Three Richmond Hill dogs represented their hometown well Dec. 2-5 during the 2010 Savannah and Beaufort Kennel Club Annual Dog Show held at the Coastal Empire Fair Grounds in Savannah.
All-Breed dog shows and Obedience and Rally Trials were held, and this year’s event was larger than ever. The three local dogs, Nero, Copper and Makosaurus “Mako” Rex, brought home a total of 11 ribbons over four days, all three earning a Rally title in their division.
Justine Oakwood, owner and seasoned trainer at Full Moon Dog Training of Richmond Hill, competed with two dogs, Nero and Copper, in the rally Obedience Trials at the Novice and Advanced levels. On the first day of competition, Nero, a Doberman pinscher, placed first and earned his Novice title. He then moved up to Advanced and placed on his very first trial.
Copper, an All-American (mixed) breed, placed three times and earned his Novice title. Copper was originally a rescue with a laundry list of medical and psychological ailments and has overcome much to become one of the top competitors. He looks forward to joining Nero on the Advanced level at their next competition.
Lori Gaylor competed with her 16-month-old vizsla, Mako, in his first rally showing. Gaylor and Mako have been working with Oakwood at Full Moon Dog Training for just a few months, during which Gaylor trained hard and prepared her canine well. Mako placed all four days, including two first-place showings, and earned his Novice title. He even received compliments from the judge.
“Having a well-behaved dog is essential to good companionship, and rally is a good way to put those skills to the test,” Gaylor said. “Rally and obedience trials help strengthen teamwork and build confidence in a dog in all situations. It’s also a lot of fun.”
A rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the difficulty level. Communication between handler and dog is encouraged and there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler. The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.
According to the American Kennel Club website, the AKC Rally offers both the dogs and handlers an experience that is fun, energizing and challenging. The canine team moves at its own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very engaging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.
For more information on rally obedience, visit http://www.akc.org/events/rally.