Our Featured Leo



Ch. KUMNC Myles of Birchbark RE CD DD CGN TT HIC VC RATI
Certified St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog

Herding Instinct Certified, Leonberger Club of Ontario Versatility Award, Certified St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog, Barn Hunt/RATI

Loved by: Kim and Sonya Birch

DOB – September 1, 2008        Breeder – June Ward, KUMNC Kennel

Myles recently celebrated his 6th birthday and we wanted to share some of his many accomplishments with everyone. As we have always been involved in the dog show world, we started out by showing Myles in Conformation. Myles earned his Canadian Kennel Club, Championship designation in just 18 months. He might have completed his championship sooner had it not been for a shaved patch of fur (hot spot) that kept him out of the show ring for a few months.

Myles currently holds his RE (Rally Excellent) designation as he has been very successful with Rally Obedience. Rally, as it is known, consists of owner and dog navigating a set course of posted signs under the watchful eyes of a judge. The handler must work with the dog to complete the steps identified on each sign as they make their way through the course. In order to complete the entry level and achieve a Rally Novice designation, dog and handler must complete the course successfully 3 times, earning a “leg” with each successful completion. After earning his Rally Novice title (RN), Myles has since earned the additional titles of Rally Advanced (RA) and Rally Excellent (RE) by completing additional courses of increased difficulty. Myles and Sonya are now working on Myles RAE designation which involves successful completion of 10 legs at the Excellent level.

Also in the Obedience category, Myles holds his CD (Companion Dog) designation. To earn a CD title, the dog must obey a series of commands from the owner (heel, down stay, sit stay, etc. ) as directed and monitored by the judge. Like the Rally Obedience titles, dog and owner must successfully complete the trial 3 times to earn the CD designation.

Draft Dog – As our breeder, June Ward, is an accredited CKC Draft Judge, we started out by attending some of the “fun” carting workshops that are offered by the Leonberger Club. June had all of the necessary equipment and harnesses for us to give it a try. Myles and Sonya quickly took to this to the point where we had a harness made for Myles and actually purchased our own draft cart. To earn the DD title, dog and owner, with harness and cart properly hooked up, must successfully complete a series of judges commands in the ring. Following the ring exercise, the owner must load the cart with a set number of objects while the cart is hooked up to the dog.  Owner, dog and loaded cart must then successfully navigate a pre-set course with the exercise being completed when the cart is unloaded and the dog unhitched. As with a number of other CKC designations, this title is earned by successfully completing 3 legs. Myles and Sonya will be working on the DDX designation (Draft Dog Excellent) in 2015.

Myles has also earned his CGN (Canine Good Neighbor) title. This is accomplished when dog and owner complete a series of basic obedience and temperament exercises as directed by the CGN evaluator. Many dog owners begin their basic dog training with this type of evaluation; it’s fun, it’s not too complicated and it’s a great place to start!

How about Scenting? Sonya and Myles had taken some scenting workshops with Sonya’s Swansea Obedience Club earlier this year. It turned out to be a blessing that they had! This summer we looked after our daughter’s 2 Redfoot Tortoises while they were in the process of moving. Ann and Fran are quite large, easily 12 inches across and weighing in at close to 10 lbs each.  While at the cottage, we had placed both of them under a shady tree in one of those hard plastic “kiddie pools”, the sides are about 16 inches high. It seems that Ann was able to climb on the back of her sister Fran and escaped the pool. When we realized she was missing, we were distraught. Where could she be? How long had she been gone? 6 of us immediately got busy scouring the area looking for some trace of Ann. Sonya called Myles and said “Find Ann Myles”, Myles started running and found her in less than 2 minutes about 200 yards away from the pool. She was all hunkered down under some bushes and in close to a fence. I’m pretty sure that without Myles’ help, we may not have been able to find Ann on our own. But that’s not the end of the story – several weeks’ later, we were again at the cottage and had placed Ann and Fran in their pool under the shady tree. This time we thought we would surround the pool with an ex-pen as no tortoise can climb over that! Unfortunately, we failed to insure that the door of the pen was locked at the top and the bottom. As only the top was locked, you guessed it, Ann pushed her way under the door and disappeared once again.  I have to say, when you look around and can’t see the tortoise, you really don’t know where to begin to search. There are bushes, trees, fence lines, buildings to get under, things to hide behind – she could be just about anywhere. As they are both over 30 years old, we were very concerned as they really would not be able to survive on their own. Myles to the rescue!! Sonya called Myles and said “Find Ann Myles” and off he went. We started by looking in the same place we had found her previously, but with no luck. However, within 5 minutes, Myles had located her in an entirely different area than were she had gone the last time. Twice Myles had located her by scent, as we had no idea where she was, there was no opportunity to “direct” Myles to the right area.

Myles also exhibits some herding instinct. The Leonberger Club of Ontario has regularly hosted Herding Instinct evaluations. Myles has taken part in both an LCO evaluation as well as a Herding Instinct workshop at Tea Creek Farm in Niagara. He certainly did a great job herding the sheep around the ring without showing aggression. Both were fun activities and provided great opportunities for us to work with our dog.

Myles and Sonya also took part in a Temperament Test in September. This type of test is designed to evaluate the actual temperament of your dog and its reaction in a variety of different situations conducted in a series of short tests. Myles passed the test and received his TT Award Certificate for successfully completing the exercise.

Something new we started this year is Barn Hunt. This is an exercise conducted in a closed ring with bales of hay and a rat (safely) sealed in a container and hidden in the bales of hay. There are a total of 3 containers hidden away in the ring – one is empty, one holds soiled rat bedding (for scent) and the 3rd container holds the rat. The idea is that the owner and dog enter the ring and the dog is timed in how long it takes to locate the rat. The owner is to tell the judge when the dog has found the “correct” container with the rat. Identifying an incorrect container (the empty one or the one with rat bedding) is a fail. I can’t begin to tell you how excited Myles gets when he competes in these events. He loves it!

If all of this wasn’t enough, with Myles being such a gentle dog, we wanted to share him with others, so we investigated what is involved to become a St John Ambulance therapy dog. The process is really quite simple – connect with your local St John Ambulance office and ask about their future evaluation testing dates. You will be invited to attend a St John Ambulance introductory session and you and your dog will be scheduled to attend an evaluation session where a series of short interactions with you and your dog will determine if your Leo is a suitable therapy dog. Since graduating as a Certified Canine Therapy Dog, Myles visits the residents of the Malton Long Term care facility in Mississauga every Thursday evening.  In addition, we also take part in St John Ambulance activities with Myles such as the Mississauga Santa Claus Parade and the Streetsville Bread & Honey Festival.

Myles has also completed all of the requirements to earn his Versatility Companion Certificate (VC) from the Leonberger Club of Ontario and he received this award in June of 2010. He is currently working towards completing the requirements needed to earn his Versatility Companion Excellent Certificate (VCE).

The more things we try with Myles, the more activities we find to do. Leonberger’s love to work – the breed is recognized in the Canadian Kennel Club’s Working Class category.  Myles is very much a testament to the versatility and gentleness of the Leonberger breed. What a great ambassador for our breed! We are very proud of Myles and all of his accomplishments; he may very well be the most versatile and awarded Leonberger in the history of the breed in Canada.

So why not get out with your Leo, find something you can try – whatever activity you may choose to pursue, both you and your dog will love it!





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Page Last Updated

April 21, 2010

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Leonberger Club of Ontario

Leonberger Club of Ontario