Agility - Breed Showing - Gundog Work - Rally
I originally wanted a Toller as I wanted to compete in Obedience and I didn’t want a Border Collie (nothing wrong with Border Collies I just prefer Gundogs). I had been thinking of getting a Working Golden Retriever or Large Munsterlander until I saw a Toller at an Obedience show, remembered seeing them at Crufts in 2002 and fell in love with them all over again.
There aren’t many Tollers working in Competitive Obedience in the UK, however, at least two Tollers have made it through from Pre-Beginners to Novice. Tanya Grigg and Teal have been the most sucssful partnership to date. They won the inaugural final of the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Special Pre-Beginner Stakes at Crufts 2006 and have since qualified out of Novice and are now one win away from qualifying out of A - success to aspire to!
Update and News
Rupert and I train fortnightly with Shirley Clowes. 2007 was our first proper season following on from our taster show in 2005, we competed at Chesvale, SKC, Petersfield, Border Collie Club of Wales, Hatchford Brook and Redditch. We were placed in all 3 rounds of the KCGCDS Special Obedience Pre-beginner Stakes we entered and gained a KC Obedience Award of Merit Qualifying Score in the Pre-Beginner and Beginner rounds we worked (we ended the year with 1 in Pre-Beginners and 2 in Beginners as not all shows award them). Our highlight for 2007 was our 3rd place in Pre-Beginners at Border Collie Club of Wales. I was very happy with our first season and hope to keep up the good work next year.
Rupert bettered this on his first 2008 outing with 2nd place in Pre-Beginners at Preston & Fylde GSD Club beaten for top honours by baby brother Ari on his debut. So now we are out of Pre-Beginners and training for Beginners and Novice. Not content with his baby brother winning him out of Pre-Beginners Rupert had to go one better at his next show and won Beginners at BAGSD Walsall Branch. This gave him his final points for his Pre-Beginner Excellence Award and he now has a lovely certificate confirming it.
Rupert made his competiton debut at Wolverhampton DTC Championship in 2005. A group of Toller owners had arranged to meet up here and it was to be our first stab at the KCGCDS Special Pre-Beginner Stakes. Family commitments meant one Toller couldn’t make it, then Rupert’s sister came into season leaving Rupert, his Auntie Saskia and Tanya Grigg’s Teal flying the Toller flag. All three Tollers ended up in the same ring and when Rupert went in as the third Toller of the day the judge did comment to me that he’d never seen so many Tollers before! Teal was drawn first and stormed the round with what proved to be the winning score. Saskia had a very creditable first attempt. Rupert’s round wasn’t too embarrassing – until he broke his stays.
Bradley family honour though was upheld by Spud who (drawn in the other ring) only lost 5 marks, not bad for an Obedience debut at just short of 8 years old! My sister was drawn in the same ring as the Tollers with her Westie, Monty, this is likely to be their one and only Obedience appearance as Bek decided she prefers Horse shows.
Kathy Murphy Training Weekend
Rupert and I attended a training weekend with Kathy Murphy in March 2006, also there was another Toller, Fergus, and his handler, Heather. It was an excellent weekend and nice to train with a different trainer and meet new people.
March 2007 saw the NSDTR Club of UK's very first multi-discipline training weekend down in the New Forest. One of the disciplines was Obedience. Tanya Grigg was the trainer for the weekend, she has been very successful with her own Toller, Teal (Decoymans Piper Ariadne of Tanmark). The Obedience sessions were very popular and we left motivated to get out there and have a go. We are planning a Toller Obedience meetup at Peterfield Obedience show in June, which is running a heat of the KCGCDS Special Pre-Beginner Stakes.
These weeks are always good fun and you learn so much as you build up over the week. The improvement in all 3 of my dogs was amazing.
Our second Obedience show wasn't until May 2007. Rupert was entered in the KCGCDS Speical Pre-Beginner Stakes Part II and the Pre-Beginner Part II. The Stakes Stays were first and Rupert was clear, then we worked the Stakes round. He did very well only losing 3.5 marks. We lost 2.5 on our heelwork and 1 on the recall, from the judge's chat afterwards most of those went on halts and finishs when he repositioned himself (must cure that bottom shuffle!). We were very pleased to find out that we were 8th!
We trained the Pre-Beginner round and then it was the Pre-Beginner Stays - 1 minute sit stay and then 2 minutes down. I was very pleased that he was clear in these as well, especially as one dog did a runner right out of the ring and off into the distance in the middle of them. We had a very enjoyable day and have plenty to work on for the rest of the season!
