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A Frequent Fly’R Earns Top Career Points in Rally and Obedience

Only one dog in Canadian Kennel Club history has placed in the Top 10, all breeds, in two events in the sameFly-R-Obedience.jpeg year. Golden Retriever GMOTCh. Clitheroe R Commander N Chief RAE40 (Fly’R) and Charlie MacMillan have earned this extraordinary achievement for six consecutive years – including earning the top spot in both disciplines in 2011.

Obedience and rally are the perfect complement, and Charlie is a firm believer in participating in both. Rally is fun and a great venue to reduce a dog’s stress and build confidence and teamwork. Their participation in rally was instrumental in rebuilding Fly’R’s confidence after an unfortunate incident with the Utility bar jump that had been incorrectly set too high at a fun match troubled Fly’R throughout his obedience career.

Fly’R was well-prepared for the CKC’s rollout of rally, having already been competing in the sport in the States for two years. As an instructor, Charlie primed a class of exhibitors to be ready for its debut and the race to start earning titles was on. Needless to say, Charlie and Fly’R have carved out many firsts, from the first RE, RAE… RAE40, and counting.

Fly-R-Rally.jpegTo avoid boredom and maintain peak performance, especially in an older dog, requires “a totally different way of training,” says Charlie. “We play, not train, to keep him mobile and agile.” To keep obedience interesting, the team would trial in the States where changing the order of the exercises for Open and Utility had already been implemented. “The best thing the CKC did was changing up the order!”

Fly’R is proof that age does not matter and there is no need to relegate your dog to life on the couch when it hits seven years of age. Charlie is often asked why he continues to trial him. The simple answer, “Because he loves it!” He also needs a job to do. “After a few weeks at home, he starts stealing papers off the desk, water bottles off the counter and anything that will start a chase. This continues until Joan shows him that the trial bags are packed, then he starts behaving like an obedience dog should.”

It takes a special team to maintain this level of excellence year in and year out. A critical member of the team is Charlie’s wife, Joan. She is responsible for organizing trial days, which is no small feat, especially on weekends where they can be scheduled to make 10 ring appearances in a single day!

Fly’R is now semi-retired and will occasionally accompany his son, as he starts his trialing journey. Fly’R will be an incredibly hard act to follow.


The CKC and Subaru Canada would like to acknowledge the dogs and owners who have accomplished Subaru Top-Dog rankings in more than one discipline. In 2015, there were 101 dogs representing all seven groups. For a complete list of the 2015 Multi-Discipline Subaru Top Dogs, click here.
For more information, please visit the Subaru Top Dogs page here.
For more information on Subaru Canada, Inc. visit, or @subaru_canada on twitter.
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