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This profile was last updated on 6/28/06  and contains information from public web pages.

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Championship Obedience Show Secretary
    Rugby Dog Training Club
  • Member
  • Member
    Hi Katia & Marty
  • Member
    British Kennel Club
  • Member
    Kennel Club Obedience Liaison Council
  • Member
117 Total References
Web References
Home -  News - Owners tutorial -, 28 June 2006 [cached]
Mary first entered the world of dog training when she joined Rugby Dog Training Club in 1978. Such was her talent and success that she had become the club's head trainer by 1980 and was quickly recognised as one of the country's top competition handlers. Mainly handling Border Collies, in obedience competitions she has qualified no less than nine dogs to work in Championship 'C', the highest possible class. She has won this class on 59 occasions which has led to several of her dogs and bitches becoming Obedience Champions. She has also won the Crufts Obedience championships on three occasions, one of those being with a Tervueren.
Mary is also an established expert in dog agility competitions having been one of the sport's pioneers. She has won the prestigious Pedigree Agility Stakes at Olympia and been a part of the Rugby DTC Crufts agility team which has won that event on two occasions. Mary has also handled a Sheltie at the mini, or small dog, Crufts agility championships. Needless to say she won the event.
Mary has made many videos about training dogs, showing her methods and how she uses clicker training for many exercises. Together with her new book entitled Dog Tricks they are available to order from pages in this web site.
Mary Ray, 27 Jan 2006 [cached]
Mary first entered the world of dog training when she joined Rugby Dog Training Club in 1978. Within a very short time her natural empathy with dogs and her tremendous ability shone through and within the space of a few short years, she became one of the country's top handlers. During this time, her abilities were also recognised by Rugby Dog Training Club and, before the end of the 1980s, she became head trainer of that club.
Mary's achievements on the UK dog scene are almost too many to list. She was one of the first British handlers to work a brown and white collie, and that was the dog she joined Rugby Dog Training Club with.
She went from Pre-Beginners to Championship Class 'C' in an unbelievably short time. She has now qualified nine dogs to work Championship 'C' Obedience, seven Border Collies and two Belgian Shepherds (Tervuerens). She has won 59 Kennel Club Obedience Challenge Certificates with five of her dogs and 38 Reserve Certificates. Mary's Belgian Shepherd, Roxy, was the first Belgian Shepherd in the UK to become an Obedience Champion and she also won the Bitch Obedience Championship at Crufts. Mary's also very well known Border Collie Red Hot Toddy was the winner of the Dog Obedience Championship at Crufts.
The other main British obedience competition culminating in a final was the Pro Dogs Obedience Stakes. A dog was only allowed to win this competition once in its lifetime and Mary won this on two occasions, once with Toddy and once with Roxy. This competition has now been renamed the Open 'C' Charity Competition.
There are very few people in the history of obedience at Crufts that can boast of competing in the two Championships over 20 separate years, winning it three times, coming second on three occasions, having two third places, one fourth place and one fifth place!
Mary's agility career started in 1980, just after the birth of agility in the UK. Once more, she established herself immediately as one of the top handlers in the sport. She has either won or been in the finals of every major sponsored British agility competition. This included winning the prestigious Pedigree Agility Stakes with her Border Collie Pepperland Hot Chocolate. She holds the record for qualifying the most dogs on the most occasions for this prestigious final in the last twenty-four years. She has also been a member of the Rugby Dog Training Club agility team, which has competed at the Crufts Team Agility Finals on many occasions and a member of the winning team on two occasions, the last being 2004. Mary was also a member of the team that qualified for Crufts 2000. She has also been a member of the Rugby Dog Training Club Crufts Flyball Team, competing in the finals at the Crufts Dog Show.
At Crufts in 2004, Mary and Myndoc Simply Teena were winners of the Crufts Mini Agility Championships (Tina is owned by Mrs Shirley Turner but handled and trained by Mary). At Crufts in 2004, Mary and Myndoc Simply Teena were winners of the Crufts Mini Agility Championships (Tina is owned by Mrs Shirley Turner but handled and trained by Mary).
