A Study in Perfection
by Ellen Mantel Pfann – German Shepherd Dog Review / July 2015
In a sport where it is a big accomplishment to pass a class and perhaps earn a title, every Obedience Team has one thing in common: each one of us steps into the Ring with a Perfect 200 Score. Deductions can start as early as teams cross the threshold. A touch to the collar prior to the start of the ﬁrst exercise or a happy bark could cause an immediate deduction. Most never expect perfection. Obedience is hard, after all.
And there are also Obedience Judges that will tell you they will never give out a 200 score, because there is no such thing as perfection. In a class where teams are in the ring, 5-8 minutes each, there is always a crooked front or sit, a go out too close to ring gating or a handler error as seemingly insigniﬁcant as moving a head from center to left before a ﬁnish command.
But in January of this year, two GSD Teams earned Perfect 200 Scores. Kristin Jones and 2014- Obedience Victrix OTCH Heka Shining Brightly Vom Mika-Ashmead UDXG 0M9 GN GO V ER TD earned their Perfect Day at the Chattahoochee English Spring Spaniel Club of Greater Atlanta out of Open B under Judge JJ Ham. Luann Vuckson and Rite of Honor Vom Kraftwerk BN RN cracked the 200 ceiling at the Nashville Dog Training Club’s Trial from the Beginner Novice Class, also under I] Ham. Later in March. this team won the Rally Novice Class at the 2015 AKC Rally National Championship at Purina Events Center, St. Louis MO.
Kristin Jones shares her experience:
I knew that Heka and I had a nice class — it felt really good from the moment we stepped in the ring. Her heeling was picture perfect and she was working her fronts. She was crisp. She was clean. She was ON. When we were getting ready for group stays, I asked a friend to help me prepare – and I even told her that I felt like Heka and I had a really nice run and I didn’t want to blow it on a broken stay. I wasn’t thinking 200 — since I can’t see the halts or finishes I assumed we might have lost maybe a 1/2 point or point somewhere along the way. But I still knew we were going to have a nice score if we held our stays. Fortunately. we made it through stays and not long after Judge Ham called the qualiﬁers back in the ring for the pinning of the class. I couldn’t wait. But I never in my wildest dreams expected what was going to happen.
After the traditional thanking of the stewards, Judge Ham wasted no time in getting started. “In Obedience, a perfect score is 200,” he said. And continued “And today the German Shepherd got one.” I was stunned and speechless and immediately started to cry… tears of joy, of excitement, of pride in my amazing girl Heka. The moment was made even more special by the fact that l was in Atlanta, where I had lived and trained and showed from 2004—2010, surrounded by many friends.
Training and showing with Heka has been such a privilege. She and I have achieved every single dream I dreamed for us in AKC Obedience. OTCH, Obedience Victrix, the National Obedience Championship. And yet, although I train to be to as close to perfect as we can be, I had never dared to dream of earning a perfect 200. Heka and I had been close several times, but 200’s are elusive. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect “cherry on top” to Heka’s incredible obedience career than to join that elite and exclusive 200 Club. To this day I still tear up when I think about the moment and of the very special dog with whom I shared it.
Luanne Vuckson Reports: January 25, 2015 was a very rewarding day! Honor is just getting started in obedience and rally competitions. On this day he was all business and his focus was 100%. As we performed our Beginner Novice routine, I was very happy with his effort and precision. I felt he had done well, but I was quite surprised and pleased when Judge Jim Ham announced we had won the class with a perfect 200 score! This day was very rewarding to me because Honor demonstrated the level of teamwork and precision I am striving to achieve with him in the ring. I look forward to our continued journey in training and competition! Congratulations to Kristin and Luanne on a job well done. Our community looks forward to many more outstanding performances.