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Rally World Championships -- Champion Profile Tena Parker

Tena Parker and Rio took 3rd place in the Level 3 Division.

Rally Competitor Profile: Tena Parker

1.   How did you get started in rally?

It was really a chance encounter. A friend of a friend (and an online acquaintance of mine) is an APDT/WCRL Rally-O judge and she was coming to my city to judge a trial. I didn't know much about Rally but wanted to meet this online friend in person, so, since both of my dogs had solid obedience skills, I decided to just sign up and give it a go! I read the rule book, familiarized myself with the Level 1 signs and pretty much hoped for the best (my expectations were quite low!)! My older dog, Shayne, loved every minute of it and was obviously enjoying herself in the ring. Rio, my younger dog, scored well, but did not particularly love the game (he eyeballed all the agility equipment in the building wanting to play that game instead), so he took a break from rally after that first trial until he told me he wanted to play the game again.

[Here's a video link to our first trial] 

2.    How long have you been active in rally?

I've been competing in Rally for about three-and-a-half years with both dogs, but we only trialed a few times a year until 2015 when I put a concentrated effort into trialing as often as I could (knowing that I was expecting a puppy in 2016 and would not get to trial as much).

3.    What are some of the challenges you have faced in fitting rally training and competitions into your schedule and how did you overcome them?

I do not work a typical nine to five job and although I control my schedule, I am often working weekends and significantly more than the normal 40-hour work week. Although we definitely do not train the way we should and are not always well-prepared, I do make time to trial even if I struggle to make time to practice. I will say that if I have friend going to a trial, I am significantly more likely to send in my premium. Peer pressure is how I overcame those challenges or maybe it is my joy of socializing with good friends and good dogs.

4.    What do you do during your daily work life?

I am actually a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and own a training business, Success Just Clicks Dog Training, in Pittsburgh, PA.

You know the old saying, that the cobbler's kids have no shoes? I can attest to its accuracy. After working all day with dogs and their handlers, I definitely am not terribly motivated to work my own!

5.    Tell us a bit about your dog(s)?

Shayne is a nearly 11-year-old Border Collie mix who I adopted when she was 10 months old from a local shelter. She came to me with a laundry list of behavior problems that we worked through over the years and she has turned into a fantastic dog, excellent competition partner, and a fantastic employee for my business (doing demos, presentations, and acting as a helper dog with clients). She has always been a drivey, serious, and intense little dog (on the outside, and a total mush on the inside). Although she's older, I still frequently get asked if she's a puppy (and to the woman who asked me if she was a puppy at the Championship, thank you, it makes my heart flutter that she still looks and acts like a puppy to other people!)

Rio is a six-and-a-half-year-old Australian Cattle Dog/Whippet mix who I adopted at four months old from a New Jersey rescue. He has been everything I ever wanted in a dog and much, much more. He is a great worker, crazy smart, completely willing to do anything and try anything, and incredibly athletic. He competes in agility, rally, and canine disc (not as often in any of these as I would like but, cobbler's kids). He participates in non-c


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