Pet Improvement: Taking it to the highest level

Janice Gunn

Some people know what they are destined for early on. Take Janice Gunn for instance. At the age of 6 she wanted a dog, but they could not have one. So, she starts training the cats, teaching them how to walk on leads.

She then begins to borrow the neighbor dogs and teach them tricks and take them to the local fairs. By then her passion is clearly evident to her parents who understand this is not a phase. They agree to let her get a dog. But for this child there is still a big decision to make.

The choice, a Dalmatian. These dogs were bred to protect people traveling in coaches in England. They work well with horses and are easy to groom. She began showing in Confirmation which is based on the animal’s structure, symmetry and potential for breeding but quickly moved on. Her desire was to train a dog to its intelligence and that is when she discovered Competition Obedience.

By the age of 14 she entered her first event. Obedience is just what the name implies.  It’s how well a dog performs commands, the manners and interactions with others. It entails walking on and off-leash, retrieving and jumping. Obedience is one of the American Kennel Club’s oldest sports originating in the 1930’s. The dogs are scored where 200 is perfect. Her first event she receives a 198. From that point she is hooked and it's now been 46 years.

During this time, she moves from Dalmatians to Labrador and golden retrievers. With Sporting dogs, one must distinguish fieldwork for dogs that find upland game on land, known as bird dogs, such as Pointers, and retrievers. The latter must locate the game on land or water and return it to the handler.

Thus, the focus expands to fieldwork and hunt tests. Janice and her husband John purchased a golden retriever puppy from Washington who was specifically bred for this. Aptly named Stanley Steamer he becomes the most titled golden in US and Canadian history winning on a national level in fieldwork and achieving multiple perfect scores in obedience.  Stanley wins just about every Golden Retriever Club of America field trophy that is offered and lives to almost 16.

Janice and her husband John founded TNT Training Center in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Over the years they have continued to expand and perfect the training techniques. She says that everyone is getting better and improving the style. She works at doing the same. The latest new prospect is a 10-week golden puppy named Seven and we can watch her puppy training tips in this video:

Her advice, dogs enjoy exercise, training, scent work, obedience and agility. Active breeds need lots of exercise. Please make sure you start with a pet that matches your lifestyle. No matter what your pet’s age you can still teach new commands and tricks to stimulate them.

For more information on classes, on-line tutorials and events such as the Alaskan Cruise please visit and sign up for the newsletter.

Jane Laulis is an avid pet lover. She hosts a pet talk radio show and is involved with pets from research to retail, nutrition to pet food manufacturing. She lives on the coast with her scientist husband, ocean-faring dogs, indoor cats, exotic snakes and a charm of hummingbirds. She may be reached at [email protected]


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