Although there are conflicting stories about where Heelwork to Music started, because some groups of obedience enthusiasts trained with music playing in the late 1980s, the first person we are aware of who actually put together a public performance of Heelwork to Music was Mary at a demonstration event in 1990. She did this again in 1992 and thereafter has done it every year at Crufts. The last eight years, Mary has given a demonstration in the Main Ring at Crufts on Best in Show Night.
In 1997, she performed a routine to "Riverdance" and in 1998 she practically brought the house down with her routine to "Switched on Classics", a six-minute long classical compilation.
In 1999, she had another first performing a routine to "Boogie Shoes" with both Kizzy and Quincy! She then did a new routine to "Night Fever" from the hit West End show with Kizzy and once more this was a huge success, with the capacity Best in Show audience clapping in time to the music. At Crufts 2000, Mary with her handsome brown and white Border Collie Quincy told the Best in Show audience a little story. The story was from the famous Walt Disney animation movie Fantasia and it was "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" routine, with Mary taking the part of the sorcerer and Quincy as the apprentice. The full routine went out live on BBC television. This was a stunning routine and, as was said at the time, how can you do anything better than that! Mary tried very hard to do just that at Crufts 2001, where in the Special Events Ring and the Main Ring she performed routines based on Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" and a compilation of music from Fred Astaire musicals called "Top Hat". And of course for this, Mary was dressed in top hat and tails. In the Main Ring on the final evening, Mary performed this routine to a packed Best in Show audience with the houselights dimmed and Mary and Quincy highlighted under four spotlights. She finished the routine to rapturous applause and excerpts of part of this routine were shown live on BBC television.
At Crufts 2002, Mary was once more invited to perform one of her routines immediately before 'Best in Show'. She chose a Glenn Miller theme and the music was called "Hooked on Swing" which included some Glenn Miller tunes and of course she was dressed in an authentic US Airforce uniform. There was no doubt that this was the best routine that Mary has ever performed until that time. At least that's what the audience believed especially when, halfway through the routine, Mary's other dog Kizzy joined her and Quincy in the ring and she proceeded to finish off the routine with two dogs. It was absolutely stunning. Not only was there deafening applause at the finish but some of the audience was standing on its feet and the whole six minute routine was broadcast live on BBC television.
At Crufts 2003, Mary decided to have a complete change and put together a Spanish routine to bullfighting-type music. Quincy was to take the part of the bull and Mary would be the matador. She had a lovely red cape for Quincy to charge at and, along with the cape, Jan Morse had made Mary a superb matador's outfit. Once more the BBC turned down the lights in the arena and highlighted Mary and Quincy with spotlights. The atmosphere was electric and the audience absolutely loved it. As usual, Mary had the choreography down to perfection, finishing with her attempting to kill the bull (Quincy) but the bull then chased Mary, knocked her down and stamped on her at the end - very difficult to describe but those who have seen it will know just what a stunning end to the routine it was, followed as usual with a tremendous ovation from the audience. The BBC broadcast this routine live.
This superb routine at Crufts 2003 was made all the more special by the fact that Mary performed her routine with Quincy, the same dog which two days previously had been the winner of the prestigious Crufts Dog Obedience Championships and much comment was made about this by the BBC commentators on their programmes. Mary also competed in the 25th Anniversary Agility Competition, having herself started competing in agility in 1980 and being one of the few people in the country still competing on a regular basis over twenty years later and certainly the most successful.
At Crufts 2004, Mary performed a technically advanced routine to the 'Harry Potter' theme and keeping up with her reputation for being innovative, she performed this routine with her Border Collie Quincy and her Sheltie Gypsy. This deceptive routine was as usual made to look very easy by Mary as it was necessary to appreciate the difficulty in performing with two such different dogs, in terms of both size and character. Yet once again she was greeted to rapturous applause from the audience as well as being enjoyed by many millions more through television coverage.
