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I’m  Hooked on American  Cocker Spaniels

December 2012

I have to admit I was just the “Average Joe Public” when I first went to a dog show.  I did not like it!  I thought the treatment and stuff they put the dogs through was very unemotional and mean.  My first cocker was unregistered as I could not afford a registered dog or could I find registered breeders at that time.  I was determined to have this dog trained and that meant me learning.  So my partner and I did.  That is when you could say “I got hooked”.

After a few years, when Nicker and Ginger were older, I saw my first black and white American Cocker Spaniel and was totally smitten.  The breeder of my Bailey told me that she was show quality and that I should consider showing her.  While not liking what I saw at show, I decided for the breeder, that I would give it a try.

Now Bailey was scared of everybody, so it was a learning experience for both of us.  For two years we did not understanding why we were not getting points.  I felt obligated to Bailey and her breeder to get the Championship.  Besides no one would ever consider breeding to a newbie without having that title, would they?

I never expected the joy and tears when she finally finished under a foreign judge who said to me “she is beautiful!”  She then went on to get obedience titles, to being in the Veterans class at the Alberta Specialty.  Sure she was the only one entered and my friend Emma Ross from WA took her in the ring for me.  I had nothing but tears welling up in my eyes as my girl strutted her stuff all around that ring, not a care in the world for Emma and made the cut.  She might of been the only “old” girl in there but she did me proud.  Tears of joy and pride for my Bailey.

In the meantime, the CKC brought in the PEN “Performance Event Numbers” where you could do obedience with your unregistered dogs.  I was so  very excited.  I worked with my younger dogs and was so anxious for them to get in that ring.

Abby was Sakari’s dog and she left him a few times in the ring (Just to show you!)  The day she got her CD title she was making us all very very nervous.  “Is she going to do it?”  “Will she be a character and go visiting?”  But she did a straight front, and wonderful finish with a paw up in the air looking at her Dad – such pride from Sakari and I.  She strutted that little wiggle butt of hers out of the ring and into my arms.  We could not have been more proud.

Sir William was the worst for keeping in the ring to the point Sak gave up and I took over.  I put William in Rally and he finally got his CD titles as well as his RN title.  He was such a character and love.   You see on the leash William would look to see who was laughing at him as he would check ever pebble, mark, or obstacle he thought was in his way.  When off leash he would saunter out of the ring, sit with a girl or two and watch us do the obedience routine.  But one day he actually did the whole exercise to high in trial.   We, together achieved our goal – Finally LOL!  Humility and pride all in one day.   Anyone who does obedience would know that wonderful  feeling of achievement.  You see, obedience teaches the dog to think, it teaches you humility, it gives you  a tighter bond with your dog.  It is a glorious feeling.

We have had a few dogs that were loving the ring only because they knew that they could make people laugh.  They knew what they were supposed to do but it was on their terms and they finally achieved that.  You can not express the feelings you get when your little clown looks up at you and the judges says “pass”.

After struggling with little to no information on show handling I went to a seminar put on by Tom Lamb.  He was awesome.  I learned from that seminar we needed a lot of help in our area to compete.   I was ready to give up, in tears, when a lovely vendor at the shows gave me the name of a lady who teaches.  She showed me so much and that is when I started to put on seminars on the island for people to learn.   I am so grateful for that information and the wonderful training methods used in the seminars.  Thanks to Joy and Vaughn Henderson.

Once I got this knowledge and continued on the obedience training I felt far more confident.  It is definitely true “the more confident you are, the feeling goes right down the lead to the dog”.

There is nothing like the feeling you get when your dog has achieved a Best of Breed, Best Puppy in Show to an obedience “Companion Dog” title.  For me, my chest puffs up and I am so very proud to say “that’s my kid”.  We worked for that title and it shows.

It is another venue for me now to play with my dogs.  Some dogs enjoy showing off more than others but one thing common in all is they love to work with me and for me.  I don’t often get to see what they look like going around that ring but I do know how envious I am of my kids because they truly believe they are the prettiest, smartest and best in the world.  To me too!

Over the years I have had so many people tell me that you can only do one thing at a time.  Be it obedience or conformation, I have proved that wrong.  I am so proud of my dogs knowing which ring they are in.  I am so proud that when/if they do sit in the conformation ring I can give a simple hand signal or voice command and they stand lovely.  That is what makes you proud.  Your dog knows how to think for himself and be a team with you.

Now I am still nervous as heck each and every time I enter the ring whether it is conformation, obedience, or rally.  The mistakes made are not those of my dog but my own doing.  To date I have put titles on both ends of  20 dogs and counting.   I play tracking on our property with them and maybe some day we will actually do a trial – who knows.  Right now we have fun.

I have my hobby of breeding, showing, and obedience.  This is so fulfilling for me as a person I can not imagine how anyone can not have the desire to work with their dogs.  The joy and pride is beyond words. The feeling it gives you, as best as I can describe is like a lovely warm hug from a loved one.   I love working with my dogs, you can not get the same feeling of pride unless you are working with your dogs.  I love it when a judge actually looks at my dog and sees the quality, the connection and how very smart they are.

December 2012

Being an owner/handler gives you such a close bond with your dogs.  When it comes time for training in my house I have 11 waiting at the door to go!  They love it!

  • Nicker 1988-2003 and Ginger  1993 – 2004  Vallance-Rautiainen CD CGC
  • Abby Vallance-Rautiainen, CD CGC  1999 – 2003
  • Ch Delamatches Heather’s Bailey, CD, CGN, CGC, RN Am/RN 2000 – 2008
  • Ch Vallance A Poket Miracle, CD, CGN, CGC, Am/Cdn RA
  • Ch Vallance Marvelous Molly, CD, CGN, CGC, RN 2004 – 2011
  • Ch Vallance Its About Tiami, CD, CGN, CGC, RA
  • Ch. Denzil’s Sir William CGNCGC CD, RD
  • Ch Vallance Ripley’s Believe It, CGN CD
  • Ch Vallance Kiya CGN, CD
  • Ch. Vallance All That Jazz, CGN CD
  • Ch Vallance Xtra Time For Erins, CGN CD
  • Ch Vallance Shell Be Cute, CGN
  • Vallance Fast Lane, CGN 1 point shy of her Championship
  • Vallance Ariel Ilusion – catching up fast !!!

A special thanks to those who have trusted me with their precious pups

  • Am/Cn Ch Callas Platinum Perfection CD CGN, RN – Thanks to Jackie Forchuck for sending me Connor. He has done us both proud!
  • Ch Braewood Heather N Sage, CGN – Thanks to Marnie Woods for my girl Sage-bug
  • Ch Ky-Ann’s True Illusion CGN, CD – Thank you Debbie Dorsey for my girl Annie
  • Ch. Crestrail’s N Vallance Whirlwind, CGN – Thank you Eilene White for my girl Wendy
  • Am Ch Pinoak Crestrail Color Me Handsome CGN – Thank you Eilene White and Cheryl Welch for Dallas he has come a long way and still going. 2 points shy of his Canadian Champion
  • S’Posan HLV Magic Spot 2002 – 2003 far too early – my Westminster Dream

Heather Vallance and crew

www.vallancecockers.com

sadsak@shaw.ca