Obedience training for your dog really does pay off. No one knows that better than Mt. Helix resident Mark Brown, who along with his French Bulldog, Dylan, are in Tulsa, Oklahoma hoping to win a national competition.
Brown and Dylan are competing in the innaugural American Kennel Club (AKC) Rally® National Competition on Friday, March 15.
This AKC event is equivalent to the Westminster Dog Show for Obedience and Agility. Rally Novice, Advanced, Excellent, and Advanced Excellent classes are offered at this national competition. AKC Rally® combines elements of obedience and agility. The dog and handler move through a course of numbered exercises, all while the handler is communicating with and praising the dog.
Brown and his wife Alethia have been interested in training and obedience since the early 90s. With Mark having already left for the competion, she participated in a Q&A with La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch.
Patch: How long have you lived in Mt. Helix?
Alethia Brown: We actually live on Mt. Helix on the east side, so we’re officially in the county of San Diego with an El Cajon address. We purchased our house in April of 1999, so we’ve lived here 14 years!
Patch: Are you a native? If not, where are you from?
Brown: Mark was born in Kansas, but his family moved here when he was six months old as his dad was in the Navy (since retired).
Patch: How old is Dylan?
Brown: Dylan turned 3 in December of 2012.
Patch: How long have you owned your dog?
Brown: We’ve owned Dylan since he was a puppy. He was born in Oregon and came here to live with us when he was 10 or so weeks old.
Patch: How did you first become interested in dog competitions and training?
Brown: Mark has always been interested in obedience and agility training since we had our first two dogs, Australian Cattle Dogs in the early 90’s. He trained in agility with one of our Australian Cattle Dogs. He and our Bullmastiff, since passed away, obtained an AKC obedience title, and he and two of our French Bulldogs (Dylan included) have received a total of 3 obedience titles. Between Mark and his wife, they have obtained CGC (Canine Good Citizen) titles on their Bullmastiff, Chow/Husky blend and three French Bulldogs. When they return from Tulsa, Dylan and Mark are competing for the 3rd leg of his 2nd Rally obedience title this Sunday at the Del Sur Kennel Club Dog Show at Bates Nut Farm. Mark has also shown and put conformation championship titles on some of our dogs as well.
Patch: How did you know that Dylan was a good candidate for this kind of competition?
Brown: Dylan had a natural knack for obedience that was evident from his first puppy “kindergarten” class. He’s not your stereotypical couch potato stubborn French Bulldog clown. He needs something to do. That combined with his attentiveness to Mark and Mark’s commitment to training made the perfect combination. You can see the smile on Dylan’s face in the one photo where he is going over the jump. He really enjoys it!
Patch: How long have you been working with Dylan to perfect some of the obstacles?
Brown: Mark has been working with Dylan on and off since he was a puppy. Most of the Rally Obedience training they did at home in the backyard as there are few formal classes for it as it is a fairly new competition. Mark has agility and obedience obstacles set up in the backyard.
Patch: Is there anything else you'd like to add, or would want people to know?
Brown: Mark and Dylan competed in obedience at AKC sanctioned dog shows in Southern CA. In order to get a Rally Novice title, you have to complete three legs with at least a score of 70 out of 100 under three different judges. Dylan scored over 90 on all three legs for the title. That was the qualification to be invited to the National Obedience Competition in Tulsa, OK this Friday. It is put on by the AKC and is the obedience/agility equivalent of the Westminster Dog Show. It occurs once a year, and only the dogs with the best scores are invited. It includes competitions for Rally Obedience, Obedience and Agility. The typical breeds you see excelling in obedience are herding breeds, Labs, Goldens, etc. It is unusual to see Non-Sporting breeds, especially French Bulldogs competing and excelling. Dylan is the only French Bulldog of the 89 dogs competing in the Rally Novice National Competition.