HTM Skills tests in Belgium

Anne-Marie Kristiansen

Anne-Marie Kristiansen

My name is Anne-Marie Kristiansen and I live in Belgium in the Liège area with my two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

I follow with interest all the news regarding dog dancing on the internet and when I first heard about the new Danish HTM Skills test, I thought it was a brilliant idea.

The tests were so thought through. It seems a great way to guide a dog and handler into the world of dog dancing and give them an understanding as to what this sport is all about and how to build up a flowing routine.

DSC_0071In the dog club C.C.S.Liège, where I train my dogs, we are a group of handlers of all ages – young, children, adults and elderly people, who all come together with one goal: to have a great time with our dogs. It does not matter as much, if we ever get ready for the big championships or the advanced classes. The important thing for us is that we have a wonderful time with each other and our dogs.

DSC_0037But we also have a group of handlers, who really want to be better dog trainers and who enjoy a challenge. This is where the skills tests come into the story.

I asked the Danish HTM committee for permission to translate the test description and use it in out club. We got the ‘go ahead’ and the next week, we were all busy training for the 1st level.

DSC_0153Oh we had so much to do and so much to talk about. I answered lots of questions and the dogs and handlers were busy. So much to consider. Is it easier to teach the dog to ‘shake hands’ if it is sitting on a chair? Can I use an umbrella instead of a cane? Etc.

DSC_0080We had a great time and were ready for the first skills test,which was held on 16th February 2014.

The running order was decided by a random draw and Stark the Sharpei was first dog in the ring. Everyone were very quiet and followed the trial with deep concentration. Stark worked well. He was a little insecure at first, but got it together and finished in flying colours.

DSC_0006Next dog was a Cavalier, who also worked well… and on it went. All of the dogs were fabulous and the handlers felt the excitment of doing great with your canine partner in a competition ring. It was a great experience for all of us. 9 teams completed the test and got a diploma.

DSC_0171At the end of the day, we had coffee and cake and those, who had choreographed a routine, got to perform it as a demonstration round. The perfect way to end a fantastic day.

I am so glad that all of the handlers got to feel the excitement that you feel, when you perform well with your dog. -And to feel the partnership and joy of completing a job together.

Thanks for letting us join you with your skills tests.

Best wishes Anne-Marie Kristiansen

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