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Meet Our Top Dog Teams

First held in 1958, Top Dog is an annual competition between the dog clubs that are members of Southern California Dog Obedience Council.  VHOC has been competing since the beginning. 



November 18th


On November 18, 2017, all the participating Southern California Obedience Clubs found ourselves at our old stomping grounds at Pikes Peak Park in Norco for the annual Top Dog Competition. The weather was great and the day did not disappoint. The camaraderie of this friendly competition between clubs was alive and well, as was the presence of the unexpected that always cleverly finds its way to this day.


Our VHOC team was very diverse this year - our dogs were youngsters and oldsters, accomplished and unseasoned, along with, as always, a diversity of breeds. We even had a new mom on the team who recently completed her puppy raising duties!




Logo by Artist and VHOC Member

Carole Raschella

Logo by Artist and VHOC Member

Carole Raschella


November 12th


Our awesome VHOC 2016 Top Dog Team earned a very impressive 3rd place finish for our club this year!!


Along with the cool and crisp pleasantry of fall in the November air, our VHOC Top Dog Team received a welcome treat this year - a location close to home for most of our team members at Rancho Tapo Park in Simi Valley!

Fourteen Southern California Dog Obedience Council member clubs gathered on November 12th to strut their stuff amidst the camaraderie of fellow obedience competitors. This event offers the opportunity for club members to represent their respective clubs, ultimately in hopes of garnering the highest honor - Top Dog of 2016. 

There are six rings at Top Dog - two each for Novice, Open, and Utility.  The event consists of two rounds - the first round scores determine the club placements.  The top four scoring dogs in each ring are then called back for a second round after lunch to compete for individual placements. 

Our VHOC Top Dog Team did not disappoint - I am very proud of our achievement this year.  Along with our more seasoned team members, we had three very green dogs that had never competed in the ring at their level, and one dog that was just returning to work following a long, needed rest.  They were fantastic - all of them!





November 14th


On Top Dog day, November 14th, we first began feeling Fall in the air……dark and crisp in the early morning hours,….but it was a trick! Just when we think relief from the blistering heat has at last blessed our doorstep, we find ourselves peeling off layers as the day brightens and jackets swap with sunscreen as the covering of choice.


So it was for our Top Dog team at Pikes Peak Park! There’s something so comforting about pausing in the rush to set up canopies and crates - our little home-away-from-home - to watch the sun rise over the mountains in Norco. Camaraderie, excitement and anticipation fill the air as 14 Southern California Dog Obedience Council member clubs converge in the sunrise. The day begins and off we go!!


The first round of competition in Top Dog determines club standings. There are two rings for each level of obedience (Novice, Open and Utility). The top four highest scores in each ring are called back after lunch (in sunscreen mode!) to compete for individual placements.

Valley Hills was once again well represented by our members!





Logo by Artist and VHOC Member

Carole Raschella

Logo by Artist and VHOC Member

Carole Raschella


November 15th


Valley Hills Obedience Club’s Top Dog Team for 2014 showed up bright and early for the 2014 Top Dog Competition in Escondido, CA.  Our day started off nice and cool, and then the heat was on!  The HVOC training field is beautiful, the footing was great, and all of our dogs and handlers came with plenty of energy and enthusiasm!


After the first round, Jinny Chow and Candie did a wonderful job in Novice, along with Gwen Fiorito and Destry.  Gwen and Destry were called back for a nail biter runoff to break a tie for the 4th place dog in their ring after round one.  They did a great job under pressure and ended up in the fifth spot after the runoff.  


Our Open team, Sharon Clarke and Flynn, received a call-back for the second round by scoring in the top four in their ring and did a super job in the second round!


Cindi and Jenna gave Utility a good shot, and so did Patti Rovtar and Chili.  Patti and Chili were called back for the second round but had a little snafu that bumped them out of the running for a top score.


At the end of the day, our Shining Stars this year were Flynn and Sharon, who after two rounds earned 2nd place of twenty-nine Open dogs competing!  A huge Congratulations are well deserved for this working team!


Top Dog is a wonderful event and a lot of fun!  We all set up together and cheer each other, and our friends on the other teams, on!  VHOC finished 13th this year out of 15 clubs competing.  We went to this event with a skeleton team for 2014. A full team is nine dog/handler teams and we were a Team of five!  For club members who are training for competitive obedience, we hope to see you with interest and participation for our 2015 team!


Patti Rovtar and Cindi Malchose


Top Dog Co-Captains

2013 Winners

November 9th


November 9th began as a beautiful fall day at Pikes Peak Park in Norco, California, where the 2013 Southern California Obedience Council's Top Dog Competition was held.   VHOC's Top Dog Team competed with 16 SCDOC Obedience Clubs this year, 2 more than last year's competition.  Our beautiful day ended in glory once again!  For the third year in a row, VHOC's Team finished the day in first place, earning 1097 points out of a possible 1200!


For the Top Dog Competition, each participating club sends two dog and handler teams to compete in each of the three levels of AKC Obedience:  Novice, Open, and Utility.  There are two rings for each level of obedience.  The teams accumulate points the judge awards each dog/handler for every exercise successfully completed. There are no "NQ'S" in Top Dog!  The cumulative Round One scores determine team placements.  The four highest scoring dogs in each of six rings from Round One advance to Round Two for an opportunity to earn an individual placement by receiving enough points from both Round One and Round Two to earn a spot in the top four of the level of obedience they are competing in.


We worked through some significant challenges leading up to and throughout the day of the event, notably having to make a substitution on our Novice team when Weegie decided to go into heat right before the event, and two injured team members; Tink, who had a broken foot, and Dawn, with a torn ligament in her ankle.  Each of these awesome team members came sporting a medical walking boot!  Tink did the entire Open run in her boot, and Dawn, while only having to do the group exercise as an alternate, came in good spirits and "dressed to kill" with rhinestones decorating her boot.  Lucky rhinestones they were indeed!  We have dubbed this year's team the "Git 'er Done" team, in more ways than one!  


We were thrilled that 3 of our 6 team members finished in the top four from Round One and advanced to Round Two:  Kim and Lizzie for Novice, Joyce and Jill for Utility, and Patti and Chili, also for Utility.

Logo by Artist and VHOC Member

Carole Raschella