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Will Tonka be top dog?

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By Fiona Reid
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Will Tonka be top dog?

COULD a dog from Lockerbie be Scotland’s best dog? Owner Yvonne Murray believes so.

She entered the BBC TV competition of the same name with blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier Tonka, described as a ‘big softie’.

And they have taken part in their first heat, with the results to be televised next week on November 25.

Describing her pooch, Yvonne said: “We got him when he was eight weeks old. His personality is cheeky, fun and loyal. He loves rough and tumble.

“On walks, it’s always the biggest sticks he can find or break off himself!”

The pair’s favourite favourite thing to do is flyball, an action-packed dog sport where teams race over hurdles to catch and return a ball.

Yvonne said: “We started flyball around the end of July this year as clubs were starting. It allowed Tonka to open up outdoors. I knew what it was and thought we would give it a try, just as something to do together and he loves it.”

She revealed she applied for the show in ‘the heat of the moment’, never thinking she would hear back.

And she hopes their appearance will help change perceptions of ‘bully breeds’ like Staffies.

The heats involved three different recall tasks and Yvonne admits she was ‘fairly confident’ as that’s something they do daily, adding: “There was a game with a toy like fetch and some agility.

“Tonka is very food focused so was happy to try things for treats.”

She is looking forward to seeing the show and said: “I’m excited to see every single dog that took part in each episode as we met some great people.

“I hope Tonka comes across as a great example of the breed.”

Scotland’s Best Dog is on a quest to find the most-cherished canine characters who have a heart-warming bonds with their owners and are the life and soul of their families.

Judges broadcaster Kaye Adams, animal behaviourist River McDonald and Scottish SPCA veteran, and dog trainer, Alan Grant have the tough task of choosing the finalists.

Each week, they score the owner and dog pairings across three key challenges – recall, bond and agility skills – with the overall heat winner earning a place in the Grand Final, competing for the coveted Golden Bone trophy to be crowned Scotland’s Best Dog 2021.

* Catch Scotland’s Best Dog on BBC Scotland on Thursday nights at 8 pm

BIG SOFTIE . . . Tonka is representing Lockerbie in the show

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