"A beautiful Aussie that is athletic, graceful and sound - built on a solid foundation. That is GraceRok. Our Aussies are bred to the CKC and ASCA breed standard."
At Gracerok we enjoy competing in conformation and Rally-obedience, and training in agility and herding.
I've had dogs most of my life and fell in love with herding dogs as a teenager. As a junior handler I showed and titled my poodle in conformation and obedience and later trained another poodle and a sheltie in obedience. My very first job out of high school was working for a dog grooming salon! Fast forward to the 2000s and Aussies have been part of my family and I've loved, studied, and competed with them since 2010.
Including my poodle from years ago, as a proud OWNER/HANDLER (with one minor exception) I've put on 8 Champion titles including a Grand Champion and currently have two that are pointed. Some of my proud owner-handler achievements include:
- multiple Best Baby Puppy in Shows
- multiple Best Baby Puppy in Groups
- a Best Puppy in Show
- multiple Best Puppy in Groups
- multiple Group wins
- multiple Group placements
- a BOS in a huge CKC Breed Regional Specialty
- a BOB in a huge CKC Breed Booster (20+ entries!!)
- a class placement (3rd) at ASCA Nationals (with a handler)
- multiple ASCA BOW major wins in shows with large entries
I believe Aussies are meant to be a performance breed and that is what attracted me to Aussies in the beginning! To that end I've worked hard to achieve a total of 21 performance titles ranging from Obedience (CD) (not an Aussie though, lol), to Canine Good Neighbor (CGN), to Rally-Obedience (RA in CKC and CARO), to trick titles and herding instinct certifications!! We've been busy...just how the Aussies like it...they are a working breed after all and love to have a job to do!
Of course, my Aussies are family and companions first and foremost and show dogs second! They're not kennel dogs, they live in my home with me and are not left alone outside all day, some sleep on my bed occasionally, and spend most of their time underfoot (literally, lol). I live on an acreage (7 acres) so have lots of space for them to run and play.
I believe in species-specific nutrition and feed them a mostly raw diet and a high quality kibble. I follow the Jean Dodds, DVM protocol for minimal vaccinations to prevent future issues from over-vaccination.
I train my dogs using the most current, marker-based, positive reinforcement training methods that have been proven by science to be effective and humane...and FUN!
My MISSION is to share excellent examples of this beautiful, smart and loving breed with like-minded individuals.
The GOAL of my program is to produce Aussies with moderate coat, bone, and angulation and stable, biddable, non-reactive temperaments as the ASCA/CKC/AKC breed standards dictate.
I am a member in good standing:
Currently employed by Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) on contract and a member in good standing
Central Ontario Australian Shepherd Club (COASC) - I held the position of Second Vice President on the COASC Board of Directors for one year
Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA)
I am the founder and organizer of the former 500+ member:
Toronto Australian Shepherd Meetup Group. As of 2021 I stepped away from the group and it has been transitioned to a facebook group under new leadership: GTA Australian Shepherd Meetup group.
About GraceRok Aussies.
I am committed to remaining curious, teachable and to continuous learning about dog and puppy raising, humane husbandry techniques, positive training, best feeding, canine structure and movement and more! There are always new and/or different ways to do things and I am eager to keep learning and applying that knowledge for the benefit of my dogs and my breeding program. In addition to my extensive library of books on dogs/training etc, and ongoing online research, I actively participate in as many educational events as I can:
Intro to Herding Online Seminar by Tanya Wheeler - COASC
Health and DNA Testing for the Australian Shepherd by Valerie Yates - COASC online
Leading Edge Dog Show Academy - online with Allison Alexander, Dog Show Conditioning and Training and all 25 tutorials in 2022
Australian Shepherd University - online ongoing with Nanette Newbury - a deep dive into the Australian Shepherd breed standard and how it applies to Aussie form and function, front and rear angulation and measurement, movement, proportions, temperament and much more
Neonatal Puppy Care Webinar with Dr. Greer - webinars 2 nights
Good Breeder Annual Health Symposium - webinars | Helping with Whelping - How to Prepare, When to Step In, and When to Seek Help with Dr. Kristina Belton and The Breeding Female and Neonate Care with Dr. Greg Burns
Breed Standard Review and Comparison (CKC and ASCA) with Gail Karamagelos, online 2.5 hours via COASC
Best Practices for Neonatal Puppy Care with Dr. Marty Greer | Webinar | Presented by the Canadian Kennel Club, two evenings
Good Breeder seminar with Myra Savant Harris - care of neonates
Australian Shepherd Breed Seminar Series - Nanette Newbury, online 6 weeks: Breed History, Front Angulation, Rear Angulation, Proportions, Breed Standard, Puppy Evaluation
CKC Breeder Seminar - 2 days online
Handling workshop/seminar w-Emily Burdon
Australian Shepherd Grooming Pt 1 and 2 - online AJ Tavares w- The Grooming Land
Good Breeder - online webinar with Dr. Hutchinson, DVM w- Good Dog
The Puppy Culture DVD set The Powerful First 12 Weeks That Can Shape Your Puppy's Future
How to Groom the Australian Shepherd - online Moira Cornell
Show to Win - online Moira Cornell
Puppy Puzzle DVD set - Pat Hastings approach to evaluating the structural quality of puppies
All day force-free sheep herding workshop with Kynic Stockdogs
Conformation handling seminar with Will Alexander - post dog show in Ontario
Breed mentoring seminar through COASC with Heather Herron and Ann DeChant
Handle it Right! Agility handling Regionals prep series with Dante Comacho
Conformation Handling with Bob Rowbotham
Herding Clinic (Sheep and Geese) at TeeCreek Dog Training Center with Kathy Warner
Breeding Better Dogs with Dr. Carmen Battaglia
Understanding Canine Body Language at PawsWay Toronto