The Westminster Dog Show is just one more notch in the collar of a multi-tasking Doberman Pinscher affectionately known to owner and handler Whitney Newman as “Ricky Bobby.” The dog sports an official handle having what appears to be alphabet soup at both ends: RATCHX2 URO2 U-GRCH / Intl CH / UDC CH / AKC GCH Catawba’s Power Play CD RE CGC BH IPO1 ROM ATT VCX FO P1 ASCA RN BSA E2A. But he is better known as “Ricky Bobby,” or “RB” to his friends.
Westminster Dog Show can be the pinnacle of the career for most dogs, but it’s just another event for this seven-year-old canine Batman. When he’s not working on a film set somewhere (he starred in an episode of the Walking Dead, Season 5 Episode 10, along with another Top Secret project to be revealed later in 2016), he is a therapy dog, an obedience dog, an agility dog, has done protection work, and has a favorite activity, Barn Hunt. Newman told The Inquisitr that RB is the only GCH IPO Barn Hunt-titled Doberman in the history of the breed.
“There are other RATM (Barn Hunt Master) and 2 other RATCH (Barn Hunt Trial Champion) Dobermans but he is the first and only one so far to earn the RATCHX and RATCHX2 Title, like building MACH agility titles.”
Newman said that having a show dog is a new experience for her.
“Ricky Bobby is my first show dog. I got him from his breeder, Susan Miller, when he was three years old, and we co-own him.”
Miller had completed RB’s conformation (beauty contest) championship, CD (Companion Dog obedience title), and IPO1 (bite work) but wanted him to go to a home where he would be the focus. Newman said that it was love at first sight.
“The bond we formed was almost instantaneous, and he has done anything I ask him to. Show dog, athlete, guardian, friend, actor, therapy dog, and more.”
Newman said that the Doberman taught her the ropes in the show ring.
“I learned how to handle on him. We completed his AKC GCH totally owner handled and have made it to the final cut round at several DPCA Nationals and even earned an Award of Merit one year at the Regional preceding the National. He has more UKC (United Kennel Club) Best In Show wins than I can keep up with and even earned a Total Dog Reserve Best in Show at UKC Premier one year.”
“We train in IPO and he does therapy work through the University of Tennessee’s H.A.B.I.T. Program..”
In order to qualify for the H.A.B.I.T. program, RB had to pass a strict behavioral and physical evaluation screening. WaggyTails of Knoxville describes some of the rigors of a therapy dog:
“Before being accepted into the program, animals are medically screened and evaluated for behavior. The human volunteers then go through an orientation and training to learn how the program works and what is expected of them. The volunteers are then placed in a facility such as a school where children can read to the dog, or a rehabilitation center where the dog can help clients with their speech or motor skills. Once the visits begin, experienced volunteers monitor, and provide ongoing feedback and evaluation to help ensure that the visits are benefiting both the client, volunteer, and animal.”
Therefore, even though RB is trained in protection work, he still has to be gentle enough to trust in situations that involve small children and people who are ill or frail. He must be 100 percent reliable, a good sport in all situations.
Newman said she is very proud of his accomplishments. Like all superheroes, RB is using his powers for good. He even has his own Facebook Page.
“He is truly a once in a lifetime dog!”
It’s safe to say that RB’s resume wouldn’t have been possible without his human partner. Whitney Newman is truly a once in a lifetime owner.
See more about Westminster on Inquisitr:
- The 7 New Dog Breeds in 2016
- New in the Herding Group: The Winn-Dixie Dog, the Berger Picard
- Westminster Gets Winston the French Bulldog Off the Couch
- The Nonsporting Group: Dreaming With Dalmatians
- Obedience: German Shorthair Proves a Point
- Agility: Australian Shepherd ‘Holster“
[Image of Ricky Bobby by Whitney Newman. Used with permission.]