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2021 Top Rally Dogs

Full Results PDF

 
Fast and energetic, Rally is a sport that demonstrates the competency of both handler and dog in performing basic obedience exercises without requiring exact precision for success. It’s tons of fun and watching a CKC rally event will make you truly understand the true meaning of the word teamwork.
Stevie, a Conformation Champion Old English Sheepdog is 2021’s Top Rally Dog in Canada. Her owner and handler Katherine Ball got into Rally when she couldn’t find a formal Obedience class to continue on her training. The sport has served them very well and they love the opportunity that Rally gives them to work together as a team.

We had a chat with each of the Top Rally Dog teams who share their challenges and sweet memories of another exceptional year. Here are their interviews.
 

#1 – RCh. Ch. Tumbleweed's Valubal Landslide RMX3 RAE3 ATD PCD


Call Name: Stevie 
Old English Sheepdog
Breeders:  Catherine & Uwe Schellenberg 
Owners: Katherine Ball & Valerie J Bandas
Handler: Katherine Ball
Favourite Treat:  Raw vegetables
Favourite Toy:   Plush monkey
Best Friend:  Her travelling companion Marshall
 
Interview with Katherine Ball
 
How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? Rally is a form of obedience where the dog and handler show their skills as they navigate a course of 10-20 exercises and are judged on the precision with speed determining the outcome of any ties. There is a large selection of possible exercises that can be required in any order, so teamwork and strategy are keys to success. 

How did you get involved in Rally? I began attending Rally classes at the Regina Kennel and Obedience Club at a time when I was unable to find formal obedience classes to continue training. I discovered how enjoyable Rally can be, and soon started attending trials.

How did Stevie come into your life? Stevie came to stay with me for a brief period in 2018. I did a little bit of training with her during that time and discovered that she was keen to work. We entered a local Rally trial for fun after a short period of training and she finished her novice title in three runs. Val Bandas, her sole owner at the time, gifted me with part ownership the following Christmas.

When did cue/command training begin with Stevie? Stevie started learning very early, competing very successfully in Conformation as a puppy, and learning a few silly tricks here and there before moving into rally training in 2018.

Was Stevie a star from the start? Yes! Stevie found early success first in Conformation, finishing her Championship in three weekends with two Best Puppy in Show awards. When she went on to Rally Obedience, she moved very quickly from training to earning titles. 

What drew you to the Old English Sheepdog? Old English Sheepdogs are joyful, intelligent companions, and it is easy to want to spend time with them.

What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? Travelling long distances to attend trials while staying safe in a pandemic, as well as maintaining flexibility with changing schedules as clubs responded to COVID were significant challenges.

What is your fondest memory of competing with Stevie in 2021? There were many great moments, but achieving our first perfect score in the master class and finishing Stevie’s RCh title at the Calgary Kennel and Obedience Club trials were certainly highlights in the ring. It was also a special year as our travelling companions, Val and Marshall (Stevie’s half-brother­ - GChEX Tumbleweed’s Valubal Gamechanger NS RI ATD), ended up having an outstanding year in the Conformation ring - putting Old English Sheepdogs in the top 10 of all breeds in both Conformation and Rally Obedience. I have many great memories from outside the ring, spending time with friends at trials when allowed and in their homes when they so kindly gave us places to stay when we travelled to events. 
 
What’s next for Stevie? Stevie will continue competing in Rally and will start spending more time practicing formal Obedience in 2022.
 

#2 – RCh. McD's Glad All Over RAE5 RMX3 TDCH SDO CGN PCD BH


Call Name: Clark
English Springer Spaniel
Owner/Handler: Mary Monteith
Breeders: Mary McDonald & Louisa Arendt
Handler: Mary Monteith                         

RCh. McD's Glad All Over RAE5 RMX3 TDCH SDO CGN PCD BH's owner was not available for an interview at the time of publication. 


(Photo credit: Peach Media)

 

#3 – RCh. Kibergo Royal Lad RMX RAE3 CDX 


Call Name: Kingsley
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Owner/Handler: Jennifer McLean
Breeder: Brigitte Falch
Favourite Treat: Anything edible
Favourite Toy: Hates Toys
Best Friend: All the ladies
 
How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? Rally is like a disciplined obstacle course for your dog. You will never have the same course twice and each sign flows from one to the next.