In 2005, as usual Mary will be performing her Heelwork to Music routine just before Best in Show in the Main Ring and this year it will be to the overture from the hit West End show Mack and Mabel. This will be a stunning and fast-moving routine where Mary will perform with several of her dogs, culminating in her finishing the routine with no less than four of her dogs in the arena!
Mary has appeared on many television programmes including "Blue Peter, a BBC children's TV programme, twice on Jim Davidson's "Generation Game", which was on BBC prime time Saturday evening, "The Big Breakfast Show" on Channel 4 and three times on the leading morning programme with "Richard and Judy" and not forgetting of course live from Crufts on BBC1.
Mary was the lead Heelwork to Music trainer on the programme and Rob, the subject of the
Mary Ray, 1 May 2007 [cached]
We finished our last update as Mary was looking forward to the up and coming Crufts dog show which looked like it was going to be a busy time for her. At the end of February the BBC were coming out to take a quick video of Mary's new routine to help them with their camera and lighting angles. The music she was using was to a compilation of James Bond themes probably the best James Bond compilation we have ever heard. As is usual with all these types of events the BBC had to get rights to use the music which due to the unusual circumstances of the recording and the artist involved Dave had to get involved with the performing rights. I understand that he had to trace the people involved in Europe and speak to the personally to gain the rights. On Tuesday 6th March Dave spent the day up at the NEC sorting out some of his work that he does at Crufts and on the Wednesday Mary moved in for the duration.
The main job for Mary on the Wednesday before Crufts was rehearsing in the main ring. She had 30 minutes to try out the routine on the non slip Crufts carpet and everything seemed to go well. Mary and Levi
On Thursday, the first day of Crufts, Mary had been asked to do some htm with Matt Baker the ex Blue Peter presenter and his BC Meg.
That was really good fun and Mary really enjoyed it and more importantly so did Matt.
Mary also did her first demonstration of her new routine in the main ring. Later in the day, Mary had been booked to put on a 30 minute clicker demo on the Pedigree stand. Pedigree had built a new raised stage area due to the popularity of these demonstrations and it looked like people were standing 15 to 20 deep watching. It was a really successful part of the Pedigree stand. Mary also did a couple of book signings.
Friday was the first of Mary's obedience days. It was the Bitch Obedience Championships and Mary had qualified Kizzy. Kizzy was 12 1/4 years old and Mary had made the decision in advance that she was going to retire her there as she is going a little deaf. She worked a super round and Mary was really proud of her but she did insist that we didn't say anything about Kizzy retiring as she didn't want any fuss made and it would have upset her if there had been any celebration of any sort. As far as she is concerned, Kizzy's obedience career has finished on a high at Crufts and she will now have a lazy life at home and hopefully have a long and happy retirement as the much loved pet she has always been.
Saturday it was obedience again this time the Dog Obedience Championships and Mary had qualified Taz and Quincy. Taz wasn't as confident as Mary would have hoped. He stopped during the heelwork pattern as if Mary had given him a position to do and along with many others he failed scent. It is weird what happens at Crufts because it is probably like no other show. Dogs were indicating the right cloths from a distance but then after going over decoys and then trying to find the right cloths they seemed to give up and then bring back a decoy cloth. Then it came to Quincy's turn, and if you know Quincy you will know he is sometimes a bit full of himself, well he contained himself today and worked extremely well. At one point during the round Mary set off in the wrong pace (naughty Mary!) and when she left him for distance control there was a rather loud bang from elsewhere in the hall which she knew would upset him. But on the whole he worked very well and completed the scent exercise correctly and came in with 3rd place in the overall results in the Dog Obedience Championships which of course Mary was very pleased with making another year that she has been in the line up at Crufts.
