We’re excited to have Wendy Hilton judging at the event! We put together a short profile with input from Wendy:
Where do you live?
Montara, CA (near San Francisco).
Tell us about your experience with rally either as a judge or competitor or both?
I’ve been competing in various Rally venues for 10 years and have been an APDT/WCRL Rally judge since 2009. I have also been teaching a variety of Rally classes for 12 years.
What types of dogs do you have and what are their names, ages, and any titles?
Sasha is an almost 11-year-old Vizsla. He has multiple Rally titles including ARCHMX4, RLVX, AKC RAE and AKC obedience CDX title. He is also the #1 WCRL Veteran Dog for 2015.
Desi is an eight-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. She has several Rally titles including ARCHEX and RLV.
Tell us something unique or that you love about your dog(s).
Desi prefers “bird Rally” (pointing the birds that land in the Rally ring!). Our outdoor Rally trial location is on a ranch where birds seem to love to hang out. Many times, we have had an entire flock land in the ring while we are competing or sometimes they line up overhead on the power line or sit on top of a sign holder just taunting Desi.
Do you participate in any other dog sports or training with your dogs and if yes, have you found these help you with your Rally work with your dog?
I do a lot of cross training with my dogs but not in a formal class situation due to my crazy schedule. We work on building core strength using things like fitness balls and discs; body and rear end awareness using platforms, stools and cavaletti; Urban Agility or Parkour for balance and to jazz up our walks, etc. All of this is helpful in keeping my dogs fit as they age as well as with a variety of skills needed in Rally.
What do you do in your “other” non-rally life? If you’re retired, or a professional dog trainer/instructor, what did you do before?
I have had a dog training and consulting business, Just Rewards, LLC, since 2004. I teach a variety of group classes, do private training and offer behavior consulting. Before that, I was in the technology world and worked for several large companies as well as start ups in Silicon Valley. I also founded and ran the Northern CA German Shorthaired Pointer rescue for many years.
What events will you be judging at the Rally World Championships?
I’ll be judging various classes at the titling trial and each day of the tournament.
How does it feel to be judging a brand new event for WCRL?
It’s exciting! I’m looking forward to meeting teams from all over the country and judging at this new event. Being the first one, I’m not quite sure what to expect but I know it will be a lot of fun!
Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for your judging duties?
I always reread the rules before a judging assignment to make sure they are all fresh in my mind. I also review my courses and make a note to point out any potentially tricky spots to the competitors during the walk through.
What expectations to you have for judging at Rally World Championships? Do you anticipate any challenges?
There are special tournament course design rules and scoring rules that are quite different from regular trials so we all need to become familiar with them. It’s new for everyone so I anticipate a lot of questions!
What goals and objectives do you have in mind when you are designing a course?
Each level is designed to test certain skills. I want to have a variety of exercises that cover the key skills, is a bit challenging, but is a nice flowing course that moves the team along well.
Do you have any tips or advice for Rally World Championships competitors?
- Read the rules! There are rule changes for the tournament so spend time reading through them so you are familiar with them
- Ask questions! I am always happy to answer any questions competitors have.
- Have fun! If you make sure your dog is having fun, so will you.
Do you have any advice for competitors thinking about doing competing, either at Rally World Championships or local/regional trials, but are intimidated?
I always invite people that are a bit unsure or intimidated to come and watch a trial. It’s one thing to tell them about how our trials work, the fun we have and how helpful everyone is but seeing it in person makes all the difference.