Victory Hulett interview on Obedience Dog training - Part 2

In our continuing series of talks with various members of Team Momentum, here is a very fascinating read from the area of obedience. This is part 2 of a two-part series of interviews with Victory Hulett.

Victory is an obedience trainer who has an exceptional obedience dog named “Reign”. Reign began showing at 15 months old and received his Obedience Trial Champion title at 21 months of age. He has won numerous titles including: the 2013 and 2014 American Kennel Club’s #1 All Breed and #1 Herding Dog (OTCH points); 2013 and 2014 Purina Pro Plan Show Dog of the Year Award – Top Obedience Dog of The Year, earning 1003 Obedience Trial Champion points.

Dr. Tim: What is your feeding schedule as you train and prepare for an event? That is, what is the timing in relation to the event and afterwards?

VH: I keep my feeding schedule very consistent. I feel it allows me to know how far I can push my dog in competition and allows me the knowledge as to when I will need to re-energize my dog with additional food for long intense competitions. As to the timing, it is important to note that I only feed Dr. Tim’s (Momentum); a lesser quality would make a difference. Breakfast is generally around 6 am; 1/2 cup of food, followed by rest for digestion, and then competition starts at 8 am. At the end of each class or competition, I will give 1/4 cup of food as a reward, and at the completion of each class, and as fuel for his mind and body. Keep in mind I could compete 4 to 8 times in one day (I have been at trials for 12 hours), depending upon which trial I’m participating in. I end the day with his normal 1/2 cup of food.

Dr. Tim: Do the dogs know they are competing? Do they know they do well?

VH: Most certainly,Yes! They know!  Reign is known for his love of obedience and the second he walks in the ring he is excited to be there. When the placements are called and I step out, he knows he is the center of attention and puts on a show. If I may add; as the handler, I am committed to ensuring that my dog thinks he is a winner no matter what happens. If something doesn’t go well I’ll deal with that in practice.

Dr. Tim: How to you get all those dogs to behave as a group?

VH: The group “Stay” exercise is very difficult and stressful. Each dog needs to have enough confidence in their handler to trust they will not be left in a dangerous situation.

Dr. Tim: What drives you to continue competing in this endeavor?

VH: I continue because of the bond created with my dog, as well as the beauty of the flawless performance of the team.

Dr. Tim: For the person at home with a dog - how do they start to determine if their dog might be one for obedience competition?

VH: A professional trainer could evaluate your dog or puppy, or you could watch for a few of the following clues. Is my dog a social butterfly? Is my dog comfortable everywhere we go? Does my dog enjoy learning tricks? Does my dog enjoy fetching? And finally, is my dog bouncing off the walls wanting to play? The last one is my favorite!

Dr. Tim: Thank you for a wonderful interview, Victory. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Victory Hulett: There are many levels of obedience competition; no matter your skill level, there is a place for you and your dog. Find a good trainer, and you are able to connect with and fall in love with the sport!