Arlene and two adopted dogs.

Just a blog from someone who loves to communicate with other dog owners

Post Crufts

Hi all, updating you about my Crufts  visit.,     

Made the preparations a few days earlier with my friends who were looking after the dogs, Joan was coming at 8 till 1 , and Avril from around 1.30 till 6 ish.

Saturday morning  woke up at 3.30am instead of 4 ! having gone to bed at 9 pm. not bad, Washed, dressed, fed dogs and on the road at 5.15 am. Met Martin [son in law] at 5.45 and on we drove. it’s about a 3 hour journey. There was patches of fog on the A34 but not enough to hold us up and we made it into Crufts at 8.15 am,, not bad if I say so myself. Had breakfast [again] and got ourselves to Hall no 5. After we settled in our seats I went round [what we call the benches] where the dogs and handlers are, chatted to some friends and took a few photos.

I would have liked to have gone to see the GSD’s but the Obedience starts at 9.15 so there’s just never enough time. There  were 21 bitches competing, [the dogs had competed the day before] , once upon a time there used to be easy 35 – 40 but apart from the fact that some handlers had qualified more than once it is a sport that is sadly on the decline, this is due to the more spectator interest of Heelwork to Music,  Flyball and Agility, all visually more exciting and to be honest intelligible to the public. Competition Obedience is on par with dressage compared to hacking., and takes many hours of disciplined work and attention to detail. You have to win your way through the classes, starting with Pre beginners, all the way to Championship C, where you compete for a qualifier, that takes you to Crufts, you can’t just ‘enter’. Tango got that far, but didn’t get the qualifier. There are only a number of shows per year who award qualifiers, and are called Championship shows, thus limiting the numbers who qualify, but some teams win more than one and therefore reducing the numbers at Crufts.  Suffice to say that what you get at Crufts is the best in the land, and actually, many countries have tried emulating the British method and style of dog training. Copied but never equalled .

It was the usual mixture of first timers who were a bit over awed with nerves playing  a part in robbing them of a good performance, to old  timers who qualify year after year.

No one except the judge and her stewards know what the contest will be, but it has to adhere to certain rules. There is Heelwork which is carried out at Normal, fast and slow pace, with perhaps a circle to be negotiated with one foot always on the line, a weave between poles, whilst walking, the dog has to stop in a stand , sit and down position with one command and brought to heel on the way back with one command. no other commands are permitted, The dog must stay close at all times. Retrieving an object supplied by the judge, each dog has a replica object. Do six different positions with one command at a distance of 40 yards from the handler, Sent to a spot on the floor, which can be visible to the dog or not, drop down when told , and then called to heel when the handler is told to call the dog. {still with me?} Sit all together for two mins while the handlers disappear, and lie down for ten mins the same. then comes the scent, this exercise is usually the decider as it’s done last, the dog having to find the judges scent on a piece of cloth in amongst 9 other cloths with two decoy scents.

The lady who won the day I was there is a very well seasoned handler and made up several champions. Second was Dot Watts, who bred my Tango and to whom I used to go for lessons , she too is a highly experienced handler with several Champions under her belt.

A champion is made by winning three qualifiers at different champ shows under different judges, a win at crufts automatically makes a dog an Obedience Champion.

We finished at 4.45 pm and after a couple of good byes were on the road at 5 pm, Thankfully Martin drove home as arranged. After dropping him off I got home at 8.15 pm. fed the dogs, had a cuppa and crashed out, Next day I wasn’t too bad and caught up with some gardening after a long dog walk, but it caught up with me next day.

Here are some photos I hope they turn out OK first time i’ve done an album  As you can see the benches are all decorated with the good luck cards friends send to their favourites. by contrast the other benches e.g. boxers have no cards, we fought a long battle to be allowed them. The dog sitting on the girl’s lap is Trendy, my friend Madge’s dog, Madge is fourth down on left with Trendy , second one in below header is Mary Ray of the heelwork to music fame.  Next to Madge is Dot with Frenzi working, then Madge working. next is the stays, then the scent with the judge rubbing the cloth before giving to the handler look how the first dog, who won incidentally, is sitting with his front feet up.

then the dogs are working scent, second one is the dog getting the right cloth. Then there is the judge and her party, then the winners. Kath Ingham, who worked two dogs, and Dot.


  1. Great post and I loved the album Arlene 🙂 It all looked very familiar actually…especially that floor round the benching area…never forgotten after nearly breaking my neck on it and taking a close up look at it when I went flying on it to the bemusement of the benched dogs! Lovely collies in the Obedience section and it was great to see the photos of them working. They look very impressive especially when they’re all in the Down-Stay with no handlers around, and ALL staying down! I love the heelwork, there’s something incredibly rewarding about good close heelwork with a willing and happy dog. Good explanation too, of what the Obedience classes entail, very well explained! I’m not surprised it all caught up with you though, often doesn’t hit right away does it? Gives you a false sense of well being on the first day back then floors you!! You had a very, very long day and I know how shattered I was after travelling there and back on the train from London but a great day out. I’m so glad you made it this year, and thanks for sharing it all so entertainingly and enjoyably with us 🙂

    • Hi Wolfie, glad you enjoyed the post, it was early so not too busy, as I said I didn’t get round any of the other dogs, gone are the days when we used to wander round the show till it closed, now all I want to do is head for home as soon as the Ob is finished, [getting old] .
      On heelwork, I must admit it used to give me a real buzz when working Tango, though inattention was his biggest problem, when on form he was ‘ace’ his set exercises were hard to fault, and if he would have just made a bit more commitment to attention I was told on many occasion he was definitely Crufts material, Oh well, too late now. but I’ve enjoyed every single minute of what I did with him, and all my other dogs too. it’s a wonderful hobby.

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