Mary was cued into the arena at 8:25pm and she did look gorgeous in her black evening suit a la James Bond complete with blue dicky bow and just to match her dogs were to be wearing their blue flashing collars. The house lights dimmed, the spot lights came on, the superb specially composed compilation of James Bond started and it was just a magical routine. If you were in the audience it was stunning! Mary will always do a flowing heelwork to music routine it will never be very circus tricky and it was enough to bring a tear to you eye as she flowed round the arena first with Foxy then joined by Levi in complete unison with them. I find it quite amazing that Mary hardly seems to speak to them they seem to take all their cues from her body language and the music. If you watched it at home on the television of course, it may not have looked as good. Even after numerous camera and lighting rehearsals for the BBC, this year seemed to be particularly bad for them to get the cameras zoomed in to the right place at the right time. When there was an interesting part of the routine going on the cameras zoomed right out showing the whole of the arena and the audience with Mary a little dot in the distance, so consequently viewers at home missed a lot of what was good in the routine. Anyway, as usual, it was a superb end to Crufts for Mary with the routine being watched with over 5 million tv viewers and 7,000 in the audience at Crufts.
We stayed over on the Sunday night and went back home Monday morning but as they say "no rest for the wicked" because on Tuesday Mary was filming a pilot for a new television programme called 'Underdogs'.
Mary was originally spoken to months prior to this with I think a view to be one of the trainers or a judge on the programme but to take a role on like this she would have had to committed herself for 6 weeks and as you will see later, she had prior engagements so a cabaret spot was the best she could do. The pilot went well, everyone was pleased and Mary was asked to go back the following week to appear on the first live show. The day after the pilot was filmed, they sent through the music they wanted Mary to use on the first live show. It was just about the worst kind of music you could use for a HTM routine and Mary told them so! On the Thursday they agreed that Mary could use a Scissor Sisters number so Dave cut the music to fill in the time that was allowed - 3 minutes and Mary and Jan on the Thursday put together a routine in fact they hired the village hall to do so. The reason for having to do it then was that the next day, Friday, Mary was off to Iceland to train for the Icelandic Kennel Club for the weekend and she was not due back until the Monday night and the show was on Tuesday. When Dave got back from the airport on Friday the TV company had actually emailed a different version of the Scissor Sisters number they wanted her to use. So on the Tuesday morning before going down to London to appear on the programme Mary was frantically trying to rechoreograph the routine to fit the new edited edition of the music! Not an auspicious way to appear on a live television programme but anyway it went well she was pleased with it even though the television people insisted on her using a minimum of two dogs which is ten times harder to choreograph than with one dog.
Mary and Richard
The following weekend which was the 24/25th March Mary was training for Ian Davies in Barcelona.
Renate is a really nice lady and Mary stopped in her house and was well looked after.
Over the Easter weekend, Dave and Mary split up a little. Dave took the Pedigree stand down to the Easter Celebration agility show down at Ardingly. Mary decided to have an Easter obedience weekend and competed at three shows. On Good Friday she went to Sherwood Foresters at Nottingham and won Open 'C' with both Taz and Quincy and won Class 'A' with Levi. On the Saturday she attended Oxhey and Levi gained 2nd place in Class 'A' and Foxy got her first ever placing in Open 'C' coming 5th.
Mary though had accepted a job at the British Dressage Championships in Solihull on the Friday and Saturday nights. She was to do a 20 minute masterclass showing what the dogs can do followed by her Crufts Best in Show James Bond routine later in the evening. This is a very professional event with tiered grandstand seating and the houselights were lowered and spot lights on for when Mary did her routine which went extremely well. The organisers were really pleased with it and I have to say that their hospitality was second to none. They were treated as sponsors both nights with a superb meal and all the wine they could drink. Mary competed at Birmingham on the Sunday and had another successful outing with both Quincy and Taz winning 1st places in Open 'C'.
Kizzy retired at Crufts
The weekend on the 21/22nd April Mary slipped up and hadn't got anything booked and forgotten to enter a show but as luck would have it during the week prior she had been asked to go on the final Underdogs programme on the 24th. But, it was a cabaret spot with a difference, Mary and Richard Curtis were going to do a pairs routine.
