|Call Name: Mocha
Owner/Handler: Chantal Rioux
Breeder: Renate Newcomb
Favourite Treat: Homemade liver muffins
Favourite Toy: Ball
Best Friend: My friend Karen
Interview with Chantal Rioux
How did you get involved in competitive Obedience? When I got my first pet dog in 2001, I was referred to the Swansea Dog Obedience Club, who solicited my help to work at their annual Obedience trials. I was privileged to observe fantastic Teams and Club Members competing at the trials. I thought that is something I could try myself. I adopted my second Dog in 2003 and started taking formal Obedience classes, entering my first CKC Obedience trial in May 2006. It did not take long and I was hooked on Obedience. I train and trial in multiple disciplines but Obedience is still my favourite.
How did Mocha come into your life? I was looking for a Dog that would have the potential to go beyond where I was with my Schapendoes and Coton de Tulear. I had lots of challenges with them, therefore I opted for a different breed, the Miniature Poodle. I did a lot of research to find a breeder and the best potential puppy. I got the pick of the litter, based on my aspirations, goals and foundation. From the first day I met him, Mocha has always amazed me. We have already surpassed the goals I had set and we have raised the bar to a higher level of accomplishments. He is definitely very special to me because he has been a dream to train and it is a pleasure to be his partner in the ring.
What makes Miniature Poodles great dogs to compete in Obedience with? They are smart, very versatile, assertive, and eager to please.
Did Mocha show early potential to be an obedience star? Mocha is my Obedience star! At a young age, it was obvious that he had potential, he was a natural. As a puppy, he loved to chase leaves and carry them in the yard, always busy with a purpose. He continues to amaze me, he loves to work, has lots of stamina and is eager to please. I couldn’t ask for more, we enjoy doing things together, especially Obedience.
Does Mocha know any unusual commands or tricks? When Mocha was a few months old, my mother (who loves dogs but is not involved with dog training) taught him “where is it?” She held his favourite ball in her hands while looking for a hiding spot in the house. Then asked “where is it?” he would frantically start searching for it. She taught him scent without him realizing it. To this day, he still plays this game and loves to look for his hidden toys when I say “where is it?”
Do you have any superstitions or rituals before going into the ring? We do not have any rituals, less is better for Mocha, we connect and heel formally into the ring.
Did you face any challenges competing in 2021? Yes, for Mocha and me, it has been challenging to compete so frequently during the past year. We entered every trial possible to remain in the TOP 10 for the second year in a row and to accumulate MOTCH points. It is not easy for the dog to maintain sharpness and accuracy in execution, in all exercises all the time. At some point, one exercise or another would fall apart, and you need to fix it quickly before the next trial. This was the first time I experienced this. I’m so glad I worked through it, but it was very challenging.
What is next for Mocha? In 2022, we are working towards our MOTCH and AKC Utility title.