Posted Nov 15, 2017 at 12:10 PMUpdated Nov 15, 2017 at 9:13 PM
The Seminole Dog Fanciers will host rally obedience and confirmation competitions Thursday and Friday and the Greater Ocala Dog Club will host them on Saturday and Sunday, all at the Greater Ocala Dog Club grounds.
After Sharon Hohenberg had a heart attack four years ago and underwent a four-way bypass, she got a Doberman pinscher as a medical alert dog. Soon, she and her husband, Jared Hohenberg, longtime horse trainers and competitors, turned their focus to training Dobermans.
The medical alert Doberman is named Katie Scarlett Betelges Alexus. She was bred by Debi Cruz of Got My Back Dobermans in Hawthorne. With the addition of dock diving to her repertoire, Katie Scarlett is beginning her third career.
The canine first was trained to alert should Sharon experience heart irregularities. Then, last year the couple entered her in national level rally competitions. The American Kennel Club describes “rally” as a sport where a dog and handler move through a course of 10 to 20 stations as a team in a brisk pace. Katie Scarlett now holds a national second place in Rally Novice.
More recently, Jared Hohenberg has been training Katie Scarlett to chase a soft baton-like lure as she launches into the Ocala Dock Diving pool at the Dogpatch Downs Training and Boarding Center in north Marion County.
The North American Diving Dog Association website calls the sport of canine diving “one of the fastest growing” and lists titles including Dock Distance Diving, with an Elite Division; Air Retrieve, with multiple grabs of a suspended target; and Vertical, based on “highest grab.” The association distance dive records in the Elite class include a Whippet with a dive at 30 feet 2 inches and a Doberman Pinscher diving at 25 feet 6 inches.
A sanctioned pool used in diving events is 21 feet wide by 45 feet long and includes a 40 foot long by 8 foot wide “non-skid” approach dock, the site indicates.
Richard Starks of Dogpatch Downs said he set up the pool as a “thank you” for his customers. He said he intends to hold a variety of events at the pool and therefore has not gotten association sanctioning at the facility.
If you go
What: Seminole Dog Fanciers events Thursday and Friday; Greater Ocala Dog Club events Saturday and Sunday; beginning at 8 a.m. each day
Where: Greater Ocala Dog Club, 10205 NW Gainesville Road, north of Ocala
Spectator cost: $5 per carload per day
Katie Scarlett will compete in December in the Eukanuba North America Diving Dogs National Championship in Orlando. Sharon Hohenberg said the canine regularly runs down a 40-foot-long dock and sails more than a car length into a pool, with some favorite tunes as background music.
“She loves to dive listening to Bon Jovi music,” she said.
Sharon, a former paralegal and judicial assistant in Marion County, and Jared, a certified process server for the 5th Judicial Circuit, own and operate a process serving company. They met in Miami in 1986 while she was riding a jumper horse and he was a trainer. He also competed as a hunter/jumper rider until a hunting accident in 1975 and injuries to his leg led him to pursue training. The two wed in 1989 and moved to Ocala the same year.
The couple also own A’Monde’s Andre Courreges, or Andre for short, bred by Ada Levine, with A’Monde Dobermans of Miami. Andre, who is 18 months old, was named “Best Puppy” in a 2016 Royal Canine event in the working puppy division.
Andre will compete with handler Linda Whitney of Zephyrhills in a Seminole Dog Fanciers event on Thursday and Friday and in a Greater Ocala Dog Club event on Saturday and Sunday, all being held at the Greater Ocala Dog Club grounds at 10205 NW Gainesville Road, Ocala.
Club president Phil Briasco said up to 1,800 dogs will be entered each day during the event. Rally obedience and confirmation competitions will be held daily and will give the public a chance to see “how dogs should be handled,” he said.
Carol and Robert Malec, friends of the Hohenbergs from Miami, were visiting the area Friday and said they also plan to participate in the Greater Ocala Dog Club event this week. They show competitive Papillons, Val, 4, and Jack, 11.
The Malecs retired from law-enforcement careers. Carol also turned to dog training and showing following a horse riding injury. They said they travel nationwide with their award-winning dogs.
“This is Val’s first time in the water,” Carol Malec said as she worked with the small dog in the pool.
Briasco said the cost for spectators to attend the event is $5 per carload per day, and that events start at 8 a.m. each of the four days.
“It’s a fun thing for families,” he added.