I spent the day there (Westminster Kennel Club Show) yesterday. I went to both watch the Obedience portion, and to help a friend out. The top ten dog go on to what they call a “freestyle” portion where the handler has to make up a routine which entertains the crowd yet contains certain required elements. Most people chose a theme for their routines (there were several Border Collies retrieving stuffed sheep over the high jump for example). My friend (who shows a Toller) did a Canada themed thing involving stuffed Canada geese and hockey puck scent articles. Some of these routines were quite elaborate with costumes and many props and since they are given a 2 minute limit to get their rings set up, most people brought along assistants (I was one for my friend).
SO fun to watch. The winner, Linda Brennan with Heart (black Lab) did a very entertaining freestyle with a magic theme. One of my favorite parts was when she sent her on a directed retrieve to a top hat, out of which Heart pulled a stuffed rabbit. My friend managed to come in 4th, despite her dog completely screwing up her freestyle by deciding that retrieving stuffed geese was more fun than doing what she was supposed to. She still managed to get all the required elements in though, and the crowd was VERY entertained as it was obvious the dog was having a great time not doing what it was supposed to.
All the dogs competing were among the top in the country (had to be to be invited), so it was fun to watch some amazing performances as well as to see that even fantastic OTCH dogs make mistakes sometimes too (makes those of us not there yet feel better!).
Cookie (Jamrah’s Legally Blonde) 6/4/2015
Sassy (Jamrah’s Blonde Ambition) 6/4/2015
Chloe (HIT HC Windsong’s Femme Fatale, UDX, OM2) 6/7/2009
Scully (Coventry's Truth Is Out There, UD, RN) 4/4/1996 - 6/30/2011
Our foster Jolie (UCh Windsong’s Genuine Risk, CDX, WC) 5/26/1999 - 3/2/2014
and Mulder (Coventry’s I Want to Believe, UD, VER, WC, RN) 5/26/1999 - 4/20/2015
That would be so much fun to watch. I'm pretty sure I've seen some videos of Heart doing her routines. seeing how unwaveringly attentive the dog is to the handler is impressive to me. Nice that you had a chance to be there to help so you'll know what you need to think of aside from the routine when you get there some day!
ALL of the dogs there have that kind of attention - it’s necessary for them to perform at that level. That was part of the fun of the freestyle - many were more relaxed and less attentive because it didn’t feel so formal to them. Fun to see them act like normal dogs for a change!
I was able to watch Part 1 of the obedience, but could not find Part 2 with all the freestyle. Anybody got a link?!
I do have a link to Linda and Heart’s routine though .... Linda had been looking for one and had trouble, but finally found this one that someone had taken.
Here’s the only other one I have a link to - Dave Mauer’s with Buster:
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