North Shore Dog Training Blog – Competitors of various levels from all over the Northeast attacked, bit, and leaped around a course in Boxford for the first Patriot Ring Club French Ring Trial in Boxford, MA on Aug. 7 and Aug. 8.
And their owners had fun, too.
Credited with helping to expand the sport in New England, the French Ring Trial, sponsored by Scott Williams and Beyond the Leash, featured a range of competitors from the beginners to the highly skilled. However, competitors all showed their dedication to canines and the protection sport that tests a dogs instinct to bite, their ability leap and climb, and their overall obedience.
And dog trainer Scott Dunmore, who recently began practicing French Ring with his Malinois Vollie, said that obedience is always hard to maintain when your dog is excited about the attack.
“That’s the biggest challenge – control is the issue,” said Dunmore. “It’s definitely one thing to have control in your backyard, but it’s much harder during a trial.”
However, French Ring requires both the dog and the owner to be at the top of their game. The wrong command or just saying a command too many times will be of detriment to your team. Too much praise for you canine won’t help either.
PA resident Rick Rutt took his dog up to Boxford to compete in the French Ring trial. Rutt is also the president of the newly formed American Ring Sport Federation, a US organization governing French Ring that began in 2009.
Rutt said the ARF matches the strict set of rules and requirements that can be seen among trials in France, where the sport began. He said that the Patriot Ring Club trial was well-rounded showing of talent.
“I think there’s a good mix,” said Rutt about the range of ability in the competitors during the two-day trial.
Rutt said there is a clear sense of unity in French Ring when you can see that the dogs and owners enjoy themselves no matter how skilled they are.
“The thing that makes this sport great is when you have people that are doing it for fun and people that are experts,” said Rutt. “Everybody’s there for the sport and the dogs.”
Once a canine competitor passes a temperament test required to enter a trial, the dog can compete through three different “Rings” or levels of exercises.
The protection sport features significant biting exercises and therefore requires the use of decoys, or men in protective suits that can take a dog bite.
Decoy Ian Gresh, of Cape Cod, began working as a decoy for French Ring just six months ago. Gresh said there are many attributes that make a decoy effective – some more obvious than others.
“I guess you have to have a high pain tolerance,” Gresh said as he cooled off in the shade following a run with the last canine competing.
But he said that decoys must be in good physical shape. He said dogs can be running at speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour when attacking and you must know how to move in order to avoid injury.
“If you don’t bend your leg right, you can snap your ACL,” said Gresh.
He also added that you definitely need to love it.
“You have to have a big heart for it,” said Gresh.
For the trial, Williams flew in a French Ring judge from France, Pierre-Yves Secretain. Hailing from Normandy, France, Secretain said that competitors were up to snuff.
“It’s a very nice trial,” said Secretain. “I see very good dogs today.”
Final scores are below: