BORDERS handlers will be displaying their skills at the largest dog show in the world next week, writes Sally Gillespie.
Dryburgh Abbey Training Group is to demonstrate good dog manners in a Scottish-themed musical display next Thursday.
Trainer Trudy Davison said: “Everybody’s very excited. It’s a great privilege. This is a big honour for the group and we hope to do the Borders proud.”
The team of 14 will show the skills learned in the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme.
Mrs Davison said: “We are doing it as a demonstration to music. It involves stays, walking in and out of other dogs, road skills, walking off the lead and coming – all the disciplines.
“Our down stays will be in the shape of a saltire, we will be wearing tartan sashes and we are doing our demonstration to Scotland the Brave.”
It’s the second time the club has put on the display of obedience at Crufts, having first performed at the famous dog show in 2000.
Mrs Davison said: “It’s quite an honour for a small club from the Borders to be invited back again. It’s been a lot of hard work getting it together as a demonstration and we are still practising. We started building up ideas back in October and we started consolidating them in January.”
The team ranges in age – the youngest is 10-year-old Sarah Kirk who is taking her one-year-old Jack Russell, Pip, with whom she does obedience and agility. And she’s making the trip to Birmingham with her grandmother, Miriam Foran, who will be taking her Jack Russell, Eddie.
Mrs Davison and her daughter, Robyn Hodgson, will be the only two making a return visit following the 2000 display.
And four of the canine team are rescue dogs.
“All the dogs are superb, they have all been chosen because they will cope with lots of people and noise,” said Mrs Davison.
The group meets on Mondays at Tweedbank Community Centre and has been involved with the Good Citizen Dog Scheme since its inception in 1991.
“It was devised to give owners a good knowledge of how to look after their dogs, train and socialise them, as well as knowing how to deal with their dogs around people and other dogs,” said Mrs Davison.
The rest of the team are – Melanie Fleming with Bichon Frise Bella, Susan Price with Cocker Spaniel Max, Janet Quinn with Springer Spaniel Holly, Michael Dodds and his daughter Shauney with working sheepdogs Dee and Gale, Maureen Cuthbert with working sheepdog Ame, Fiona Watson with Border Collie Floss, Dave Firth with Labrador Zak, Sandy Walker with crossbreed Taz and Glynis Sawyer with Bernese Mountain Dog Peggy.