How did you get involved in Rally? I started in Rally to give my dog a break from competition Obedience. I wanted to make things more fun for him. I knew I could help more than in Obedience and I wanted to be able to give him more positive feedback while he was working.

How did Kingsley come into your life? I always wanted a Cavalier as my first ever Obedience dog Riley was part Cavalier, and he was a total love. A colleague and friend of mine knew of a breeder who had the perfect little pup looking for a working home. He was a strong male and needed to work!

When did cue/command training begin with Kingsley? Was Kingsley a star from the start? Training with Kingsley began right away at 12 weeks. He was a difficult little pup, as I really needed to get into this head and find out what motivated him. He was incredibly serious and that was hard for me at first. Over time, our relationship blossomed. We found our groove and became a perfect team.
I am proud to say that Kingsley just loves it now. He loves to be the centre of attention and give me everything he has in the ring. He is truly a once-in-a-lifetime dog.

What drew you to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? They are beautiful, brains and full of love.

What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? Definitely competing during Covid time. Wearing a mask and learning a new way of communicating with my dog. It wasn’t easy.

What is your fondest memory of competing with (dog’s name) in 2021? Definitely getting his GRCH title. It was a huge accomplishment and I am beyond proud. It was a very emotional weekend, and I will never forget it.

What’s next for Kingsley? A Utility Title! 
 
 
(Photo credit: Ally Pintucci)
 

#4 – RCh. NMH GMH Talin Zaniri Frz'n Concentrate RMX CD WCX


Call name: Juice
Golden Retriever
Breeders: Joanne & Laureen Kinney 
Owners: Joanne Kinney & Linda Wiacek
Handler: Kathryn Poirier
Favourite treat: She loves them all
Favourite toy: Anything she can retrieve
Best friend: Dog - Rev. Person - anyone who will pet her.

Interview with Kathryn Poirier
  
How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? It's a type of Obedience that relies on great communication between you and your dog.

How did you get involved in Rally? I started Rally with my previous dog on the advice of a friend.  He was amazing and made it easy for me to love the sport.
 
How did Juice come into your life? Juice spent the first 9 years of her life competing in Field Trials and Hunt Tests with a little Obedience in there as well.  I am her retirement home, but she is still very active and likes to keep busy so Rally was a good fit.  
 
When did cue/command training begin with Juice? Was Juice a star from the start? Juice started serious Rally training when I first got her at age 9.  She is very intelligent and picks up commands and cues very easily.  She has a mind of her own, however, so we have had to work very hard to get her to let me call the shots in the ring.  
What drew you to the Golden Retriever? I love the looks and temperament of the Golden Retriever.  

What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? Covid, and waiting for the trials to resume was our biggest challenge.  Juice is now 11 1/2 years old and although she seems to be handling her age very well, time is not on our side.  
 
What is your fondest memory of competing with Juice in 2021? I was extremely happy that Juice was able to get her RCH.  I had my doubts that we would get that far, but she is constantly surprising me.
 
What’s next for Juice? We are currently working on our RGCH.  She has really stepped up to the challenge and our teamwork improves every time we step into the ring. 
 

#5 – GCH Rush's Q Up The Band RM RAE2 CDX WC


Call Name: Maestro
Flat-coated Retriever
Breeders: Linda Brox & Katya Dulvalko
Owners: Annie Prange & Linda Brox
Handler: Annie Prange
Favourite Treat: Cheese, please!
Favourite Toy: Bumpers
Best Friend: Trix – his half-sister
 
Interview with Annie Prange
  
How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? It’s like going on a fun walk where you perform a variety of actions on a predetermined course. Plus, Rally is a great way to build teamwork and relationship with your dog.
 
How did you get involved in Rally? In 2015 I planned to go to my very first FCRSA (Flat-coated Retriever Society of America) National Speciality in St. Louis. We were ready for Conformation and Novice Obedience and I thought we should give Novice Rally a try too. We did a crash course and ended up taking 2nd place in Novice A with a class of 13 dogs.
 
How did Maestro come into your life? I started doing my research on the Flat-coated Retriever breed and knew this was the right fit for me. Next, I reached out to Linda Brox the breeder closest to me. We interviewed each other and it just felt right, so I went on the Rush Retrievers permanent registered waiting list right away. About a year later I brought Maestro home.
 
