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2018 Top Rally Dogs

Top Rally Dogs - Official 2018 Results

Meet Canada's Top Rally Dogs

Charlie has dedicated decades to trialing his Goldens and believes that rally was “an event made for us.” A truer statement could not be said. Since rally’s inception with the CKC, Charlie has placed in the Top 10 every single year. This was Ace’s third appearance and his first as #1. He is definitely following in the footsteps of his accomplished father Fly’R, who held the top spot four times

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

#1 – RGCh. Goldunn Fly’n First Class RMX3, CGN, CDX, RAE9


1TRD_001.jpgCall name: ‘Ace’
Golden Retriever
Owners: Charlie & Joan MacMillan
Handler: Charlie MacMillan
 
How did you first become involved in rally trials?
We started competing in rally at AKC trials. When CKC introduced rally, we felt it was made for us and attended the first CKC rally trial.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
Following in his father’s footsteps, Ace was introduced to obedience and rally with ‘fun training.’ He learned to heel and perform the station exercises having fun. As a three-year-old, he has not learned to keep his energy under control, but that will come.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
In October of 2017, I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. At that time Ace was poised to make a run at #1, all breeds, as a two-year-old. Unfortunately, my doctor said “no more trialing until we get this under control.” My symptoms started to come under control and I felt pretty good, so we started to compete in rally, ready to take on the newly introduced Master classes.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
At the K-W trials in May, Ace finished his RMX and his RCH (the first to be awarded in Canada). Our competition year ended on October 14, where Ace earned his RGCH. This was the most memorable moment in 2018. Being the #1 Rally Dog, at such a young age, made for a memorable year!
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Make sure that you have a good heeling dog. The handler must know how to recognize and perform all the rally stations, and the dog needs to be taught how to perform each station. Go out and have fun with your dog, no matter what placement your team gets.


 

#2 – RGCh. Xhulu De Lescaut RMX3, CDX, RAE2


2TRD_001-edited.jpgCall name: ‘Xhulu’
Belgian Shepherd (Groenendael)
Owner/Handler: Sylvie Ferland

How did you first become involved in rally trials?
I had my first rally experience with the CARO association in the late ’90s. I like the interaction that this discipline allows me to have with my dogs. It’s a nice option until we are ready for obedience. When the Canadian Kennel Club offered the rally, I got involved.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
First, know the rules and signs. Practise courses so you are comfortable and can clearly communicate commands to your dog before you enter a trial.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
Fortunately, I did not have any major difficulty in my rally training with Xhulu.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
The new rally titles offered our team new challenges. First, we had to adjust to the more stringent scoring and new exercises introduced for the Master class. Earning the new titles (RM, RMX, RCH) during the year was memorable; however, earning the Rally Grand Champion title was the highlight. All of these accomplishments helped make us #2, which is also memorable.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Find a club or obedience school that offers rally classes. These classes will help you understand the exercises and practise courses. It will also give you the opportunity to share with other enthusiasts, whose goal is to have fun trialing with their companion.


 

#3 – RGCh. & MOTCh. Tersha’s Viva Las Vegas RMX2, CGN, RAE


3TRD_001-1.jpgCall name: ‘Vegas’
German Shepherd
Breeder/Owner/Handler: Sharon Smith
 
How did you first become involved in rally trials?
I felt that if this was something I was going to be judging and teaching, I should compete in it as well.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
The rally ring is a great opportunity to practise your dog’s precision. You can talk to them and ensure that their sits are straight, they watch when their heeling, etc. I focus on that more than how fast I can get through the course.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
Don’t remember any.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
When Vegas got her Rally Grand Champion title at the Cavalier trials in December. It was also the weekend that she retired from an amazing obedience and rally career – one that I will miss very much.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
As always – start with the basics and build on it.


