A 14-year-old girl has participated in more prestigious European competitions for dogs. With her dog ‘Aaron’, a Basenji Hound from Congo, Riona Manicaro is looking forward to greater successes.
Although still young, Riona is being looked upon as one of the future generations of dog handlers. At the end of last week she was classed as one of the top six dog handlers during the ‘Euro Dog Show” held in Austria. As opposed to normal dog competitions, this show is not based on judging the dog but its handler.
Riona said she was judged on her capability of getting the best performance out of her dog. There are rules that have to be observed such as the handler not coming between the dog and the judges – one of the most important regulations. Other regulations include showing the dog’s teeth and in Junior Handling the dog’s race has to be brought out and by acting naturally, the handler has to show the dog at its best.
‘Aaron’ is 2 ½ years old and is a Basenji Hound and these originated from Congo in Africa. This is a race of dogs that do not bark and is renowned for its cleanliness because it is constantly self-cleaning and is a very loveable strain of dog. She said that training starts early when the dog is just two months old because the younger the dog is, the more its capability of learning quickly, learning it retains throughout its life. Training takes place every day and she spends 15 minutes on each dog.
Riona was first attracted to dog breeding six years ago when she was just eight years old. She said her ambition is not just to participate in competitions as a handler but to be a winning handler.