A dog owner and her pet poodle are ready to rally to the cause at this year’s Crufts Dog Show.
Larbert woman Emma Hunter and her nine-year toy poodle Honey will be travelling to the world-famous event, which gets under way today (Thursday) and runs until Sunday.
They will be in the Genting Arena at Birmingham NEC to compete in the brand new rally obedience competition.
The dynamic duo are one of eight owner/dog combinations from Scotland in the discipline which takes place at 4.30pm today. Led by team manager Elaine Miller, Emma, Honey and the rest of the Scots will take on representatives from six other regions throughout the UK.
Emma, who runs dog grooming business 4Legged Trend, said: “I stumbled across rally obedience on the internet by accident and thought it was ideal for dogs, and owners for that matter, who maybe couldn’t do more physically strenuous disciplines but still enjoyed working and keeping their minds keen.
“Many of the exercises come from basic obedience so it’s a sport that is open to all types and sizes of dogs and handlers. I’m delighted to have been chosen to be part of the Scottish inter-regional team and would love to see the profile of rally obedience raised in the UK.”
Rally obedience is the latest dog sport to be recognised by the Kennel Club. It is fun and, no matter what level both the dog and the owner are at, it is easy to get involved and start training and competing.
It involves dog and owner working as a team to navigate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform – it has been called an obedience exercise obstacle course.
There is no pause between exercises – dog and owner have to work their way as quickly as possible through the course without direction from the judge, who has set up the layout.
Owners are encouraged to talk to and praise their dog during the performance.
Honey, who has the officially registered name Almarshields Toffee Apple, took to the new challenge like a duck to water.
Emma said: “We’ve trained in fun agility and obedience. Honey has an active mind and enjoys working for rewards and doing tricks. She loves playing with balls – one year I bought her a ball pit for her birthday and she was in her element.”