Still Dee here, sorry! Two of the bigger activities at Crufts are the obedience and the various levels of ‘dancing’; heelwork to music, freestyle etc.
Competitive obedience has it’s own ring and it was often busy at the sides and so I didn’t get any photos. There were displays in the activity ring and I did watch the Good Citizen special pre beginners obedience. The Good citizen scheme is one open to all dogs, and is described as the kennel club as being for ‘Domestic Obedience’. Ludo has his bronze and silver awards.
One of my dog club fellow members had qualified for the pre beginners with her dog Snoopy and I went and cheered her along. The Good Citizen competitions are designed as a bit of an introduction to competitive obedience and they make sure that ‘ABC’ (non collie) dogs get through so it was lovely to see so many different breeds taking part. They all did really well and I can’t imagine how nervous their owners must have been! The test involved most of the things from the bronze award: heelwork, recall, playing with your dog, examining it as though you were a vet and going safely through a ‘gate’.
Then there is the dancing!
I managed to catch the end of the freestyle final and saw the wonderful Richard Curtis with his dog Whiz. They won and went on to represent Britain in the international rounds! I also managed to see Richard do a demonstration in the Good Citizen ring too, I’d love to go to a training day. All the competitors came up with great, imaginative routines, but Richard’s just flowed so well!
Lap of honour!
The Kennel Club has recently revised the K9 freestyle rules to improve safety for the dogs. You can no longer do a front ‘handstand’ or be on the back legs for longer than 30 seconds and no high vaults from shoulders etc and no lavish costumes on the dogs. So it means the competitors have really had to think about the routines and not just ‘flashy’ tricks. I loved watching them all perform!
I also watched a couple of demo’s in the activities ring, including this fun one. Again, showing any breed can do just about anything!
One thing that really pleased me about Crufts was that there really was a lot of emphasis on pet owners and what we can do with and achieve with our dogs on a personal, and competitive level. A lot of people criticise the club as an organisation, thinking they are promoting bad breeding for monetary gain, but I do think they are trying hard to encourage, as their slogan says, ‘Healthy, Happy dogs.’