to our local nursing home and public demonstrations with our local club. 
 
What was your favourite moment of 2017? It’s hard to pick a specific moment, but any trial where my dog is working with a wagging tail and a smile is a favourite. Scoring some perfect 100s under judges who don’t give them out very often is pretty neat, too! Earning a Top 10 placing in his first year of actively campaigning was just the icing on the cake. 
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  The most challenging part of trialling this year was keeping myself relaxed. I am very competitive and I know that my dog can perform all the exercises perfectly; however, that was hard for him to do when I was anxious. I had to take some time to train myself, and saw my dog’s attitude and performance really improve after that. 
 
What does your dog love to do when he’s not in the ring? Jude is a real character and loves any activity where he can be the centre of attention. At home you can usually find this 12-pound Sheltie trying to herd a couple of 1,000-pound horses (often unsuccessfully, but he is yet to be discouraged)!
 
What drew you to this particular breed? We have always had Shelties and I can’t really imagine owning another type of dog. These dogs are always bursting with personality, enthusiasm and intelligence. It doesn’t hurt that they come with a pretty face, too. 
 

#7  GCh. dBella’s Vaudeville Vixen RAE5, AgN, AgNJ


7-Mae-Doberman.jpgCall name: “Mae”
Doberman Pinscher
Owner/Handler: Linda Hill
 
How long have you been training this dog? From the moment she was born.
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. Mae loves the conformation ring and also plays around in agility as well as barn hunt.
 
What was your favourite moment of 2017? The celebration of Mae’s seventh birthday weekend, which included eight rally runs with six High in Class placements and a perfect score. She then moved from rally over to the conformation ring with her BFF, Alana Smith. As always this team looked stunning and won Best Veteran in Group. Streamers decorated our setup where we had appetizers and cupcakes with many of our friends who have been so supportive and encouraging. It was a weekend filled with friends, fun and laughter.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  Mae started to forge and wrap herself in front of me, causing poor heeling especially on serpentines. We needed more than classes and I was fortunate to receive private coaching from Judith Snowden who fixed my footwork, tweaked my training and fine-tuned my signals, which resulted in a dramatic improvement in our ring performance.
 
What does your dog love to do when she’s not in the ring? Mae lives to eat and completely embraces the philosophy of her namesake, Mae West: “If a little is great, and a lot is better, then way too much is just about right!”
 
What drew you to this particular breed? Their unwavering loyalty, elegance and beauty, and their soulful, expressive eyes that shine with intelligence… and often a hint of mischievousness.
 

#8  Xhulu De Lescaut CDX, RAE2


8-Xhulu-Belgian-Shepherd.jpgCall name: “Xhulu”
Belgian Shepherd (Groenendael)
Owner/Handler: Sylvie Ferland

 How long have you been training this dog? Xhulu is seven and I started training him with age-appropriate exercises as soon as he came into the family at eight weeks of age.
List other events you participate in with your dog. Xhulu does mostly obedience and rally, and I have started him in agility and nose work.
What was your favourite moment of 2017? All moments spent with Xhulu are a pleasure. Getting his CDX with a High in Trial at the end of the year was definitely a highlight. With patience, perseverance, consistency and love, we have developed a very strong bond.
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  Small and very crowded trial venues are a challenge for Xhulu. I try to arrive the day before to manage his anxiety by showing him the venue, helping to make his experience a positive one.
 
What does your dog love to do when he’s not in the ring? He loves playing ball and being cuddled!
 
What drew you to this particular breed? I wanted a new challenge. Xhulu is my third Groenendael. I like the breed’s size, its sparkling eyes and its versatility.
 

#9  Aberdale Continuum RAE 


9-Quentin-Sheltie.jpgCall name: “Quentin”
Shetland Sheepdog
Owner/Handler: Heather Walton

 
How long have you been training this dog? I bred him and started training him as a three-month-old early January 2017 and started trialling him in Novice in June. He turned a year on September 27, 2017, and achieved his final RAE leg three days later.
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. None, we only do rally.
 
What was your favourite moment of 2017? My favourite moment was that one time when everything finally came together as a young team and we felt like dance partners.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  Remembering that he was still a baby and taking everything in stride and at his speed. I had to make sure he didn’t burn out, so I only asked of him what I thought he was capable of doing. The moment that he started to show some burnout, I gave him lots of time off to just be a puppy.
 
What does your dog love to do when he’s not in the ring? Free time just be a dog and have fun.
 
What drew you to this particular breed? Their total devotion to their person and their incredible willingness to please.
 

#10  CH Wyndenfog’s Fast And Furious CGN, CD, RAE3, AgN, AgNJ


10-Ian-Sheltie-1.jpgCall name: “Ian”
Shetland Sheepdog
Owner/Handler: Courtney van Houten

How long have you been training this dog? I have been training my Sheltie, Ian, for about five years.
 
List other events you participate in with your dog. We participate in AAC and CKC agility, scent detection and obedience.
 
What was your favourite moment of 2017? Getting his last gamble for his Agility Trial Champion of Canada title.
 
What has been the most challenging aspect of rally for you and your dog?  Our biggest challenge in the ring would be ceiling fans, but we’re working on it!
 
What does your dog love to do when he’s not in the ring? When we’re not competing, Ian likes to come to work with me (lucky for him, there are lots of other pups to play with at my job) and take trips to the beach.
 
What drew you to this particular breed? I wanted a smaller versatile dog… and my trainer badgered me till I took Ian.
 
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