On the 28/29th April, Mary was back to the shows with agility at Haslemere.
Lights Camera Action at Crufts 2000 - Dogs, 12 May 2006 [cached]
Not just an agility lady - we have to share her with the obedience world - her name is Mary Ray.Her Sunday night, main ring performance brought the house down.
Is there no end to her talents?She's won just about everything you can win with a variety of dogs, at the highest level in both disciplines.She's a gifted trainer who has shared her methods selflessly to a world wide audience, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand to name a few and remains not in the least bit affected by it all.
Mary's been a member of Rugby DTC for well over 20 years and is one of its most loyal supporters.She's in constant demand, despite this, she willingly devotes a lot of her limited free time to them as head trainer.As if that wasn't enough, she also turns up on a Tuesday night in all the weathers at her local village hall to take a puppy class.I'm lucky enough not to live too far away, so I attend, when I'm not feeling too lazy (speaks volumes).I sit on the floor because there's never enough seats and watch.I could sit there all night and just watch - never pick up my lead - because never in a million years Mary will I ever be that good.
But, up I get and clumsily I try and imitate - she never gives up, never makes you feel stupid - just keeps chipping away, experimenting and changing until she finds a method that's successful - the secret of her own success, no doubt.
Her energy and commitment is constant.She's innovative, an excellent communicator, has a wicked sense of humour and offers advice freely to whomever, whenever.Her ability in understanding and analysing how a dog "ticks" never ceases to amaze me.It does not matter how hopeless you are, with her guidance and to our amazement, you end up with a bit of magic at the end of the lead too.
Heelwork to Music is her latest venture of which she's very self-critical but believe me Mary, you are in your element.Watching her in the main ring on Sunday night performing with the brilliant "Quincy" in perfect time to the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" was a privilege.It went out live and was broadcast all over the world.The pressure on her to get it right must have been immense, but both dog and handler enjoyed every minute.Quincy, responding to Mary's every command with the enthusiasm of a frolicking spring lamb had us all reaching for the tissues.
The audience were spellbound from start to finish - they clapped and whistled and shook their heads in disbelief, it was sheer magic.When I could get near, I offered by congratulations and for the first time ever she didn't criticise, there was no self-doubt, she knew it was special and for once allowed herself an unconditional "pat on the back".
She's still no idea though just what a gift she has and completely unaware of how you would sell your soul for just a pinch!Take a year out Mary - take your magic to Europe - make a few grand and retire to the country.But oh no, never fear, she wants to win Crufts again, she wants Olympia and she'll be down the village hall on Tuesday night with a bag full of sausages casting her spell over her latest "apprentices".
The first to go clear on the course was Andy Hudson with Molly at her first major final, unfortunately they were just outside the course time and picked up faults.
Proving that there is more to Mary Ray and Kizzy than Heelwork to Music, Kizzy produced an excellent run to finish second in a time of 42.19.
The ever consistent Mary Ray finished third with Kizzy, another impressive run in 42.98.
Mary Ray, 27 Jan 2006 [cached]
We had Freestyle demonstrations on both days which included Mary and she was also running a dog in the agility - quite successfully as she won one of the classes as well. Mary did her Mack & Mabel routine on both days but it is really difficult taking four dogs into the centre of London and anyone who has done so well tell you the hardest part is finding a piece of grass for them to go to the toilet. So, after much discussion, she decided to tailor the routine to suit just two dogs which in the end was very successful. Mary had to take three dogs anyway as she needed her Sheltie Gypsy for another session each day which was a 30 minute clicker training spot. It was meant to be a 15 minute spot but unfortunately the police display had to pull out due to operational difficulties, so Mary stepped in and extended her display time to 30 minutes and it was quite amazing how successful that was. The majority of the audience at Discover Dogs is general public but they have a huge thirst for knowledge. I think that's something that the television companies do not always understand when they continually only consider canine programmes that have a comical slant on dogs – there is a definite need for a serious dog training programme!
