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Publisher’s Message: Buzz My ‘Perfect’ Dog

Photo by Nancy Jennings. Buzz and his bling from last weekend’s perfect 300 day in the rally ring.

Covid may have sidelined Buzz and I from going to dog shows but it didn’t stop us from training for those two years when we weren’t able to compete in Rally Obedience.

With shots in my arm, Buzz and I returned to the ring this summer. And, I’m pleased to report we haven’t missed a beat and perhaps, we are even better than ever.

By way of a little background for new readers, Buzz, my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, made history when he was the first dog of his breed and the second dog of any breed in the country to achieve a Master Rally Obedience title in 2018.

He and I went on to be the first Toller to achieve the coveted Rally Champion title, known as a RACH, the highest title awarded by the American Kennel Club. Buzz was also one of the first dogs in the country to achieve this title as well.

Photo by Nancy Jennings. Buzz and more bling from a show in October.

Twice along the way, Buzz and I competed in the Rally National Championships. The first time, I made a mistake that kept us off the podium and the second time, Buzz had an oops that took us out of the top 10. While riding out COVID, I had a lot of time to think about what Buzz and I would do once we could show again. And I decided we’d compete one more time at the Rally Nationals upcoming in June 2022.

So, we’ve been training showing this year to practice and perfect all the skills for this big competition in the hopes that the third time will be the charm and we’ll make it onto the podium.

Also during the height of COVID, sadly, Ryan, Buzz’s older “brother” crossed the Rainbow Bridge. This change resulted in Buzz becoming an only dog, so as we navigated this new dynamic, Buzz and I took lots of walkabouts around the property and trained while safely waiting out what I hoped would be the worst of this pandemic.

Photo by Nancy Jennings. Buzz and another big ribbon he won this fall.

And I did a lot of planning for this year.

I put together quite an ambitious show schedule for this summer and fall. As of this writing, we’ve shown 13 times. Nine of those 13 times we had the highest scores of all competitors for all three classes, winning the big fancy ribbons as the highest scoring triple qualifier of the show. Ten of those shows, we were the highest scoring dog in two classes. And in eight of those shows, Buzz won both of those big awards.

To date, we have 15 of the 20 triple qualifying scores we need to achieve a Rally Champion 2 (RACH2) and we need 12 more points to achieve the total point qualifications for this title. But this title will have to wait until 2022.  

Photo by Nancy Jennings. Buzz does it again, winning both high triple combined high scoring dog and high combined highest scoring dog.

Also along the way, we achieved something we’d never accomplished before. We finished the day with perfect 300 out of a possible 300 scores for the three classes. Not just once, or even twice, but four times to date.

This month, Buzz had two perfect scoring days back-to-back at shows.

So, COVID turned out to be good for something. We used the downtime to improve our Rally skills and I am able to say, Buzz is a perfect dog.

I always knew this of course, but his competition scores prove it in a another way.

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