A Sandwick woman and her seven-year-old dog Lace have competed in a Scottish team at Crufts for the fifth time.
Sally Sanford competed in the Crufts rally event at the NEC in Birmingham with Lace, her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.
The duo is part of a Scotland team that will compete in the inter-regional rally against Wales, Northern Ireland, and four English teams.
The rally course required the dog and handler to work together to complete a course that included 10 to 15 separate activities.
According to Ms. Sanford, the competition was a real “step-up.”The dogs have to perform things that aren’t that difficult for them; but it’s the handlers who must be able to multi-task, focus during the event, and negotiate the course.
It’s important to have to keep your wits about you.
Lace is an experienced dog though and knows how to handle himself. He had previously finished second in his event.
It was when she had Lace as a puppy after moving to Shetland when she became interested in Rally. She wanted a context for her puppy training to help her become a well-behaved member of society. It seemed like it fitted really well with clicker training and other activities. Even better it could be done by herself in a remote rural location. They have both continued to love it as time has passed; with new courses and new combinations of things to focus on. She plays not only against other compeitors but against the standard of excellence. Everyone involved is always really supportive of each other.
It was the first Crufts event since March 2020 and she was apprehensive about it. , The couple ended up in a respectable fifth place with the Scottish team finishing above Northern Ireland and the South and South West team.