When did cue/command training begin with Maestro? Was Maestro a star from the start? His first puppy Obedience class started when he was 10 weeks old. We’ve continued with all kinds of training ever since. Yes, Maestro was a star however his handler (me) had a lot to learn. He is the first dog I ever put a title on.
 
What drew you to the Flat-coated Retriever? By chance, I went to watch my first Obedience trial in 1998 and at the same time, the Canadian National Flat-coated Retriever Specialty was at the same location. I saw all these beautiful Retrievers with wagging tails and knew this would be my next breed. 14 years later Maestro was born and the rest is history!
 
What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? Covid and the reduced number of trials in Ontario earlier in the year.
 
What is your fondest memory of competing with Maestro in 2021? Every time we had the chance to cross the start line together. And the weekend we earned his Rally Master title the Photographer stated that he had the most rosettes he had ever seen!
 
What’s next for Maestro? Maestro is looking forward to warmer weather, swimming in the lake and fetching bumpers. Maybe some Scent Detection as well.
 

#6 – Manitou Radiant Featherz RAE RM CDI SH CGN SDIN WCX


Call Name: Aoife
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Breeders: Cindy Lindemer & Roger Wirkkunen
Owners: Shelly Campbell & Mark Antonini
Handler: Shelly Campbell
Favourite Treat: All treats are worthy!
Favourite Toy: Not much of a toy girl, but bumpers with people are the best
Best Friend: Shelly and Mark (all canine family and friends are equal)

Interview with Shelly Campbell
 
How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? A sequenced heeling game that consists of various components of Obedience packed into a fun format for you and your dog.

How did you get involved in Rally? A friend asked to take our OTCh Toller, Rogan, into the Rally ring with her. She was his Conformation handler and they loved working together. We met up at some trials and she put an RN and RA on him.  I took over handling and continued on to achieve his RAE title and continued with our other tollers. Once the CKC Master level was created, I put a lot more focus into Rally training.
 
How did Aoife come into your life? We have owned and worked our Tollers since 2003, attending specialties and meeting many breeders. We were interested in a new Toller puppy to share time with and put a wish list out on a Toller Facebook page to see what breedings were being planned. Had a few offers and found a couple of upcoming breedings that caught our interest and chose the litter we thought was the best fit.  

When did cue/command training begin with Aoife? Was Aoife a star from the start? Cue/Command Training likely started on our journey home after picking Aoife up. I remember fun recalls on the hotel room floor, and I am sure some cue words were thrown in with name recognition. Also, treats on our first airing/walks. Aoife caught on very quickly to everything and she is extremely easy to read, which makes it easier for the trainer! So, yes - Aoife was a star from the start!

What drew you to the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever? Back in 2002, we were looking for a breed that would love to share cabin/lake life with us and brought home a CKC Breed book from the library. We read about many breeds to find the best fit. Loved the picture of the Tollers that was in the book, but it was a few days before we actually read about them and realized they would fit into our lifestyle.

What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? Covid and cancellation of trials. We had set a few goals we hoped to obtain, RM and then RAE, but had cancellations along the way. We squeaked in enough trials to get our ten double Qs! I discovered that Aoife prefers Retriever Events to outdoor Rally Events on hot summer days, so we will be aware of that information making decisions in the future.   

What is your fondest memory of competing with Aoife in 2021? Best Rally memory was in March, trialling for her Excellent Title and knowing her foundation work had excelled and come together faster than I expected. Aoife finished RE in three trials and we used 'day of' to run our first triple class entry. Aoife won High-Combined Double and High-Combined Triple and also High Scoring Club Member. Other highlighted 2021 memories - Aoife won a HIT in her first Novice Obedience Entry and received her Senior Hunt Title in the summer.  

What’s next for Aoife? Aoife is young, just turned three years old, so we have a lot of time for new achievements. We will have more opportunities in 2022 to finish Aoife's Conformation Championship and will continue entering a few Rally Trials towards RMX and RCh, fieldwork towards a Master Hunt and a bit of Obedience. We have no goals to achieve this year, so we will enjoy our training and see what opportunities come our way. Mark & I are looking forward to an Aoife puppy in the future. She is an absolute joy to work and live with.
 

