Michigan’s Lihi Ruvio, 17, earned a spot in the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York this May. Aiming for a best-in-show title, Ruvio will be showing Sage, a 3-year-old gray female Italian Mastiff.
Despite being in her teens, Ruvio is a seasoned dog handler who started participating in dog shows at the age of 10. According to a Detroit Free Press article, she made her debut at the United Kennel Club show in Whitmore Lake with Allora, a 110-pound gray Italian Mastiff, and won best-in-show in the same event.
Allora is now a veteran at 11 years old. Sage, the dog who will be competing alongside Ruvio at Westminister, is relatively new to the show circuit. Despite this, the newcomer is proving to be a showstopper, and she’s collected a few titles of her own to prove it. Sage is also a therapy dog and an intermediate-level trick dog that can perform routines.
Preparing for dog shows is no walk in the park. Ayalla Ruvio, Lihi’s mother and the owner of Black Pearl Cane Corso Kennel, understands that dogs the size of Italian Mastiffs need to be well-behaved. As such, the Ruvios start training and disciplining their dogs the moment the pups open their eyes. They participate in shows so that the canines can get used to being in the ring and the stresses that come with the experience.
Ayalla Ruvio attributes her daughter’s successes in the ring to how Lihi makes the dog happy and lets the dog have fun. Lihi admits to having pre-show jitters, but she’s keen on owning the ring once the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show starts.
Training a Dog Takes a Team
It takes a team to get a handler and a dog to the big stage. But even those who want to train their dogs for ordinary life at home can get a good head start at teaching them basic commands at home.
With patience, consistency, and the right motivational tools, like your canine’s favorite custom dog toys and other pet merchandise dedicated to training, you can help them become excellent at following simple directions. This, in turn, will guarantee them the exercise, mental stimulation, and discipline they need for a happy and healthy life with you.
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