Isabelle Loranger and her standard poodle, Storm, are heading to the junior national dog handling championships in Newfoundland in August. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Isabelle Loranger and her standard poodle, Storm, are heading to the junior national dog handling championships in Newfoundland in August. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Chilliwack teen off to Canadian dog handling championships in Newfoundland

Isabelle Loranger and her dog, Storm, are heading to the Canadian Kennel Club’s Junior Handling Nationals

A Chilliwack teenager will be spending part of her summer vying for the Canadian national title for junior dog handler.

Isabelle Loranger, 16, recently won at the Canadian Kennel Club’s B.C. Provincial Junior Handling Competition in Kelowna, and is now getting herself and her standard poodle, Storm, ready for the cross-Canada trip to Newfoundland at the beginning of August.

“I’m really excited,” she says. “It’s going to be cool to compete against my friends and people that I’ve known for quite some time, but it’ll be fun. (The nationals title) can go to anyone. At this point, everyone is very, very good.”

Junior dog handlers can start to compete as young as seven years old, up until they’re 18.

Though Isabelle grew up with dogs, her family was never a show-dog family.

When she was four years old, they got a beagle from a breeder — that’s when she first heard about dog shows. The Victoria-based dog breeder shared her passion for showing dogs with Isabelle, and told her all about what goes into owning and handling a show dog. Young Isabelle was intrigued and whenever the breeder came to Chilliwack for dog shows, Isabelle would tag along to get a firsthand taste of the dog-show life. She loved it.

When Isabelle was about eight years old, her family got a retired show dog which she used for training purposes so she could learn the art of dog-handling. When the time came, at the age of 14, Isabelle became the owner of Storm, then just an eight-week-old puppy.

“He has to be really well socialized because he has to be good for any kind of judges going over him,” explains Isabelle.

To do that, Storm met more than 100 people before he was four months old. She would take him to school yards so kids could meet and pet him. She’d also ask random people who met Storm to check his teeth so he’d get used to people’s fingers being in his mouth.

Along with the socialization came grooming — lots and lots of grooming.

“We would have to do all the grooming in very small increments so it’s always positive and it’s always fun for him. Instead of spending an hour on the grooming table, he would spend six or seven minutes twice a day,” she says.

Now that he’s an adult, it takes nearly all day to bathe and groom Storm. He’s on the grooming table for up to six hours at a time, plus it takes an hour to bathe his waterproof coat. He’s bathed every week, and his hair must be blow-dryed.

Isabelle loves grooming her poodle’s hair. She compares it to brushing her Barbie doll’s hair when she was a kid.

“I would never be a hair dresser, but I really enjoy brushing his hair,” says Isabelle. “It’s funny because I can go to the store and buy the same shampoo for both of us. We use the same shampoo, we use the same leave-in conditioner. He’s got the same hair spray as me.”

Though Storm has always been very good with being groomed, he did struggle a bit with being in the dog show ring when he was a puppy, and Isabelle admits it was frustrating at times.

“Poodles are very sensitive dogs. You can’t be too hard on them or they’ll just shut down,” she says. “(Storm) is a little different because he’s so mellow, but it was still the same thing — you can’t get too frustrated with him in the ring, or get too stressed out waiting to go in, or he just won’t show” because he senses that.

“That was a learning experience — to know that I have to be calm whether or not I feel really anxious.”

Once Isabelle calmed down, so did Storm and they started winning the points they needed to become champions.

“You need to have 10 points for your championship, which basically means you need to have beat at least 10 dogs,” she explains. Within a year, and after about eight or nine dog shows, Isabelle and Storm had the points they needed.

He used to be very fidgety as a puppy when Isabelle would try to get him to stand still or for judge’s exam. Now she’s able to stand back and hold his leash while Storm holds his own tail up and head up. He can stand still for up to 20 minutes if he has to.

“It’s really cool for me to see how far he’s come from when he was a puppy, to see how well he shows, how responsive he is. He does cute little things like wags his tail when the judge comes along,” she says.

Now, all of Isabelle and Storm’s teamwork with grooming, training and socializing has paid off.

The two will be heading to the Canadian Kennel Club’s 2017 Junior Handling Nationals which take place on Aug. 12 in Conception Bay, Newfoundland. She is one of two juniors from B.C. and 20 from across the country who will be competing.

“I’m excited to go to nationals and I’m excited for the possibility that I hopefully can win and go to internationals, but it’s nice that I’m so excited about different things going on (in Newfoundland) as well. It really takes off a lot of the stress.”

She’s looking forward to going on sightseeing tours, whale watching, and a blueberry festival while there.

“It’s okay if I don’t win or if I don’t place — I’m still in Newfoundland, I’m still going to see all these different things, and see my friends.”

If she claims the Canadian national title, she’s off to Birmingham, England for the international juniors.

“It’s getting bigger every year. Ten years ago there were only about 50 countries competing and now it’s almost every country,” she says.

To help offset the $4,000 cost to go to nationals, Isabelle is raising funds through an online auction which ends on July 18. To see the items up for auction, go to: facebook.com/groups/1596413927060250.

For a video of Isabelle demonstrating how she shows her dog, Storm, go to theprogress.com/community.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

(Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Isabelle Loranger and some of her many ribbons. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Isabelle Loranger and some of her many ribbons. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

(Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

(Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Ashley Durance, seen here on Nov. 25, 2020 with her four-year-old daughter Hazel, recently released The Adventures of Mabel Mouse. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack cancer patient writes children’s book inspired by daughter with medical complexities

Ashley Durance released ‘The Adventures of Mabel Mouse’ the day before her daughter’s fourth birthday

LEFT: Krista Macinnis, with a red handprint across her face that symbolizes the silencing of First Nations people, displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
RIGHT: Abbotsford School District Kevin Godden says the district takes responsibility for the harm the assignment caused.
Abbotsford school district must make amends for harmful residential school assignment: superintendent

‘The first step is to unreservedly apologize for the harm … caused to our community’: Kevin Godden

A new Sardis secondary school logo designed by a former student, Jason Roberts. (Facebook photo)
Chilliwack’s Sardis secondary unveils new logo done in Coast Salish style

The new-look Falcon is meant strengthen connections between Indigenous students and their school

Elissa McLaren broke her left elbow in the Sept. 20, 2020 collision. (Submitted)
Victims of fatal crash on Prest Road in Chilliwack asking for help leading up to Christmas

‘This accident has taken a larger toll financially, mentally and physically than originally intended’

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld (left) and former BCTF president Glen Hansman (right).
BC Court of Appeal left to walk tightrope of freedom of expression in Neufeld-Hansman case

Is defamation lawsuit aimed at stifling free expression or does the defamation hinder free speech?

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
COVID-19 tickets: No, RCMP aren’t checking vehicle occupancies, restaurant tables

Enforcement about education, not punishment says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Most Read