February 13, 2019 7:00 am

Dog owners in Winnipeg, Portage, preparing ‘fur’ different kinds of competitions

A dog competes at last year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York, U.S., February 13, 2018.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

It’s a legendary New York dog show, and one Manitoba pet owner is right in the thick of it.

Well, kind of.

Winnipeg’s Trina Gallop is the owner of Bailey, Canada’s No. 1-ranked basset hound, but she’s visiting the Big Apple without her dog to take in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show as a spectator.

“It has been absolutely fabulous,” Gallop told 680 CJOB Tuesday.

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“I’m at a loss for words how amazing it is. I’m not showing, but to be a spectator is just as amazing.”

Gallop said being surrounded by the big stars of the dog world is an incredible experience – one she might be able to repeat one day as a competitor with her own dog.

“To be here, if you get out onto the green carpet in Madison Square Garden, it would be the thrill of a lifetime,” she said.

“Bailey’s got a couple years to mature and come into herself, but who knows what the future holds for her? Maybe she’ll be down here in the next few years.”

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Dogs training at the Portage Kennel Club.

Facebook / Portage Kennel Club

Closer to home, a different kind of dog show is happening this weekend in Portage la Prairie.

The Portage Kennel Club is holding obedience trials Saturday and Sunday – events that spokesperson Tammy Dunbar says are a way for local dogs and their owners to show off their training.

“It’s not like going to be what you see on TV,” Dunbar told 680 CJOB. “It’s not like what you see at Westminster. The dogs are doing different work here. It’s a performance.”

Dunbar said the dogs run through a series of exercises at different levels, from basic skills like walking obediently beside their owners to sitting and standing when they’re told.

“Then you get to the more advanced levels,” she said, “when they do things like scent articles.

“There’s a group of dumbbells and the owner of the dog will put their own scent on one of them. Then the dogs will go out and sort through the dumbbells, hopefully picking up the one with their owner’s scent.”

The competition, she said, isn’t for any dog off the street – although both purebreds and mixed-breeds are allowed to participate.

“Everybody that enters an obedience trial is doing training,” she said.

“There are different training clubs across the province, and so the people are doing training in their own clubs.

“Once they feel they’re ready to face the real ring and have it judged by a licensed obedience judge, they enter one of the trials.”

The trials take place at Fort la Reine School in Portage la Prairie.

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