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World Cynosport Rally Board Member of the Week: Janet Gauntt

Meet Janet Gauntt, chair of the WCR Board of Directors.


The World Cynosport Rally (WCR) Board consists of Barbara Burri, Janet Gaunt, Wendy Hilton, Kristen Hurwitz, Casey Lomonaco, Rita Ann Monde, Nancy Reyes, Kim Wilson, and Amy Wukotich. Over the next few weeks, we will be learning more about these folks through in-depth interviews here on the WCR website.

Today we are getting to know Janet Gauntt. Janet is from Columbia, Maryland and currently owns five dogs: Legend, a Border Collie, age 15; Sci-Fi, a Swedish Vallhund, age 12.5; Romance, a Border Collie, age 9;  Sequel (son of Legend), a Border Collie, age 5; and Johnny B. (Goode), a Border Collie, age 2. In her non-dog life, she is a computer programmer who designs and implements software that controls large scale manufacture of things like refined petroleum products, speciality chemicals, food, drugs, and so on. We asked Janet a few questions about her experiences in rally and more.

Janet Gauntt and Sequel. Photo courtesy of Olivia Crawley.

Brenna Fender: How long have you been involved in rally? 

Janet Gauntt: I decided about three years ago to try rally. My introduction to dog sports was in AKC competition obedience with my Sheltie, Blossom, about 32 years ago. I put UDs [high level AKC obedience titles called Utility Dog] on first Blossom and then Lacey and was about halfway through Lacey's OTCH [Obedience Trial Championship] and had just finished her son Merlin's CDX [Companion Dog Excellent, an intermediate title] when agility came along.  I gave up first one obedience trial to go to an agility trial instead, then another, then... I noticed I hadn't been to an obedience trial in over a year and hadn't missed it at all. 
 
Although I didn't miss the trialing (long days of sitting there waiting for your one or two turns watching the same exercises in the same order), I've always enjoyed the training so every dog I've owned since then (first more Shelties then an unintentional switch over to Border Collies) has been trained to the point that I'm confident I could easily get CDXs on them.  All of my dogs (and me!) enjoy working the "doodling" exercises I'd learned to work with Lacey while I was refining her performance to pick up OTCH points.

When rally came along, I didn't jump on it at first (too busy with agility and flyball), but then something must have piqued my interest further, because I picked up the rulebooks for a couple of different rally organizations and went through them. I recognized that this was a fun way to chain together the doodling exercises, so I picked what looked to be the most fun-yet-challenging version of the sport (APDT) and set myself a goal of attending a trial and picking up some qualifying legs using the information in the rulebook and a DVD (Ready to Rally). 
 
The first problem was finding some weekend(s) that I was free (I'm an active agility competitor and judge) so I solved that problem by inviting a local APDT rally group to hold their trial at the same location as a USDAA agility trial I organize. I had fun at those trials (and qualified!), so I'm actually now allocating some weekends to rally instead. One side benefit to this is that the extra heeling practice I do to prepare for rally comps turns out to be extremely useful in Snooker classes (resulting in Agility Top Ten rankings two years in a row in Snooker) and I love using rally exercises to warm my dogs up before we going into the agility ring.

What other dog sports do you participate in? 

I'm very active in agility as you can tell from the above. I've also become quite interested in herding in the last coupl

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