We worked our very first "proper" round in the Beginners class at SKC. I had entered Rupert and Ari in the breed classes and the opportunity to do some Obedience as well was just too tempting. The Obedience area at SKC is surrounded by lots of lovely empty space for some last minute traning and motivation, plus the all important reward afterwards. It was a very windy miserable day and Rupert was distracted by the gusts of wind in the heelwork but there were some lovely bits in the heelwork and he was really enjoying himself. We had a crooked sit in the Recall and I think the wind blew away my command in the Retrieve as I had to re-command. All in all though we did very well losing only 6 marks and finishing equal 7th only 1/4 mark outside the rosettes! As we lost less than 10 marks we got a KC Obedience Award of Merit in Beginners which I am going to frame as I think it is a wonderful achievement for our first attempt. We lost 3 on Heel on Lead, 2 1/4 for Heel Free, 1/2 for our Recall and only 1/4 for Retrieve. Oh, and Rupert deserves a special mention for his stays. As I have said before it was a very windy day and the dog next to him broke on both the Sit and the Down Stay (apparently the Steward had to remove it from trying to get over-friendly with Rupert on both occasions) but Rupert was rock-solid and clear on both stays. For that alone I would have been proud of him but he gave me so much more!
Rupert had a busy day at Petersfield. I had entered him in the Beginners, Pre-Beginners and KCGCDS Special Pre-Beginner Stakes classes. We were drawn in Beginners so trained that round. Then it was the KCGCDS Special Pre-Beginner Stakes Stays. Ari was first - and was clear, then I had to do a mad dash across the showground so switch dogs. Despite this Rupert was his usual solid self and clear in his stays.
I worked his Pre-Beginner round next , he worked really nicely in and lost 4 3/4 - you've guessed it, 1/4 mark outside the rosettes again! At least he is in contention and I was really happy with his Heel On Lead as it felt really nice and that is usually our worse thing - we only lost 2 for HOL compared with 2 1/2 for HF, then just 1/4 for the Recall.
His KCGCDS Pre-Beginner Stakes round went also went well - just a few wide turns loosing us 1 in the Heel On Lead and then a crooked sit in the recall present lost us another 1/4 (he tried to sit in my shadow for the shade - well it was so hot!) leaving us in joint 7th place. I geared myself up for the Run-off and practised our presents but the other team didn't show so we didn't actually have to run off - I was quite disappointed as I'd prepared for it. So we got a 7th rosette, one up on last time. We ddn't do our Beginner Stays as it was so hot but went home very pleased with our progress.
We were entered in both Beginners and Pre-Beginners. I only took Rupert, who was drawn 7th in the Beginners class. I warmed him up before we went in and we got ourselves nicely set up for the HOL but as soon as the steward gave the command to move off I lost Rupert's attention so we lost a few marks there for the lag between being told to go and setting off. The rest of the HOL can't have been too bad though as we only lost 2 marks in this section. Next was the Retrieve where we lost 1/4 mark - I think because the dumbell landed next to a ring post so Rupert fumbled trying to pick it up. He was very loose during the HF which was only a straight line across the diagonal, about turn and back again so not much opportunity to get him back again - we lost 3 here. The final exercise was the Recall which was lovely and marked clear then he was clear in his stays later so we lost 5 1/4 marks in total gaining another Kennel Club Obedience Award of Merit in Beginners.Rupert did a nice Pre-Beginner round losing 1 on Heel On Lead, Clear on his Recall and 1 1/2 on Heel Free. He was clear again in his Stays so ended up on a score of 2 1/2 - drawing with one other competitor. By the time of the runoff it had been a long day and we were both getting tired. He did a lovely Recall in the runoff but his Heelwork was very lacklustre. The other dog did lovely Heelwork and a nice Recall so they won the runoff leaving us with 3rd - our first "proper" Obedience Rosette! Clever Bear! Then as the icing on the cake we got our first KC Obedience Award of Merit in Pre-Beginners, a very good day and well worth the long journey.
Not such a long journey here as this is one of our local shows. I had all three dogs entered in the KCGCDS Special Pre-Beginner Stakes but only worked Ari and Rupert.
Rupert was drawn first in the Stakes class which is never ideal. I find it difficult to get my timing right so we aren't waiting around too much but are ready when the Judge is - only my first real season though so hopefully that will come with experience! Bear was well up for it though and was Clear in the Motivate your dog. The Heel On Lead was possibly one of the longest I have come across in these classes and not having had the opportunity to watch a round I was listening out in anticipation of the Halt command, we lost 4 on this section then were clear in the Examination. We lost 1/2 on the Recall - Rupert sat on my foot (naughty bear or, more likely, his useless handler probably had her hands in the wrong place) and then we were clear in the Gate so not bad at all - a final score of 4 1/2.
