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2022 Top Obedience Dogs

Full Results PDF

Obedience trials were designed to test the dog’s suitability as a good companion. Basic tests include heeling (on and off lead), Sit, Stand, Stay and coming when called. At more advanced levels, dogs are asked to jump, retrieve, respond to signals, and identify and retrieve articles carrying their handler’s scent.
Behind every great dog is a great handler. 2022 marks the fifth year that Rose Apollonio has been part of Canada’s #1 Obedience Dog duo. This year Rose’s dog Blitz, an amazingly intelligent and devoted Golden Retriever, took top spot.
We caught up with all the Top 10 Obedience Dog teams of 2022 to learn more about these incredible dogs and their unforgettable year.

#1 – GMOTCH Tanbark's Cutting Edge RN

Call Name: Blitz
Golden Retriever
Owner: Rose Apollonio
Handler: Rose Apollonio
Breeder: Yvonne M. Pieffer
Date of Birth: September 17, 2016
Place of Birth: Wisconsin, USA

Rose Apollonio: Competing in 2022 during Covid came with many extra challenges. This is my 5th time as the #1 Obedience Team in Canada, and the thrill of this finish is very special. It represents a year filled with hard work, much travel, many ups and downs, and the relationship of trust and understanding that has developed between myself and Blitz.
Blitz is my second Golden Retriever from Tanbark. He has a very outgoing personality, loves to work, play, and do anything that involves being with me. He’s a great companion and I am lucky to have him.

I would also like to congratulate all the other Top 10 Teams on their 2022 placements and achievements.

#2 – GMOTCH CH Topiary Last Spike

Call Name: Spike 
Miniature Poodle
Owner: Lee Kozicki
Handler: Lee Kozicki
Breeder: Peggy Clarke
Date of Birth: December 14, 2014
Place of Birth: Alberta, Canada

Lee Kozicki: I am so pleased to end up number two Obedience dog, considering all my health issues this year, Spike gave it his all even when I didn’t. With ten perfect scores and the highest average in the top 50 we had lots to celebrate. This is the fourth year Spike has been in the top ten and he keeps getting better each year. Icing on the cake was a special weekend when he took High in Trial with a 200 score and his son went Best in Show.
Spike came to me at just over 2 years old, after becoming a Champion, as a loaner to play with and train. It became obvious that he fit right in and should stay. Thank you to his breeder Peggy Clarke at Topiary poodles for giving me this amazing little dog. In under four years of limited trials Spike went from Novice to GMOTCH. They say a trainer is only as good as her partner and this crazy, vocal, force to be reckoned with became my fifth GMOTCH Poodle. As a teacher of competition Obedience, I feel very fortunate to have worked with some amazing dogs. It is a journey I will always remember and be thankful for.

#3 – MOTCH Spirit's Dazzle Me Beckham

Call Name: Beckham 
Golden Retriever 
Owner: Karen Dowell
Handler: Karen Dowell
Breeder: Laurie Weaver
Date of Birth: December 10, 2014
Place of Birth: Washington, USA
Karen Dowell: I have never worked with an animal with so much drive, athletic ability, and desire to please as Beckham has demonstrated. He is my partner. I want to thank his breeder, Laurie Weaver, for giving me the opportunity to live with and love Beckham.

#4 – MOTCH Tashora Sings To My Heart WC RE JH CGN 

Call Name: Lyric
Golden Retriever
Owners: Carol Beaulieu & Louise J. Battley
Handler: Carol Beaulieu
Breeders: Carol Beaulieu & Louise J. Battley
Date of Birth: August 17, 2016
Place of Birth: British Columbia, Canada
Carol Beaulieu: Lyric is the first dog that I have titled past a Utility degree, and I am still in disbelief that we made it so far last year. I have been very fortunate to benefit from Keltie Lang’s expert instruction. Lyric showed early promise achieving a 199.5 in Novice at the Golden National just four months after I finished chemotherapy. We would not have been ready except for JoAnne Heinze, who trained her for me when I was too sick. JoAnne and Becket had been in the top 3 three years in a row. Both Becket and Lyric were co-bred by the talented Louise Battley of Tashora.

We did not set out to compete at this level, but when I discovered we were moving up the standings, the competitive bug kicked in! Lyric and I traveled almost 3000 kilometers to attend trials this year including to Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, the Kootenays in BC and Calgary, Alberta. We were lucky to have dog friends like Christine and Cynthia to stay with, which increased the fun and decreased the cost. We had amazing road friends like Leah, Rob and Nadine that made trips into memorable holidays. My husband, Pat, brought Lyric’s mom, Chilly (CH OTCH RCH Tashora Dare to be Cool WC CGN) out of retirement to compete in Rally, which added to the fun.

