The New AKC Versatility Companion Dog Titles

(Submitted by Tony Montagano)

Now that the AKC has begun to recognize what a number of dogs have been doing for a few years now, competing in 3 venues of AKC competition, tracking, obedience, and agility. I feel it appropriate to recognize what solid training programs Lincolnwood has had in the past and will continue to have. I feel comfortable in this statement because our dog Xena did earn her VCD1 title in 2001. My wife Kris handled her in the obedience ring earning her UD and did her early tracking training, passing her TD. I competed with 1 bar, Xena, in the agility ring. She always seemed to knock 1 bar, but we did finally earn a NA and NAJ.      

The purpose of this article is to thank all the Lincolnwood members who helped with Xenaís, Krisí, and my training. Going back to the early stages, Kris and Xena, worked in Mary Ann Riekeís obedience classes, developed a sound foundation. I remember well when Xena placed second in her second Novice Obedience trial ever; it was at the Odium in Villa Park. On the drive home we passed LTC and saw Mary Annís car still there on a Sunday. We stopped in and shared our happiness. There were lots of hugs for everyone. Jan Casella played a role in Xenaís obedience training, helping with the open and utility exercises. Paul Wendt, took Kris under his wings, and shared all his years of experience. Kris was working at the hospital at the time and had a crazy schedule. Working every other weekend and some nights, Paul Wendt always was there for Kris, meeting her at LTC, at various times to put her through the exercises. Then of course there was Ralph Sneve who trained Kris and Xena in tracking. Kris always looked forward to Thursday mornings, arranging her hospital schedule to leave Thursday mornings open. When Kris changed jobs, she went to work at Northview Labs and had a wonderful boss (Anne Riba), who realized that tracking came first, then work. I would get a kick out of seeing Kris and Xena head off to tracking in the snow and rain, knowing that if Kris had a choice she would rather be warm and dry. I knew that Ralph Sneve had sparked a strong interest in tracking in Kris. I had the pleasure of training with Ralph a half a dozen times with one of our Border Collies, Indy, who also has a TD. Then of course there is agility. Anne Riba has developed one of the best all around programs in the area. The agility program has many handlers competing at all levels, a number competing or qualifying for various venues of Nationals. When you hear students compare the agility program to some of the more established programs and viewing LTC more positively, or people saying that other programs gave up on us, but you didnít, what more can you say. Thanks to Anne, Xena has earned her NA and NAJ, and this is on a dog that others felt had a jumping problem. Xena has one hip that is borderline.

There are so many experienced dog handlers at Lincolnwood that are willing to share their knowledge, that we should be proud. Letís keep this legacy going, we all need to find ways to give back to the club and the current new members.