If your dog listens well and is eager to please, you might be keen on taking their talents to the Obedience ring. After meeting several qualification requirements, your dog may be eligible to receive an invitation to compete on the national stage. One of the dogs competing this year at the 2023 AKC National Obedience Championship, taking place on June 18 and 19, is a Beauceron named Lundi.
If you’re not familiar with this breed, picture a tall, black-coated dog with red feet and the herding instincts of the Border Collie. A spirited and intelligent dog, the Beauceron is known for being a fierce protector, making her an ideal match for Lundi’s owner, Kelley Norred.
Norred’s Beauceron Journey
In 2015, Norred, a professional equestrian, was looking for a dog to keep her company when she was working in the barn at night. Norred, who teaches horseback riding on her 16-and-a-half-acre farm in Florida, needed a dog who would be safe around people but imposing enough that unwelcome visitors would “either leave or stay in their car,” she says.
Lundi stands 26 inches tall and weighs 86 pounds. She might seem intimidating but really, she has a sweet temperament and is versatile enough to compete in multiple dog sports. After researching the breed, Norred brought Lundi home when she was eight weeks old. Though Norred has owned various dog breeds, including Golden Retrievers, Lundi is her first Beauceron.
Lundi was born on a Monday, so her name is in recognition of her birthday and her origins in Central France. “She is Ms. Social Butterfly,” Norred says. “She runs up to people, leans on them, and expects to be petted.” She gets along well with other dogs. But if she sees any roughhousing, she’ll get in the middle and break it up. “We call her the fun police,” she says. Lundi also loves playing with Norred’s mixed-breed dog, keeping him in line any time he plays too rough.
As far as her temperament goes, Lundi is willing to try anything, including dog sports that are new to her. “To me, she’s the perfect dog,” Norred says. “Even when she doesn’t feel well, she tries.”
Getting Involved in Dog Sports
Norred and Lundi started working with a trainer at home on obedience lessons. They weren’t expecting to get into dog sports but as Lundi progressed in her training, Norred wanted to find a way to keep her active and engaged.
“In 2017, we did our first Obedience trial in Novice,” Norred recalls. Norred spent the next year working with Lundi on two dog sports, Obedience and AKC Rally. “When we got into Open Obedience the next year, she was pretty good except for the out-of-sight sit and down,” she says. If she couldn’t see Norred, Lundi would get up and go looking for her. They finally mastered this skill right before the change to command discrimination, which is when you use hand or verbal signals to direct your dog to stand, walk 15 feet, lie down, walk another 15 feet, and sit.
Norred and Lundi started Novice Obedience in 2016. “I’ve trained Golden Retrievers, but Lundi is the first dog I’ve ever competed with,” she says. Lundi got her Novice title for Obedience in 2017, then her Open title in 2018. A year later, she got her Utility Dog title. In 2023, Lundi got her UDX (Utility Dog Excellent) title, making her the first Beauceron to achieve that.
Lundi also earned her Open Barn Hunt title and one leg in Senior Barn Hunt. Norred’s next goal for Lundi is getting her Master title in AKC Rally. “She has a great time doing the weave poles, tunnels, wraps, and figure-eights, which is great for fitness,” she says.
Taking Lundi’s Skills to the Next Level
In 2020, indoor training facilities were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Norred decided to see if Lundi would enjoy Diving. At first, Lundi would only get into the water up to her elbows and turn back. When Norred got in the pool with her, Lundi started swimming to her to get a treat, then would paddle back to the ramp. “She wasn’t toy-driven but she would fetch a toy in the water because she was trained in force fetch for obedience,” Norred explains. “Then it got to the point where fetching a toy was fun.”
Because Lundi wasn’t able to see how deep the water was, she was initially hesitant to jump off the dock. So, they started practicing at the pool twice a week. It took three months before she managed to do her first jump. A week later, Lundi attended her first Diving Dogs trial and got her novice title.
“It was because of the obedience training and the force fetch,” Norred says. “If I didn’t have a way to make her fetch a toy, that never would have worked. Obedience training has come in very handy” when Lundi is Diving. The Beauceron now knows to sit and stay at the end of the dock so you can throw her a toy. During the summer, Lundi competes in all three disciplines—Distance, Hydro Dash, and Air Retrieve—and has achieved great success in the sport.
As a veteran horse trainer, Norred has learned techniques from working with equines that are applicable to dog sports. “Some horses need constant training,” she says. “Some get really bored doing the same thing, so you have to do some cross-training to keep them stimulated.” She adds, “When I was first working with Lundi, I was doing six days a week and she got very bored,” she says. Lundi enjoyed retrieving and jumping but wasn’t keen on heeling.
Norred started doing pattern training with Lundi, meaning that they would alternate between obedience drills and playtime. “I noticed that when I did the next exercise with her, she would lose focus because she’d be thinking about playing. So, I try to keep it fun and interesting for her.”
When They’re Not Competing
Norred trains horses and teaches horseback riding, and Lundi helps her with the animals. “Lundi does not like for me to be in the pasture with the horses,” Norred says. “Because that’s her job, to guard, and, if she’s outside she’ll bark at the horses and herd them.”
Lundi enjoys car rides, walks, and playing in the pool. Norred can take her anywhere from the grocery store to an outdoor patio at a restaurant. “She’s a good family dog,” she says. “She likes little kids and will let them pet her.” She’s gentle with kids but gets really excited when she sees an adult she likes, acting as though she hasn’t seen them in ages. “Lundi has been a true companion and friend,” Norred says. “There’s very few people who meet her and don’t think she’s wonderful and would love to have a Beauceron, too.”
2023 National Obedience Championship
Norred and Lundi compete in AKC Rally once a year and Obedience trials twice a year. The 2023 National Obedience Championship will mark their first time attending the event, and they’re also qualified to compete in the 2023 AKC Rally National Championship.
Lundi has been invited to the NOC previously, but Norred wondered whether the dog could perform well enough at a national level. “Then I thought, she’s getting older, and I may not ever have this chance again,” she says. “I would like for her to go in and work all eight rings with no major mistakes and no NQs,” she says. “We’re going to do the best we can and have fun.”