Dedicated dog trainer to compete at Crufts

Hannah Butters with her dogs Minnie, Dasy, Tally and Willow.
Hannah Butters with her dogs Minnie, Dasy, Tally and Willow.

Hours of hard work have paid off for a dedicated dog trainer, as she has qualified for Crufts for the third time.

Hannah Butters, from Felton, and her five-year-old Labrador Tally have been selected for the Northern Regional Team.

Hannah and Tally

Hannah and Tally

The squad will compete against six other regional teams in the KC Rally competition at the prestigious dog show, which starts next week.

The 22-year-old has competed at Crufts twice before, having qualified for agility events with her spaniel, Daisy.

But this year’s event will be the first time she has taken part in the rally competition.

Hannah, 22, said: “I love dogs and I am really happy to have qualified for Crufts.

“I spend a lot of time training dogs, so qualifying for Crufts is the icing on the cake.

“Tally is happiest when she is training and loves doing rally and she loves to please me.”

KC Rally is a sport which involves you and your dog working as a team to navigate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform.

It is a sort of obedience exercise obstacle course which gets progressively more difficult as the dog progresses up the levels and require hours of practice.

There are six levels in rally and Hannah is representing the Northern Region in the Level 5 competition on the opening day of Crufts.

Hannah has been trained by Sharon Dunn, an instructor at the Northumberland Canine Centre, near Felton.

Sharon, from Alnwick, works her own German shepherd dog, Milo, in Level 6 at rally competitions and due to her many successes in rally throughout the UK, was selected as trainer for the Northern Regional Team, which is a huge accolade.

The nine-strong team has been meeting for training sessions in Oldham over the past few months and members are ready for their big day.

Hannah has competed very successfully in many other dog activities including agility, working trials and flyball, but is concentrating on her rally training at the moment.

Hannah joined the North Northumberland Dog Training Club when she was 13 years old and now has four dogs of her own.

She says she loves the camaraderie of the club and has made some great friends.

Hannah also now runs a successful dog walking business around the Felton area, called Hannah’s Happy Paws.

Jacquie Hall, instructor and proprietor of Northumberland Canine Centre, and chairman of North Northumberland Dog Training Club, is wishing Hannah well at Crufts.

She said: “Hannah is a wonderful asset to our training club and classes and is hugely popular.

“She is an absolute pleasure to train, doing exactly what is asked of her without question and she works really hard.

“The great results with all of her dogs show just how hard Hannah works and how dedicated she is to her training.

“We will be there in force to cheer her on at Crufts.”

Crufts is described as the world’s greatest dog show and runs from next Thursday to Sunday, March 11.

Staged at the NEC Birmingham, it features unique dog events, competitions and the world famous Best in Show. For details, www.crufts.org.uk