Peter and Legend into world championships
A WICKLOW dog handler and his trusty companion will be travelling to Holland next month to compete at a World Championship event for German Shepards.
This is the second year in a row that Roundwood man Peter McKenna has qualified for the world event, which will take place in Tilburg.
He and his dog Legend, who train at Bray Wanderers and OG Waterside in Donabate, are members of GSA Ireland, the national authority for working German Shepherd dogs and part of the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs, or WUSV.
They secured their place in Holland after they came second at the Irish National IPO Trial in Atrim earlier this year. Competitors travelled from Cork, Limerick and Clare to compete and, since then, Legend has passed a rigorous health test which allows him to take part in the international trial in the Netherlands.
At last year’s world event in Meppen, Germany, handled by his co-owner Sinead O’Connor, the tal- ented canine, scored an amazing 94 in tracking, 81 in obedience and 88 in protection, coming 43rd in their first ever world championships and with better points than many ‘hot favourites’ to win the competition.
This time Peter, who handled Legend’s kennelmate Alpha in Germany in 2016, is taking over the reins as part of a team of four dogs and handlers competing for Ireland.
The IPO event is something of a canine triathlon, where dogs compete in the disciplines of tracking, obedience and protection. In the tracking phase, dogs follow a prelaid track up to one-hour old and find articles including small pieces of wood or leather. The obedience portion involves heelwork, retrieving over obstacles and distance control, while the protection phase involves a search and controlled ‘apprehension’ and escort of a pretend ‘criminal’.
The well travelled pooch, who was bred in Belgium, is no stranger to international travel and the pair are making preparations to head to the continent in the next few weeks.
Roundwood’s Peter McKenna with Legend ( Photo: Eddie Brackenridge).