This year, the Canadian Kennel Club proudly announced three brand new member awards at the Annual General Meeting. Nominated by fellow CKC members, the awards recognize a recipient’s outstanding commitment, dedication and accomplishments that have positively impacted purebred dogs, and all dogs, in Canada.
For over 30 years Lynn has dedicated herself to preserving the tradition of working stock dogs. Lynn began trialing in the 90s and assisted greatly in developing the Herding Program for the Canadian Kennel Club as well as the Australian and Swedish Kennel Clubs. Creating opportunities for breeders and owners to preserve their breeds’ herding instinct through Herding training and trials, Lynn goes above and beyond in order to further the sport of all-breed Herding, heering on fellow competitors when they had great rung and offering advice and encouragement if they did not. Lynn’s impact on all-breed Herding here in Canada is truly immeasurable.
For its inaugural year, Janet Lynn (Lynn) Leach was awarded the CKC National Heritage Canine Performance Award.
We chatted with Lynn to get to know a little more about how she got involved in Herding and to pick her brain for advice for exhibitors thinking of trying the spot of Herding with their dogs.
How did you get involved in dogs?
We had a family pet when I was growing up, and it just became a way of life to have at least one dog around. Once I moved out on my own, I began to get interested in dog activities – and began apprenticing with a great mentor named Muriel Bereziak to learn about handling and Conformation.
What drew you to the sport of Herding?
I had Toy Poodles at the beginning, and when I met my husband, he wanted a bigger dog. He chose a “Blue Heeler”, which looked like a pretty cool breed, so the search began for our first Australian Cattle Dog. By the time that pup was 6 months, it was obvious that I had to do things way different then I did with my Toy Poodles! Somebody suggested that I try Herding as that was what they were bred for.
What motivated you to work as hard as you did to further the sport of Herding here in Canada?
When I joined the Australian Cattle Dog Club, some of the members were doing some Herding and in the process of putting together a committee to work with CKC on developing a Herding program. I offered to sit on the committee, and that was the beginning of learning about navigating in the world of CKC. Most of the expertise/experience came from the world of Border Collies – but our dogs learn so differently and I was keen on teaching my dog, so I bought some sheep and started to experiment with different methods. I felt like I would have more success if I had others to train with, so I started encouraging others to try also.
How does it feel to be nominated for such an award by your peers?
I feel so happy that people who I respect and are now successful and helping others would take the time to nominate me for such a fabulous award. Herding is such a small community and I feel like we all need each other. But to be recognised in such a way has made me speechless!
What would you like to see happen to the sport of Herding here in Canada over the next ten years?
CKC Herding has grown so much in the past ten years, its hard for me to imagine it growing more! I’d like to see a Junior Handler program added for sure. I’d also like to see some sort of continued Education for Herding Judges, so they can stay current on any rule changes and grow with the program.
What type of dog owner should try Herding?
I think with a good instructor, most people could try herding. Herding can be exciting for dogs that are learning, so a calm handler will help settle things down so that learning can happen.
Any advice for someone new to the sport?
Find a good instructor. Read articles, books and watch videos – then try to determine which training techniques will work best for both you and your dog. You are the person who knows your dog best. Learn what is needed, and then try to figure out the best way to teach that to your dog. Work with your instructor to come up with ideas. And if you can get into a Herding clinic, take advantage of learning from all of the other participants – try to watch each dog.
Dog wise – what are you most excited about right now?
I have a 3-year-old Australian Cattle Dog named Trucker. He’s the son of my special Callie girl, so he has some big shoes to fill, but I think he can do it and I’m excited to begin competing with him in Conformation and Herding. I also have a young Hungarian Mudi that I may start in Herding. She is two years old, and I plan to use her as a bird dog at Vancouver International Airport – but I think that these dogs can be good at many jobs!
On behalf of all CKC members, I would like to thank Lynn for her tireless efforts and dedication to the sport of Herding. She is a coach in the sport and a cheerleader to those participating. We wish her much continued success!