Peter and Leg­end into world cham­pi­onships

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

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).

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