#7 – GCh. Cardross M'lady Pure N Sweet RM AGXS AGIJS HT


Call Name: Gwen
Smooth Collie
Breeders: Beth Rutherford, Line Robichaud & Mara Flood
Owners: Katherine Dunn & Beth Rutherford
Handler: Katherine Dunn
Favourite Treat: She likes food!
Favourite Toy: Milker tugs
Best Friend: She is a people dog, she loves her family

Interview with Katherine Dunn

How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? I really love Rally, it is a mix of heeling and tricks. Rally involves several signs at a varying difficulty that you need to learn how to perform with your dog, some are quite simple like sitting in heel position, some are more challenging like you and your dog both circling right side by side together. A Rally course is then just a series of these signs and you heel from sign to sign, completing each sign when you reach it. My dogs all really love it.

How did you get involved in Rally? I got involved in Rally with my first Smooth Collie, Shadow, looking for things to do with him. With Gwen, I started the foundations of Rally early, as she really loves to work and do things with me. I also found that Rally is a great foundation for many other things as it teaches focus and attention in a fun way.

How did Gwen come into your life? I wanted to do more dog sports and was looking for a dog that was up to the challenge and Gwen has been she loves it all, we have done Conformation, Rally, Herding, and Scent work, although Agility is her favourite.

When did cue/command training begin with Gwen? Was Gwen a star from the start? Training with Gwen started right from the day we got her, of course, it didn’t look like formal training at the beginning but more like fun and games which makes it all the more fun for you and them. Gwen was a rock star right from the start, she learned things very quickly, was always engaged, which really is one of the most important things, and was and still is always ready to give her all.

What drew you to the Smooth Collie? It’s my husband’s fault! He saw a Smooth Collie and fell in love, we did some research on the breed and we were fortunate to have a great Smooth Collie breeder, Beth Rutherford, right here in the Maritimes. We now have four of them!

What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? We were quite fortunate here in the
Maritimes, as COVID was kept pretty well controlled, so we were able to have quite a few competitions in 2021. That said, spectators were not allowed, and so my husband and daughter who usually like to tag along to events were not allowed to come so I missed having them there with me. And of course, competing with masks was not fun, but we all learned.

What is your fondest memory of competing with Gwen in 2021? There was no one memory that I can think of, I truly do enjoy every time we go into the ring together as she is so much fun to work with and she has so much enthusiasm for just doing things with me.

What’s next for Gwen? I hope to finish Gwen’s Rally Championship and RMX in 2022 as she is super close. We are working on some Trick Dog titles, may try some CKC Scent Work, and we are going to do some Obedience. Gwen is ready for the Obedience ring I just have to make sure I am.
 

#8 – GCh. Hillside Hound of Baskervilles RM CGN TDGCh.


Call Name: Watson
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Owner/Handler: Kayla Werezak
Breeder: Krista MacPherson
Favourite Treat: Ice cream & puppuccino
Favourite Toy: Fire Hose
Best Friend: Benny the Standard Poodle

Interview with Kayla Werezak
  
How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? I would describe Rally as a fun Obedience obstacle course. Each sign you and your dog approach, there are instructions as to what commands you and/or your dog must do. The way the team executes those instructions are judged.
 
How did you get involved in Rally? I got into Rally to help teach me Obedience skills to move on to the Obedience ring one day. The Nanaimo Kennel Club got me started in Novice. Both Watson and I thoroughly enjoyed it so we continued to practice, waiting for trials to start (due to Covid) to make our Rally debut. The Rally community, from the judges to the competitors, were so helpful and welcoming, that I knew I wanted to continue. 
 
How did Watson come into your life? I had searched for a reputable Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeder for a while. Krista, from Hillside Kennels, was recommended to me by numerous individuals. We got in touch, I was on the list for a pup, and when Watson was ready to come home, I flew out to Calgary to pick him up. 
 
When did cue/command training begin with Watson? Was Watson a star from the start? I started training Watson right away. He flew through all the Trick Dog titles easily as a pup. I found that the tricks helped to teach him to focus and follow directions, which in my opinion really helped us with learning Rally. I definitely believe he was a star from the start; he is a sponge when it comes to learning new commands. He is one of a kind. 
 
What drew you to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier? I fell in love with a Stafford at my local shelter. I wasn’t able to adopt him at the time, but the size, temperament, and trainability were exactly what I was looking for in my next dog. I researched the breed, talked to a few breeders and owners…the rest is history. 

What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? The biggest challenge for me was remembering the signs and managing my anxiety. I’d often panic at the last minute, blanking on a sign in the walk-through. I never had to worry about Watson; if one of us was going to make a mistake, it was me. 

