Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It seems that in the past month, Jazz has really come into her own. It started with the Splash 'n Dash USDAA agility trial in late September. Jazz qualified in six of her seven runs that weekend! We were especially proud of her, because we feel USDAA is the toughest competition venue in agility. Tess had an unusually rough weekend, but she still managed a couple qualifying runs in very tough Performance III competition.

The first weekend of October, both girls showed with me at the Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club's Rally and Obedience trial. On Friday, Jazz earned her sixth Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) leg. She needs 10 qualifiers to earn her RAE title. Tess completed her very first Rally Excellent leg with a very nice second place finish. The girls then went on to earn first place in Rally Advanced Pairs, where both dogs do the Rally course together. We always do well in Pairs, and I think Tess and Jazz like being out there together.

On Saturday, Tess and I stepped into the obedience ring for the very first time together, and she got her first Beginner Novice leg with a third place finish. Tess went on to be High Scoring Dalmatian in the trial, as well as High Scoring Non-Sporting Dog. Not a bad start! Jazz completed the third leg of Novice obedience competition, thus earning her Companion Dog title. She had the best run ever with some very nice off-leash heeling, and it ended up being a first place finish to top off her title. Way to go, Jazz!

On Sunday, Tess got her second Beginner Novice leg and a fourth place finish. She was once again High Scoring Dalmatian in the trial. Although Tess performed very well over the weekend, she lets it be known that this is charity work for me and she'd really rather be on an agility course! Jazz, on the other hand, loves to do whatever it is I want to do and had another great run in Novice obedience. Even though it was an extra leg not needed for a title, she put in a very nice second place performance. Jazz has mastered all the exercises needed to go on to Graduate Novice and Open obedience competition. She loves to retrieve and I'm looking forward to training and competing in the next levels with her. Below is Jazz's official Companion Dog title photo:

This past weekend, we were once again at USDAA agility, this time at K9 Four Seasons Athlete Center in OH. Jazz had another great weekend, qualifying and placing in five out of eight runs and earning her Performance I Jumpers and Performance I Gamblers titles. Tess had a better weekend, earning four qualifying scores in Performance III competition. Way to go, girls!

You may wonder why we compete for so many titles. While it's nice to get all the pretty ribbons, it's really not about the titles at all. It's about the joy of being in the ring with our dogs and reaping the rewards of the training we do with them. A title merely lets the world in on what we already know: We love our dogs and they are awesome! I cannot begin to describe the special bond and relationship we have with our dogs through training and competition. The teamwork between us is one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced. It is such a pleasure and so relaxing to train, travel, and compete with these two Dals. We've made lots of friends in every venue and almost always stop for dinner with a group of folks after the competition, so there's a social element as well. Our dogs are content and well behaved because we spend time with them and give them something to do. I think they enjoy it every bit as much as we do. Just the level of communication alone is worth the effort. I know many of you who follow our blog train and compete with your dogs, too, so you know what I'm talking about. If you want a happy, well-behaved dog, I'd encourage you to develop a bond and mutual respect through training. Your dog will love you for it!


  1. Congratulations!

    I accidentally acquired a Dalmatian (it can happen :D ) in January and I'm happy to find blog about competing Dalmatians, especially ones that do more than just agility. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) I'm teaching my boy obedience and he quite fun to train :)

  2. Thanks, Mia! Some day you'll have to tell me how you "accidentally" acquired a Dalmatian. Sounds like an interesting story! You'll find that they are much happier if they have something to do. You can tire an active Dalmatian out much quicker with mental activity than with physical activity. They are built for endurance, so it's hard to tire them out physically.

    Glad to hear you're training in obedience. It's great mental stimulation for your Dal and will build a wonderful relationship between you two. Dalmatians are people dogs, so they are very willing to participate in training.

    Best of luck to you!

  3. It's a fairly common story I think. Some folks took a Dalmatian puppy but when he grew up he wasn't that fun anymore since he kept eating their stuff, pulling them around on the leash etc. He was just bored (and not very well trained). They called me since I have dogs and I guess they figured what's one more?

    I didn't know anything about Dallies and imagined they are stubborn and not very intelligent but oh how wrong I was! Still a lot of people have told me how hard they are to train and although I don't agree anymore it's always nice to see "proof" that it can be done. I have also noticed he doesn't tire easily. Everyday I take him running for a few hours to a field or a forest with my other dog and when we get home he's all ready for some action :D My kind of guy!

    I have a blog and although it's in Finnish there are some pictures of Rohan if you're interested http://haukkuja.blogspot.com/

  4. Congratulations, girls! Sounds like you have been very busy bees! :)