Owned and trained by Janice Tan
On May 19th, 2013, at the Oakland Dog Training Club trial, Mozart won the Utility B class with a score of 197.5 and completed his OTCH with 105 points.
Words cannot express how it feels to have gotten here. It has been a long journey . . .
When I adopted Mozart over eight years ago from Border Collie Rescue of Northern California, I could not have imagined this day. At a year old, he had lived his life in a crate, and I highly suspect he had been abused. He could not walk on a leash and he could not handle the lightest verbal correction without completely shutting down. If I swatted at a fly in the house, Mozart would flee the room and not return for hours. For the first few months, he couldn't look me in the eye or focus for even one minute of basic training. He submissively urinated ALL of the time . . . every time anyone (including me) approached him, every time I called him over, every time I put the leash on, every time he heard me raising my voice at one of the other dogs. . . . It was so bad that after a year, I decided to tile the entire downstairs of my house to aid in the clean-up of his submissive urination accidents (which were at least five times a day for the first couple of years).
I didn't think he had the drive or confidence to be a high-level obedience dog, but after my two GSDs retired due to health problems, I started to focus more on Mozart's training. Although it took about five years for the submissive urination to really stop, his confidence and drive slowly started to go up, and in 2010 he became the first dog I had ever trained or showed in Utility.
When we started to show in the B classes in 2011, my intention was to get more experience as a handler, and perhaps be lucky enough to complete a UDX. I really did not plan on going for points. But his second time out in UB, Mozart won a huge class in Vallejo to rack up 20 points on the spot, and I started to think differently about the OTCH.
It has been a long road, but Mozart has continued to surprise and impress me with his amazing spirit and will to please. We have had setbacks, like the time a large dog jumped two sets of baby gates at a trial to charge him in the ring on directed jumping, and a seven month period when I "retired" him after a string of failures on scent discrimination (his most stressful exercise). But our relationship and our trust in each other have grown with each obstacle. He has taught me a lot, and he has proven that there WAS a high-drive, working BC inside of that meek little dog who cowered and peed at my feet eight years ago. I fully believe that he has earned the title "Champion."
Thank you to all of the trainers (Lori Drouin, Lora Cox, Judie Howard, Denise Fenzi, Lynn Kosmakos) who have helped us in our journey, and thank you to all of our friends at ODTC and in the obedience world for their support. Most of all, thank you to the BEST dog I have ever had the honor of sharing my life with--not because he is an OTCH, but because he is the most amazing partner I could ask for.