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Antinol® Salutes Rally Contributor Sandi Ver Spril

First trial in 2001 started love affair with rally.

Sandi Ver Sprill started working with dogs when she was nine years old and her mother bought a Shetland Sheepdog named Fella. Two years later, another Shetland named Creekview’s Fancy Free (“Fancy”) joined the family for Sandi to train herself. She spent her childhood training and showing the family dogs in obedience and conformation, including earning the Utility Dog title with Fancy.  

Sandi spent many years teaching others and ultimately opened her own school, the Golden Rule School for Dogs (Andover, N.J.). Inspired by her mother, who was the training director of a dog club in Cape May, N.J., Sandi believes there is no one way to train every dog but that every dog can be trained in some way. Her focus on each individual’s needs led her to teach and compete in obedience, rally, agility and nosework. 

Early days of Rally O

“When Rally O (Obedience) started in 2001 under the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and held the first trial in Ellenville (N.Y.), I was there to watch and fell absolutely in love with it,” Sandi said. “My Golden Retriever, Nash, and I earned our first title a year later and decided that rally was the best. He enjoyed my verbal encouragement and praise throughout the course, and I always felt that rally keeps your mind sharp with its signs.” 

After NashSandi Ver Sprill and Wilson ARCHMX 500 earned his ARCHEX title in 2005, Sandi came up with the idea of the ARCHMX (10 triple Qs in all three levels). “APDT approved it and it was a go,” she explained. Sandi now has seven ARCHMX titles on seven dogs, including a Jack Russell named Wilson, who just earned his in September 2022.  

“I love WCRL rally,” Sandi said. “I feel it’s a perfect fit for new handlers to start off with. Level 1 being on leash makes my students very comfortable entering a trial, and the Level 1 Championship also is a game changer with them wanting to continue and work towards the Level 2 Off Leash class. The exhibitors are all so helpful and encouraging, and it’s such a great show environment. The new Flash program has also been the talk of my training classes since it’s always fun to have a new approach to training.” 

Sandi added, “My mother always said, ‘Don’t complain about your dog; train your dog!’ And my advice to anyone who wants to get involved is: Decide what you want to achieve. You can’t succeed in this sport by putting in only half the effort, and your dog will only try their best if you do.”

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