Redlands Dog Obedience Club was well represented and very successful in the Dog Sports at the Royal Queensland Show i.e. the ‘Ekka’ this year.
Sunday 18th August was the main dog sports day at the Ekka which holds competitions in Rally O, Agility and Dances with Dogs.
Sharon Clark and her Border Collie, Holly brought home 2 Qualifications and a load of great prizes in her sport of Dances with Dogs. They won both the Advanced Heelwork to Music and Advanced Freestyle DWD classes as well as achieving the overall highest score prize for DWD.
Sharon’s other Border Collie, Cian who is now retired, did a demo in the non-titling rookie class which was a really lovely routine and well received by the crowd.
Caroline Strainig and her Border Collie, Adam won Heelwork to Music Starters. Caro and Adam have only started learning DWD this year, basically since Adam retired from Agility. He excels at Obedience and loves to learn new tricks, so Heelwork to Music was his next challenge and Caro says he learns the tricks really quickly.
DWD is a fairly recent sport and is now a fast growing discipline in Queensland. If you love music and walking with your dog, then Heelwork to Music might be for you. In traditional Obedience, the dog heels on the handler’s left side, but in HTM the dog heels on either side, in front or behind the handler and may be going forwards or backwards. The dog and handler complete a routine to music where a minimum of 70% must be a heelwork position, and the remaining up to 30% can be freestyle or transition moves.
DWD also includes a freestyle section which involves the dog doing exercises like spins, weave through the handler’s legs, reversing up, chin-rests, bows and any other tricks you can teach your dog. The dog does not need to work close to the handler so can be sent in large circles around the handler or to a target further away. The routine is choreographed to music and the different levels of difficulty start at one minute for the Starter group going up to 4 minute routines for the Advanced level. However, it is not just a series of tricks – it’s a well-choreographed routine and has a variety of moves and flows smoothly.
DWD is a fun sport to watch as well as to participate in. The dogs seem to love doing tricks and the Handler is able to talk to their dog while listening to their favourite music!
The Rally O competition was held undercover on real turf this year, however it did have some very well worn patches by the time Rally started. The conditions at the Ekka are very distracting for dogs. The grounds have lots of unusual and tempting smells after being used by hundreds of different dogs over the 10 day Ekka period. Also, there’s a person commenting over a loud speaker, the crowd clapping as well as people hanging over the fence dangling hot chips or Dagwood dogs and children trying out their latest toy army machine guns from the Army Action Show bag or throwing their Buzz Lightyear squishy up in the air! Even walking into the Ekka can be nerve racking for the dogs as they have to walk through the crowds with all the noise, food and tempting smells to get there. It’s a real challenge.
Caro and Adam competed in Rally O Masters and Excellent B and won both competitions. They have competed at the Ekka in previous years and although Adam is quite relaxed and an extremely reliable dog, Caro, understandably, still felt a touch of the nerves on the day.
Carol Ward also competed in Rally with her 2 Borders, Sassi and Max. Both dogs qualified in Novice Rally and came second and third respectively. Carol has recently started competing in Rally and this was only their third Rally O trial since they started in mid-June this year. Sassi has had the Ekka experience before, but it was in 2012 and this year was a completely different set up and new area. It was Max’s first time at the Ekka and he did well to handle that environment with all the waiting around all day, having fireworks go off twice during the Agility runs and bands going past!
On the same day, that afternoon, Carol also competed successfully in Agility with Sassi achieving a first in Masters Jumping 400, a second in Masters Agility 400 and a third in overall all heights in Masters Jumping and a qualification and 6th place in overall heights in ADO. These are fantastic results especially as this sport draws a big crowd and although the crowd noises of cheering and clapping spooked Sassi a little, she managed to keep focused.
It’s a big day for both the dogs and their handlers, so it’s no wonder someone, who shall remain nameless, had other things on their mind when they parked their car that morning and subsequently ‘allegedly’ forgot where it was in the King Street carpark that afternoon. Fortunately, they could ‘phone a friend’ who had also parked near them to help locate said car!
All the RDOC members who participated at the Show said it was such a great day and was so much fun.
Well done to these 3 ladies and their dogs for braving the demanding conditions of the Ekka and doing so well against some tough competition in their respective dog sports.
You don’t have to have a Border Collie to compete in these sports, but it looks like there is a theme happening here!