A former stray dog who narrowly escaped being destroyed after he was found wandering the streets of London as a stray, has gone on to win a top competition at Crufts last month.
Jazz, a three year old Malinois Belgian Shepherd Dog, owned by Babs Sharp from Cheltenham, beat over 1,300 other dogs en route to the final of the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Special Pre-Beginner Obedience Stakes competition, before claiming a victory over nine other canine finalists at Crufts.
However, life has not always been so kind to Jazz. She was found as a stray on the streets of London by a local dog warden, and was placed under a seven day destruction order which meant that if she was not claimed within seven days she would be put to sleep. The dog warden recognised her breed as a Belgian Shepherd Dog and contacted a breed-specific rescue organisation, Belgian Shepherd Rescue UK.
When the organisation heard that Jazz, then nameless, was due to be put down, it immediately stepped in to save her, placing her with a foster owner.
Jazz, who was in desperate need of training and socialisation, was taken to a dog agility show with her foster owner and was spotted by Babs Sharp, a 26 year old from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, who approached Jazz’s foster owner to ask to stroke her dog after noticing how charming the nine month-old puppy looked. This led to a conversation which started a process which would end with Babs adopting Jazz and providing her with a loving ‘forever home’.
Due to Jazz’s unhappy past, her behaviour was almost unmanageable and she required intensive training and socialisation to help keep her on track. Babs has spent the last two years working hard to train Jazz, attending regular trainings classes with her at Cheltenham and District Dog Training Club. With commitment and patience, Babs felt that Jazz was ready to begin competing in competitive obedience and she decided to try their luck with the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Special Pre-Beginner Obedience Stakes competition.
Jazz’s owner, Babs Sharp, said: “Jazz’s life has changed so dramatically since she was on the streets, particularly as she was so close to being put down. When I first had her she was completely unmanageable and really couldn’t do anything. She had so much energy but it wasn’t being channelled anywhere which made her difficult to keep under control and she needed an outlet.
“Training became that outlet and she slowly became more and more obedient, thanks to the help from Cheltenham and District Dog Training Club. It’s made her happier and she really is the happiest girl in the world now. She has to be doing something all the time to keep her stimulated and training together has really strengthened our bond.
“When Jazz first came into my life I didn’t realise what a special relationship this would turn out to be. I am so proud of her as we have worked very hard which has enabled us to achieve things we never even dreamed of.”
The finalists competing in the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Special Pre-Beginner Obedience Stakes competition at Crufts beat over 1,300 entrants in fierce competition at 28 heats held across the country, with heat winners then competing against each other to win a top five place at one of four semi-finals held in Edinburgh and London.
The Special Pre-Beginner Obedience Stakes were created to encourage those who had passed their Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme Bronze Award to take part in obedience competition. The exercises included in the test are a combination of current Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme exercises and the Pre-Beginner Obedience test. Building on the basic training skills learnt through the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme, these stakes help to bridge the gap between basic training and entering a competition.
For more information on dog training and the Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme, visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/dogtraining.
You can also help dogs like Jazz through the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. The Trust gives grants to welfare organisations each year to assist with their vital work in helping take care of dogs in need of a new home.