A dog owner from Rugby officially has Britain’s most well behaved dog – a sprightly Collie called Levi.
Owner Mary Ray and Levi put on a blinding performance at Crufts earlier this month, with Levi clinching the competition’s obedience competition. The pair also scored more than any other pairs during the World Cup Obedience Competition, although other results meant the England team didn’t win overall, and even performed a whole routine live on Channel 4 on Sunday evening.
Mary was already considered one of the UK’s best trainers, with more awards than any other in 2012. Mary was also runner up in the bitches obedience competition with her dog Foxy.
Speaking after her win, Mary said: “It felt amazing winning and the whole of Crufts this year has been so special.
“I’m lucky to have such a good partner in Levi, who’s obviously a very clever dog. There’s not many others who can do what he does.”
She added that she wasn’t sure how much success she would get this year, despite having a successful 2012.
“I just went to Crufts this year to enjoy myself. I didn’t put myself under any pressure, maybe that’s why it went so well.”
She added: “Before going live on television I just remember taking a deep breath and did my best not to show any nerves. If I did, Levi would have picked up on it and felt nervous himself.”
Daphne Townsend, president of Rugby Dog Training Club (RDTC), said: “It’s fantastic for someone from Rugby to do so well.”
Commenting on the appeal of Crufts and clubs like RDTC, she said: “Many people want pet dogs, but what homes need are well behaved dogs. The appeal of dog training lies in the bond between the owner and the pet – who have to know and trust each other.”
Daphne, who has attended Crufts for the past 21 years, added: “Training a dog properly is a long but rewarding process and benefits not only the owner, but the dog themselves as it often stops their lives becoming boring, and nobody enjoys it when a dog ruins all their furniture because they’re bored.
“Training dogs to competition standard requires some extra commitment as the dog will have to feel happy and comfortable enough to do a routine in a strange environment full of strangers and other dogs.”