WHEN Maya DeAngelis got her first beagle, Diesel, she had never heard of junior dog handling.
Now the 14-year-old from Cherrybrook is a two-time NSW champion after winning the state finals with her second beagle, Turbo, on July 2.
She credits the many hours of training and playing with her dogs for the success she has had in the junior handling arena.
When Maya is not at training at Castle Hill Showground or Erskine Park, she is playing and training with the dogs at her home.
“Because we have been training them for so long, they now know what they’re doing,” Maya said.
“We have a really good connection so we have been doing it so long together, and we do competitions at least once a week.
“They train once a week, and before any big competition we make sure we brush up on the skills and practice a nice stack.
“The state championships was fun, and I was very happy [after winning the competition].”
Stacking is about placing the dog’s feet in the right position. The other part of dog handling is having the dog move around the ring.
The tasks are designed to prove the showing dog is up to breed standard.
Maya has had Diesel for five years, and Turbo for three. She has trained with them since they were puppies.
She also has a basenji, called Bob, who has also entered events with Maya.
“Most dogs enjoy it, especially Turbo,” she said.
Maya is now waiting for details about the upcoming national championships, which she was unplaced in at the 2016 event.
Winning the Australian title could earn Maya the opportunity to compete at Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show held annually in the United Kingdom.
Maya’s mother, Sanne, said junior dog handling had created “a lot of fun and adventure” for Maya, who sometimes travelled for shows.