 

#4 – RGCh., MOTCh. & GMH Zaniri’s Custom Coupe RMX3, RAE3, TD, WCX, DDX


4TRD_002.jpgCall name: ‘Chevy’
Golden Retriever
Owners: Lori Little & Kathryn Poirier
Handler: Kathryn Poirier
 
How did you first become involved in rally trials?
A friend talked me into trying rally. I had never done rally with any of my previous Goldens, but Chevy likes to stay busy. Needless to say, after our first few trials we were hooked.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
I would tell people to have fun. Rally is about the relationship with your dog and how you communicate as a team. The more the two of you enjoy it, the more successful you will be.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
Chevy is an enthusiastic competitor and is very willing to please so we were lucky enough to have no major problems. We had a few hiccups along the way, mostly handler errors and Chevy’s exuberance. He did not like to back up or do a moving sit. Breaking an exercise into much smaller parts and lots of repetition can solve any issue.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Finishing our Rally Grand Champion title – the first in Canada – was the highlight of our year. That was the goal for 2018. I was not sure that we would be competing in 2019 due to Chev’s age, so it was pretty thrilling to achieve that milestone.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
The fact that Chevy had wonderful heeling skills and was very focused on me before we ever started rally made all the difference. I would encourage new competitors to make sure that their dogs are well schooled and proofed in basic obedience. 


 

#5 – Engeroff Feebie Scully CGN, CD, RAE3


5TRD_002.jpgCall name: ‘Scully’
German Shepherd
Owner/Handler: Erika MacVicar
 
How did you first become involved in rally trials?
I was introduced to rally in a free drop-in class run by an avid rally and obedience competitor. My introduction to competition was a shock. Her first time in the rally ring, Scully acted like a dog that I’d never met before… that didn’t like me at all! 
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
I try to train with enthusiasm so that Scully enjoys working with me. 
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
After a devastating setback in another dog sport, I used rally training to distract and encourage me, and to increase the bond with my dog. It became a form of therapy. In the process, we received some great coaching, met new teams to train with, and began competing frequently.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Every time I come out of the ring, I feel like I’ve had an out-of-body experience. I’m not quire sure what just happened. Sadly the gaffs are often imprinted more firmly than any small victories. Recently, as we left the ring, a far more polished fellow competitor offered me encouragement and a brilliant and timely suggestion.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Scully is my first competition dog, so I’m hesitant to advise anyone. I’ve benefitted enormously from a supportive dog-training community (it takes a village!). For us, persistence has paid off.


 

#6 – Romeo RM, CD, RAE2


6TRD_002.jpgCall name: ‘Romeo’
Australian Cattle Dog
Owner/Handler: Dena Denali

How did you first become involved in rally trials?
Romeo was mistreated by a backyard breeder and had many behavioural issues. As a result, I had him in back-to-back classes from 12 weeks to 3½ years of age. When my CKC-registered ACD arrived, she went to shows and I entered Romeo in his first rally trial.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
To reduce monotony and keep him entertained, we practise a couple of tricks each week. The five to 10 minutes we spend each day keeps both of us engaged.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
Every trial we entered produced a qualifying run, until we hit the Master class. Romeo is not an obedience dog. He thrives on my praise and us having fun, which conflicts with the Master-level judging. With a great deal of frustration, we had to retrain much of what we know to succeed at this level.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Winning the RAE High Aggregate at the 2018 AKC Summer Classic was an amazing turning point. We had a five-week break in training and competition, which positively impacted Romeo’s attention in the ring.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
My first advice to rookies is put nerves aside and have fun. Secondly, nothing trains you better than to compete! No training exercise can duplicate the environment or stress of being at a trial. Some days you donate, some days you win, but every day you will learn something.


 

#7 – GCh. Risingstar’s Take Two CGN, CD, RAE


7TRD_002.jpgCall name: ‘Quantum’
Australian Shepherd
Owner/Handler: Kaitlin Fraser

How did you first become involved in rally trials?
It seemed like a natural step when rally was introduced. I enjoyed it more than obedience, so it became my favourite venue.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
To have fun. No matter how bad a run may be, when people tell me how happy my dogs look working with me, it no longer matters. I’m there to enjoy time with them, pass or fail. Fails are training opportunities.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
I had a huge setback eight years ago. I suffered terribly from post partum depression and felt like the world was closing in. I actually wasn’t sure I’d ever trial again, but remembering the joy training brought to me was a huge step in getting better. ‘Malo,’ my heart dog, definitely played a major part in my healing. Now my daughter is training her very own dog, too!
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Quantum is always trying to charm all the ladies, especially Janis’s Belgian. He was sure that they needed to be BFFs. He talked up a storm to her. She was going to be his princess bride… even if she was spayed and the wrong breed.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Don’t give up. Your most valuable tool is an excellent coach. Trials are hard work, so find good people to help make your journey extra special.


