Dogs are different from humans in many ways but perhaps none more so than their fervent love of going to school.
For a dog, the chance to interact with fellow four-legged ‘students’, run around, play games, challenge their minds and get a yummy treat as a result of their efforts is a little piece of heaven. And for their owners, not only does obedience training mean their dog is better behaved and well-socialised, it can be fun for them as well!
Janette and her dog Bingo, a five-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, have been avid participants of obedience training and fierce competitors in the Victorian Canine Association’s Obedience, Rally Obedience, and Dances with Dogs competitions for years. So when Janette started considering bringing another dog into her family, it was important to her that she found a dog who would thrive in the active life of competition. However, when an offhand look at The Lost Dogs’ Home brought up the image of Matilda, a Spaniel cross, Janette knew in her heart that she had found the right one.
“As my life revolves around dog sports and hospital/day care visits with my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, I wanted a dog that could fit into this lifestyle — which was a very big ask!” Janette laughed. “However this little dog had such a gorgeous, cheeky smile and a very bright, intelligent look in her eyes.”
Come lunchtime, Janette, her husband and Bingo found themselves at North Melbourne to meet the four-month-old pup.
“We spent a great deal of time with her, making sure that she was the right kind of dog for our family and that she would be a good companion for Bingo,” she said. “She was very bright and bubbly… and I didn’t need to worry at all about Bingo. They liked each other from their first visit.”
Waiting until Matilda — now named Scarlette — was six-months-old, Janette enrolled the excitable little dog at an obedience dog club, where she very quickly progressed through the ranks.
“I am so pleased to say that Scarlette excels at all these dog sports!” Janette said. “She recently achieved three passes in Rally Obedience (winning her ring on one occasion), and gained the title of Rally Novice (RN).”
“More recently she achieved two passes in Canine Freestyle and gained the title of DWDF.S. Impressively, she won her ring and was awarded the highest score ever achieved in this discipline in Victoria!”
For the little superstar, life with her new family is pure bliss. Janette said some of the little issues Scarlette had in the beginning — becoming frightened when people approached her from the side, expressing distress when she saw people on the other side of the street — have all but disappeared and her happy personality hasn’t stopped shining in the 10 months since being adopted.
“I knew that my darling little girl had come a long way from being the slightly fearful puppy I adopted, when I jumped onto a trampoline recently at a kids playground and suddenly she joined me!” Janette laughed. “She had such a happy, funny look on her face as she bounced up and down with me. I felt like crying tears of joy.”
Janette said the bond between herself and Scarlette is extremely special and that regardless of how she performs at obedience, Scarlette will always be a champion in her eyes.
“I believe in fate, and I believe that Scarlette and I are meant to be together,” Janette said. “When we look at each other, there is a very special understanding between us.”