Everywhere we travelled, we experienced support and kindness. I am especially appreciative of the many top Obedience competitors in BC and Alberta who graciously answered my questions. Even though I have been involved with Obedience for decades, I had never experienced the challenges that occur when working on Doubles, passing Open and Utility in the same trial! I am also very grateful for all the volunteers who show up so we can have Obedience trials.

#5 – CH GMOTCH Tierney's Bet'n I'm The One RE CA CGN

Call Name: Leto
Owners: Gwen Haynes & Shannon O’Briant
Handler: Gwen Haynes
Breeder: Gwen Haynes
Date of Birth: February 17, 2016
Place of Birth: Alberta, Canada

Gwen Haynes: We are again honoured to be in the top 10 All Breed for Obedience this year. Leto did not trial in Obedience as much in 2022 as we decided to take a well-deserved break coming off a great 2021. We had a fun summer enjoying swimming, hiking and being a dog. We did some road trips to the United States for some Obedience trials where Leto earned his CD and CDX in 6 tries and even tried our hand at UD. We shall hit the US again to try and finish off his UD this year. Leto continues to be that amazing Obedience dog and I could not be any prouder of him if I tried. He is exceptional and we shall see what this year brings for us in other performance venues as well as obedience. 
I am currently training my next up and coming Obedience dog. I can only hope she will be as successful as Leto in that arena. Such huge paws to fill but we will give it a go. Congratulations to all the Top 10 dogs in Obedience for 2022 and kudos to the number 1 dog for 2022. Well done! I wish everyone out there competing, no matter the sport, all the success and remember to keep having fun no matter what you are doing with your dog.  It’s not always about the Q’s.

 #6 – MOTCH RCH Gorsebrook Solaia Zen Mindfull RMX VB ETD SH WCX

Call Name: Phoebe 
Labrador Retriever 
Owner: Louise Falconer
Handler: Louise Falconer
Breeders: Leslie Grant & Sharon Harris
Date of Birth: January 31, 2018
Place of Birth: Ontario, Canada

Louise Falconer: Thank you to the CKC for acknowledging our success in Obedience in 2022.
2022 was a memorable year, with the lifting of Covid restrictions and the subsequent reappearance of local trials. The time was right for previous goals to be dusted off and re-evaluated, and a plan to achieve them emerged. 
Blessed with a Labrador that loves to work, a skilled and enthusiastic coaching team, input from experienced training friends and the vast array of online training courses, webinars, and workshops - we were ready! 
The best feeling ever was the joy of pursuing those goals. My journey with Phoebe over the weeks and months deepened our understanding, strengthened the bond between us, and challenged us to come up with solutions to the problems we faced. It was an incredible ride, never to be forgotten!
Also, not to be forgotten is the thanks I owe to so many people who helped me out - I cannot name you all, but you know who you are. My sincerest gratitude for all your encouragement, support, and for believing team Phoebe could do it. Thank you.

(Photo credit: Lynda Graveline)

#7 – MOTCH Zaniri Say No More CGN WCX SH

Call Name: Morley
Golden Retriever
Owner: Mary Shillabeer
Handler: Mary Shillabeer
Breeders: Mary Shillabeer, Joanne Kinney & Laureen Kinney
Date of Birth: June 22, 2017
Place of Birth: British Columbia, Canada

Mary Shillabeer: Morley is my third generation MOTCH, and my second breeder/owner/handler MOTCH. She followed her grandmother Keener and mother Oli but was much quicker to the title! In November 2021, we finished her CDX title, and I moved her up to Utility. The next trials were in March; she finished her UD. Then we started double entering and working on her MOTCH. Morley went from CDX to MOTCH…in four trial weekends! I was SO proud of her. She LOVES obedience and she is naturally precise. My nickname for her in the ring is “Sparky”, because she is so joyful.

Morley was bred to be my next field dog…but she had other plans. She is a stellar upland hunting dog, but hunt tests were not her “thing”. She earned two Master Hunter legs, but I decided to focus on what she enjoyed most, Obedience.

When I retired to Vancouver Island, from Calgary, I was fortunate to hook up with Maria Soto, who became a great training partner, coach, and close friend. We challenge each other and cheer each other on. Without Maria, I would not have achieved what we have in Obedience.

What makes this Top 10 placement so special, is that we have been dealing with a significant health issue this year, limiting traveling to trials. We had many baubles and NQ’s because Morley wasn’t feeling well, and yet still finished 7th in the country. That is a testament to her talent and her love for Obedience. Thank you to Joanne and Laureen Kinney of Zaniri Golden Retrievers, for allowing me to co-breed with you. And thank you, “Sparky”, for being such a joy to go into the ring with!