What is your fondest memory of competing with (dog’s name) in 2021? I think my favourite trial was the last one we were at, the Nanaimo Kennel Club. It was nice to trial in a familiar ring and my family was able to come. I decided to enter us in four trials each day since we are working on our Rally Champion title. I knew it was a lot to ask of him, typically 2 is his max. He was so exhausted after each day, but he really put his heart into it, leaving with 7 high in-class awards. 

What’s next for Watson? This year we will work towards finishing our rally champion title and preparing for the obedience ring. 

(Photo credit: Cathy French)
 

#9 – GChEx. Dushanbe's Dreamboat RAE5 RM NDD CD


Call Name: Crush
Samoyed
Owner/Breeder/Handler: Linda M Johnson
Favourite Treat: Steak or anything I am eating
Favourite Toy: Hedgehog stuffed toy
Best Friend: Linda
 
Interview with Linda M Johnson
 
 How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? It is a fun way to interact with your dog while earning titles. Praise and lots of enthusiasm are used in training and also encouraged when competing in trials.

How did you get involved in Rally? I was training in Obedience with the judge, Reta Boyd, so as soon as Rally was recognized by CKC she had all of us learning the Rally signs.

How did Crush come into your life? I bred his mother to an outstanding BISS and BIS stud dog and Crush was the pick of the litter right from birth. 

When did cue/command training begin with Crush? We started going to Conformation classes when he was four months old and progressed to rally classes a few months after that.                                                                                   
Was Crush a star from the start? Yes, he was! He excels at everything we try including the show ring, draft dog work, bikejoring as well as being my constant companion and best friend. 

What drew you to the Samoyed? The Samoyed's stunningly attractive silver tipped white coat, beautiful smile and head and sweet personality. I have had Samoyeds since 1968 and my head still snaps around when I glimpse one at a distance.

What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? The heat was our worst challenge and caused several NQ's last year.

What is your fondest memory of competing with Crush in 2021? When he jumped on the bench at the trial site like it was his personal throne to have pictures taken with all the rosettes he had earned that weekend and the new title rosette with the judge who gave him the last leg for his RAE5.

What’s next for Crush? After becoming the first Samoyed in Canadian history to earn his RAE2, RAE3, RAE4, RAE5 and Top Ten Rally Dog placement, we are going back to working towards his Rally Master Excellent title (he already has two legs) and his Rally Championship.
 

#10 – OTCh. Deep Hollows Emma RAE RM


Call Name: Gemma
German Shepherd Dog
Breeder: Brittany Poulin
Owners: Cory & Amanda Dauphinee
Handler: Cory Dauphinee
Favourite Treat: Bully Stick
Favourite Toy: Tug
Best Friend: Ursa
 
Interview with Cory Dauphinee
 
How would you describe Rally to someone who has never seen the sport before? I would describe Rally to someone as a fun sport that tests your bond and training as a team. You navigate through a course that has different stations and different exercises that you and your dog need to perform as a team. There are different levels of difficulties, and you must complete each level 3 times under 2 different judges to receive that level title, then you can move on to the next level. Each level gets harder and the number of stations increases as well.

How did you get involved in Rally? Through a friend. I had seen that he started Rally and was saying how much fun it was and how it got him out having fun with his dog. So, my wife and I decided to go watch him a couple of times. The first time I got in the ring I was hooked. Rally is so much fun and I never looked back.

How did Gemma come into your life? Gemma was looking for a new home at 1.5 years old due to being diagnosed with EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency). Our former German Shepherd had EPI, so we were familiar with it. She was shipped to us from Ontario and we started bonding and training right away.

When did cue/command training begin with Gemma? Was Gemma a star from the start? As soon as I got her at 1.5 years old. She has been a star since the day I met her.

What drew you to the German Shepherd Dog? I have grown up with German Shepherds and have always had a soft spot for them.

What was the biggest challenge of competing in Rally in 2021? Trials being postponed and cancelled due to Covid and kennel cough.

What is your fondest memory of competing with Gemma in 2021? Going for Gemma's RAE and finally receiving multiple perfect scores. We had come very close when working up to and receiving her RM title, but there was always something that cost us a point or two. That feeling of getting a perfect run not only once but several times was a very, very happy and proud moment for me.

What’s next for Gemma? Going for RMX and RACH titles.

(Photo credit: Taylor Warren)
 
 

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