I then had a long run of stays with Rupert's Pre-Beginner Stays at 10:05, his Beginner Pt 1 Stays at 1-:35 and then the KCGCDS Pre-Beginner Stakes Stays were at 10:55 with both Ari and Rupert. It was very bright and sunny but also quite windy so I am pleased to say that all our Stays were clear. I was especially pleased with the Stakes Stays as this is the first time I have handled two dogs in the same Stay ring.
However, by the time our mammoth stay session was over everyone had worked in the Preebie Stakes and we were needed to runoff for 8th place. The chosen exercise was the Recall and Rupert did a lovely one to win the runoff. Then we were straight into the presentation for our lovely rosette. By this time Rupert and I were both feeling a bit hot and tired and Rupert had obviously had enough so we trained our Beginner round and then withdrew from Pre-Beginners as we had ran out of time and inclination.
Hatchford Brook 2007 will go down in Toller Obedience history though as 3 Tollers won rosettes at this show. Obviously Rupert's 8th in the Stakes class plus in Beginner Part 2 we had a Toller first - two Tollers in the line up! Congratulations to Chris Skelly with Jaby Oak (5th) and Maria Terry with Reedrunner Firefly (6th).
The day after Hatchford Brook was another local show, just 20 minutes down the road for us so a nice change. Redditch is held at the Glyn Mitchell Memorial Ground in Droitwich which is a lovely venue with plenty of space to exercise the dogs and warm up before your class. I only took Rupert as it was forecast to be a hot day plus I think Ari is still a bit too young for back-to-back shows in a weekend.
Rupert was drawn again, 7th in Beginners Part 1. There were a few absentees so we were qucikly in and working our round. Rupert was very keen and focused today with most of our marks down to me - as someone said to me afterwards "You REALLY must learn to walk in a straight line" - oops! Anyway, we lost 2 on the Heel On Lead then 3 1/2 on the Heel Free (mainly me overturning so losing him on the corners). Then we lost 1 in the Recall and 1/2 in the Retrieve leaving us on a respectable 7. Our stays were clear and we ended up towards the lower end of the top ten so I was very pleased with him. Unfortunately no Award of Merit today but it was still nice to know that we had a qualifying score.
We met up with Tanya and Teal (Decoymans Piper Ariadne at Tanmark) - Tollers are getting more common in Obedience. Its only Border Collie Club of Wales this year where Rupert has been the sole Toller present.
We missed SKC after Rupert injured his paw so our first outing in 2008 wasn't until the end of June. We moved onto Preston & Fylde from Blackpool Champ show. The venue was lovely with lots of excellent walking although the conditions were a bit blustery. Luckily we were relatively sheltered - Blackpool Championship show and Lune Valley Agility show both had to abandon their shows on the Sunday. Ari was drawn in Pre-Beginners and set a very respectable 4.5. Rupert was a little tired as he had been showing the day before and wasn't quite on top form but pulled it back together for a nice steady round losing 2.5 on Heel on Lead, 2.5 on Heel Free and clear on his Recall and Stays. I had a nerve-wracking wait after Stays until the class closed with my two boys still on top. It was a proud moment to take 2 dogs into the line-up and now I have to work hard to train them to Beginner and Novice standard.
I did Beginner Stays with both dog for practice (Rupert's were clear) but after the Pre-Beginner presentations I decided to withdrawn them and end the day on an incredible high!
We missed Redditch this year as I had tweaked my back (makes a change for it to be a handler problem) so our next outing was Walsall. Again the weather was pretty awful - it rained most of the morning and into the afternoon before it started to clear up. Rupert's first round was his Beginner round which we worked in the pouring rain (well he is a Gundog). He did a nice tidy round losing 1.5 on both Heelwork section, 0.5 on his Recall and did a Clear Retrieve. I was really pleased to find out we had only lost 3.5 although the judge did tell me that 0.5 of those were for me wandering all over the place rather than walking a straight line (I really must work on that). Rupert had been so enthusiastic during his Beginner round that after a good reward I decided to take him in for Pre-Beginners as well (I don't usually do 2 rounds with Rupert as he is really only a 1 round a day dog). Unfortunately it was still raining and by the time the Steward and Judge had waterproofed up again I got into the ring and realised Rupert had nothing in the tank - silly me didn't withdraw him but he put in an OK if lacklustre performance losing 5 on Heel Free, 6 on Heel on Lead and with a Clear Recall. Most of the marks were lost for lagging and crooked sitting on the halts - well he had told me he didn't want to do another round - next time I'll listen. He was clear on Stays for both classes. I know a lot of the people who were organising this show and they did a great job - well done guys!
Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme
Rupert has passed all four certificates currently available under the scheme.
Copyright Rachel J Bradley 2005-12