 

#8 – Ch. Terrawyn’s Rant N Roar CGN, RM, CDX, RAE2


8TRD_002.JPGCall name: ‘Roary’
Miniature Schnauzer
Breeder/Owner/Handler: Shirley Sarvas

How did you first become involved in rally trials?
My wonderful partner and I have been doing a lot of obedience. In 2017, she started getting bored with obedience, so I thought I’d give rally a try. She did great that year, and this year has been incredible! She really loves rally. It’s less pressure and the variation in courses keeps her interested. I really enjoy the friendship of all the competitors.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
Keep it fun. Lots of treats and rewards.
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
I have a saying with my dog, “If there’s an error in the obedience ring, it’s her fault; if there’s a problem in the rally ring, it’s my fault.” I do a lot of work practising the signs.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
We earned two High Aggregate awards and our Rally Master title. We are both very competitive, so I think we make a good team.
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
I think it’s really important to get your basics in obedience before you start working in rally. Develop a good partnership with your dog and then make every practise fun.
 

 

#9 – Ch. Naku’s Major Dutch Shaefer CGN, CD, RAE2 


9TRD_001.jpegCall name: ‘Arnold’
Eurasier
Owner/Handler: Marissa Armstrong
 
How did you first become involved in rally trials?
We had been training in obedience, and while we were preparing to compete in Open, I decided to give rally a shot. After our first trial, needless to say, we were hooked!
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
What I love most about rally is how engaged you can be with your dog, even during a trial. I always make sure we are having fun.
 

Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
Since my dog is a Spitz breed, he has his own ideas about things and doesn’t love repetition, which can be tough when trying to drill a specific exercise. If we practised one too much, he wouldn’t want to do it at all. To work with his learning style, I had to come up with new and more exciting ways to teach things.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Most memorable was definitely at one of our summer weekends, where we also showed in conformation. We came out of the rally ring with two High in Class finishes and went on to a Group 4th at the show. I am very proud of Arnold’s versatility!
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
Download or print the list of signs from the rulebook and read them carefully so you understand what each sign is asking. Also work on training a solid heel before trying to learn the exercises, since much of rally is based on great heelwork.


 

#10 – Ch. Moonshadows Cammi RM, CD, RAE


10TRD_001.jpgCall name: ‘Cammi’
Manchester Terrier
Owner/Handler:
Jodi Parkinson

How did you first become involved in rally trials?
A friend suggested Companion Dog Training for obedience classes. I took Cammi to a couple of sessions and we got hooked on training. As we progressed we tried a rally class and I found something she really loved.
 
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for the rally ring?
When training for any dog sport it’s most important to HAVE FUN. If you are not enjoying yourselves, you need to re-evaluate. 
 
Have you ever had a major setback or misstep, and if so, how did you work through it?
Cammi is a very anxious girl and struggles with personal space issues, so it’s been a challenge to get a consistent performance in different rings with different judges. She has come a long way in the last few years.
 
What was your most memorable moment in 2018?
Hands down, the trial where I NQ’d myself by missing the second jump in an Excellent course. I walked the course three times and walked AROUND the jump every time, wondering why it seemed so awkward and then ran the course the same way. It wasn’t my only mistake. Cammi worked perfectly; I just couldn’t seem to get it together. We laughed A LOT that day!!
 
If you were to give advice to someone new to the sport, what have you found to be the most important place to start?
I see so many ‘newbies’ come to trials who have never even run a course in practice. Find a place where you can practice and train the signs, but also work on courses. It’s so important to be able to put them together in sequence and feel confident doing it. 



 

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