A Mondioring trial in Lake County-- Dr. Seuss theme! What's not to love about a genuine Who from Whoville wearing a bitesuit getting taken down in front of an artificial Christmas tree?! Great job on the props, Competitive Canine. Note the handsome murals that somebody put a LOT of time into!

Leerburg-famous Michael Ellis was there, as well as some of his students. I believe his dog Shrike got a Mondio II title, despite having some difficulty deciding whether to guard the handler or escort the decoy away by the crotch. Leerburg has a video compilation of the event.

There were some hilarious moments, lots of drama and a bit of heartbreak. Most of the dogs were Belgian Malinois but there was an unusual breed participating alongside the shepherds. Apologies to the lovely animal, I don't discriminate well between bully breeds. In Redding we would call her a “big pit bull”.

We noticed that it was common to see the dogs called off the decoy casting around on the field, searching the bystanders for their handler, who was only allowed a single command to recall them. Sharon J commented that a habit of standing very wide-legged or distinctly when recalling your dog helps them distinguish you among the humanoid-shapes. Good tip, it's really embarrassing when I call my dog and she runs to the nearest female my height. I wonder if wearing a hat has a similar effect. Maybe that's why Michael Ellis wore his hair so weird. Well, it was a Dr. Suess theme.

I was cheered by the fact that every dog had a different heeling position-- and some were far more in advance of the handler than I allow my dog. Although there are style points, Mondio rules only require the dog to be within 1 meter of the handler.

One exercise I didn't like was when the decoy grabs the handler's torso. The dog is supposed to attack based on the contact, without any further cue from the handler. I could see this being a problem in "real life" if you get a hug from somebody in a bulky coat. Bethel people: reign in your hugging-habit if there's a dog next to your target.

Mondioring has an "obedience only" title for dogs that don't do bitework. It's quite friendly in that way towards the larger demographic of dog owners. Mondio obedience is less stylistic than AKC obedience: more about function than looks. The exercises are heeling, retrieve, owner absence, food refusal, distance lay/sit/stand, jump (your choice of long jump, palisade, or regular jump) and what I think is the hardest, the send-out.

Dakonic Photography album of this event

Read more about protection work in the Sports & Work pages