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Dog obedience trials

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Sept. 9, 2012 at 4:09 a.m.
Updated Sept. 10, 2012 at 4:10 a.m.

Skylar, a 4-year-old English cocker spaniel, kisses owner Sandra Marr at the Victoria Dog Obedience Club's AKC  Obedience and Rally Trials at the Victoria Community Center.

Three-year-old border collie, 2-e, eyed his owner from across an obedience trial enclosure Sunday and waited for a command to move.

For three minutes, 2-e participated in a "long down," which required him to lie down and freeze, while his owner, Gretchen Jones, stood 6 feet away.

A row of K-9s, representing a variety of dog breeds, laid down beside 2-e and gazed around the room. But 2-e focussed on Jones, and waited for a signal.

"Border collies are bred to heard sheep, so they're naturally focused," said Jones, who traveled to Victoria from Bryan to enter two of her dogs in the two-day obedience trials at the Victoria Community Center.

After all the dog-human teams performed in the trials, judges announced the winners.

2-e and Jones were awarded first place in the Novice B Class of the Victoria Dog Obedience Club AKC Obedience and Rally Trials.

"I am always surprised when he wins because as a handler, I see all the imperfections," Jones said. "Ninety-nine percent to 100 percent of the time, if the dog isn't performing well, it's the handler's fault."

Jones said she's been competing in the VDOC obedience trials in Victoria for about five years.

"It's a wonderful show to attend because it's small ... you know a lot of the people here, and you want them to do well with their dogs," said Jones, who works as an agricultural research scientist in College Station. "It's a chance to work with your dogs and participate in competition with your dog, and you get nervous for each other."

VDOC secretary and Obedience Trial Show Chairman Margaret Yanta said 121 dogs participated in the event on Sunday.

"What they're working toward is an obedience title," Yanta explained. "They're trying to qualify for the next category."

Yanta said the event attracts participants from all over Texas to the Crossroads, yet only a handful of local entries are local owner-dog teams.

"Most of the people who work the event are local, but usually we travel out of the area ... to compete," she said.

2-e received a champion's dog dish first prize, and a blue ribbon marking his win.

"We're all dog lovers, most definitely," Jones said. "My dogs have taught me a lot about life, what's wrong and right, good and bad ... that's why I do this."



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