 #8 – MOTCH Taygold's Denali MH WCX

Call Name: Denali
Golden Retriever
Owners: Anne & Jeff Bendig
Handler: Anne Bendig
Breeders: Anne & Jeff Bendig
Date of Birth: April 2, 2013
Place of Birth: Ontario, Canada

Anne Bendig: We have been breeding Golden Retrievers for 40 plus years striving to produce Goldens with excellent temperament, soundness and breed structure who are able to work in numerous activities including Obedience, Field and Agility. Many of our dogs have been successful in these areas with several of them placing in the top ten Obedience dogs in Canada over the years. In 2014 the #1 and #2 top Obedience dogs were Taygold Goldens owned by Ellie Beals and Dave Skinner.

It was not until 2013 when I retired that I had time to work one of our dogs in both Obedience and Field at the higher levels of competition. After obtaining Denali’s CD and CDX with several high in trials, she earned her utility title in 2 weekends. She also earned her Junior, Senior Hunter titles, first Master pass, and WCX by 2018 and completed her Master Hunter title in 2019. It was due to my incredible mentor Susan Roberts who enabled me to obtain these field titles with Denali who was my first dog that I trained in hunt tests.

After the 2-year Covid hiatus, in 2022 Denali now at nine years of age, completed her OTCHX and MOTCH in 2 weekends passing 8/8 and 6/8 classes in Open HB and Utility B. We only competed 3 more weekends in 2022 passing 7/8 classes each weekend in Open and Utility as well as winning 3 high in trials in 1 weekend. Competing in just 5 weekends in 2022 resulted in Denali being #8 top Obedience dog! She is my steady Eddie, loving to work in both Obedience and Field. She is an amazing hunting dog, tackling live geese running away and proudly retrieving them.

Many thanks to my Obedience coaches Ellie Beals and Dave Skinner for their never-ending advice and support.

#9 – RCH OTCH Belcourt Hero's Journey RMX

Call Name: Jiggs
Miniature Poodle
Owner: Jean Fisher
Handler: Jean Fisher
Breeders: Lesley Millar & Murray Eason
Date of Birth: September 19, 2018
Place of Birth: Alberta, Canada
Jean Fisher: I am honoured to be recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club as the owner and handler of one of the top dogs in Canada in Obedience. I have been so pleased training my Miniature Poodle who was bred by Lesley Millar and Murray Eason from Alberta.

Jiggs is my first Poodle, and I was so thrilled when I found out that Murray had a boy for me. Murray is such a great and careful breeder who is devoted to his breeding as well as his pups. It was a very exciting year for Jiggs and me as we got out to a lot of trials this year and met a lot of great people and dog teams along the way. Jiggs earned 7 titles this year all in Obedience and Rally. My intention is to encourage other people to get involved in the sport which has given me much personal satisfaction. I love getting out at the shows, meeting other people and their dogs, making a lot of great friendships along the way and cannot wait for this coming year to see what it holds.

My goal this year is to concentrate on the Rally sport. I plan on fostering the many friendships I have made and looking forward to making new friends along the way. This has been the most exciting year in my dog training years, attributing some of my success to my previous Obedience dogs which were Chinese Cresteds. I learned so much by training and showing them and learning from my mistakes. My long-time friend and trainer Del Lunn never gave up on me over the years, sharing his knowledge and training experience and helping me along the way, with his wife Bev at this side always glad to repeat things to me that I know I missed or forgot.

Thanks to everyone that Jiggs and I have met that have lent their support to us along the way. We are looking forward to 2023!

#10 – MOTCH Amaley's Perfect Kodiak Bruin RI AGXJS JTS NPS AGIS

Call Name: Motley
Shetland Sheepdog
Owner: Nichole Donnelly
Handler: Nichole Donnelly
Breeder: Claudia Proctor
Date of Birth: June 24, 2015
Place of Birth: Cartier, Manitoba

Nichole Donnelly: Who would have thought that seven tiny pounds of fluff would come into our lives and forever change it for the better!  Thanks to Claudia Proctor, Amaley’s Perfect Kodiak Bruin, better known as Motley, has done just that!

When my husband and I were talking about getting a puppy, one of my concerns was what to do with “it” when we were gone from home or simply too busy. Well, a friend of mine suggested that you take “it” with you! Motley is always by our side; whether it is to the barn, in the tractor or on the road!

Since Motley was our first dog, we were so excited to get started with some form of training. We entered Rally, Obedience and Agility classes.

After realizing this was lots of travelling, we chose Obedience to focus on. This journey has allowed us to meet some of the most inspiring people who have become our mentors and most importantly fantastic friends.  Big shout out to Gary and Shelley Overs, Jasmine Deblois, and Karen Graham Banman. They have helped us mold this amazing little Sheltie into a top ribbon collector!

As in every sport, there are always ups, downs and humbling moments and we have had our share. However; a few lessons we have learned from Motley is to not sweat the small stuff, simply live in the moment, and always be happy!

Everyone who owns a dog can attest to the fact that they feel they have the number one dog in the world. That statement holds true to Jeff and me, as we absolutely know in our hearts, that we own one of the best!

“Love is a four-legged word.”


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