Written by Kaitlyn Johnson
Hello, my name is Kaitlyn Johnson. I am 13 years old and I love to do obedience with my dog Poirot! Poirot is a rough collie also known as Travlers Orient Express. He turned a year old in December. Poirot was given to us by our friends Candy Ardizzone and Becky Tehon. Poirot was bred by Karyn Louie Convertini and Candy Ardizzone. He traveled all the way from California to live me in New York! He was 4 months old when he came to live with us and I have been working with him since we got him. I have been doing Junior conformation handling in AKC for 4 years with our smooth collies. Poirot is my first performance dog. He has become a bigger champion every day.
I belong to an amazing dog club in Orleans County New York called the 4H Heelers. We practice with our dogs every Thursday for at least an hour, sometimes two. At the meetings we do obedience, rally, conformation and agility when the weather is nicer. There are 4 dog clubs in Orleans county and ours has 16 kids in it. So our fair is very competitive! This year at the Orleans County Fair we placed first in obedience and fourth in rally. Poirot was only 7 months old and competing against much older dogs. I was very excited to qualify for the New York State Fair his first year competing! We even won a Grand Champion in obedience! So we decided to move on to bigger events…
In November Poirot and I went to a United Kennel Club show. There were 3 shows in 2 days and together we earned his Rally Obedience (RO1) title. He placed 1st in two of the classes and 2nd in the third with scores of 94 and 93!! This weekend we also won 2 UKC Best Junior Handler awards and a Group 4 placing in the Open class. He also qualified for his Canine Good Citizen at this show.
In December we competed at the AKC Cleveland Classic show in Ohio where he qualified for his last leg in obedience and took second in the class! Poirot now has his Beginner Novice title and I am very proud of him for earning it in only 4 shows.
I am so happy and thankful for how far I have gotten over the years. I love talking to people ringside so I can pick up helpful ideas. I also like listening to other handlers’ horror stories with their dogs in the ring! Everyone loves Poirot and is always routing us on. I can’t wait till Poirot is old enough to compete in agility!! We have taken a few Beginner classes with Della Sliker and we have SO much fun! We have also done a few classes at Harmony Dog Training. We now have a dumbbell and he loves it! Our funniest competition moment so far was when he passed his CGC test. The distraction was a skull Halloween decoration that looked like a phone. The eyes glowed red and it spoke with an evil voice. Poirot just turned his head sideways and poked it with his nose.
Poirot is not only my dog, he is my best friend! When we're bored we sit on the trampoline in the back yard and watch the lights move across the sky from town. When it’s time for bed he hogs my whole bed and sleeps with all four feet in the air! He is such a good dog that it’s hard to remember he is still a puppy! That is until he plays with Kazi, his German Pincher dog friend, and they do zoomies around the hotel room. I am so excited to see how far I can go with Poirot!
I would like to thank the following people for helping me along the way...
Jacky Gingerich for introducing us to the AKC world. If she didn’t get us out traveling with her to the shows we wouldn’t have been brave enough to go! I also want to thank my 4H leader Lindsey Frasier for making dog training fun! Thank you to Karen Drumm and Esther Cassatt for fine tuning us for the competition ring. And a huge thank you to Travler Collies, Candy Ardizzone, Becky Tehon and Bree Ardizzone for sharing Poirot with me.