Mary had been planning for some months to have another puppy and during October the opportunity arrived.
This was a repeat litter and puppies from the previous breeding were absolutely stunning so Mary had no hesitation in saying 'yes'. And they say that things are meant to be: some months prior Mary had decided that the next puppy was going to be called Levi and she was going to register it as Blue Jeans. Then when Mary went down to Harwich to look at the litter and make her choice it was quite unbelievable that - unbeknown to Mary - Paul Anderson had named one of the puppies Levi.
And I think that if I said Mary was upset this would be an understatement as on the Wednesday just two days later, she was due to fly to the USA for a week. Oh, I had better mention of course that although she is renowned for her brown and whites, Mary now has a blue merle.
Mary had a great time in the USA.
Mary adores puppies and she loves doing her bit of training in the mornings with them and this puppy is an absolutely little cracker. She does just 15 to 20 minutes training each morning with him in the living room, nothing too strenuous and just enough to get the basics in while he is still young and impressionable, and less than a week after arriving home from the USA she had a Cabaret Evening in Cwmbran which had been arranged by Annette Crewe. As usual, this was a sell-out event with around 200 people in the audience and Mary decided to do just 10 or 15 minutes with Levi. Then she repeated this two days later when she did a Cabaret for Andy Moxham in Bristol. Again it was a sell-out with around 200 in the audience and little Levi was absolutely stunning. No lead and collar, 200 people sitting around the working area and he was totally focused on Mary showing off the bits he had learned during his sessions in the mornings. There was certainly a look of amazement on the faces of the people in the audience and I don't know if they actually believed that so much could be achieved in such a short time.
After this, Mary was ring manager at the Rugby DTC Christmas Agility Show and spent a week down at Olympia at the Kennel Club Olympia Agility Stakes Finals where Mary's husband Dave is the event organiser on behalf of the Kennel Club and Pedigree, then it was a family Christmas at home.
Prior to Christmas, Mary's new book came out of course and it has already proved to be a runaway success. There must be thousands of dog training enthusiasts who received it as a Christmas present; it is on sale in America, Australia, New Zealand and has already been reprinted into German, Dutch and Japanese would you believe!
The other news on the merchandise front is that there is a new video and DVD out called 'An Evening with Mary Ray'. This was filmed at a Cabaret Evening she did at the City of Birmingham Championship Show in September. She has the latest Crufts 2005 Mack & Mabel routine on it plus the ever-popular Glenn Miller routine and in the early part of the film, she demonstrates puppy training with a puppy she only met that day for the first time and the results she achieved with the clicker are quite stunning. Some of the people who have viewed it say this is the best video she has made yet.
Mary tries not to take too much on during the early part of the year as she likes to stay focused on Crufts. She will be in the Main Ring again performing her new routine just before Best in Show on the Sunday night, plus she has qualified for both the Dog and Bitch Championship Obedience competitions.
Anyway, let's hope Mary can show them there is a better, alternative method.
Of course, the downside of travelling to Russia is that Dave had to apply for visas but you cannot apply for a visa unless you have an official invitation which had to be sent over from Moscow. Also the Russian Embassy will not take cheques or credit cards so it was a personal visit or a postal order at £30 each plus post office charges plus recorded delivery there and back which means that visa costs come out at not much less than £50 each and that, put together with the fact that there are no budget flights to Moscow, means that it's an expensive trip!
Mary has also taken a booking to do a routine and a demonstration at the All Winners Show in Amsterdam on 25/26 November. Having travelled the dogs by plane a couple of times last year and suffered the totally over the top 'jobsworth' procedure and horrendous cost, they will be driving up to Amsterdam which believe it or not is probably closer travelling via Harwich than to go to Mary's latest booking at Fort William in Scotland! Mary hasn't been to Scotland for a long time so on Tuesday 19 September she has a Cabaret Evening followed by a training day on the Wednesday. So, if you're within striking distance, that's the place to be in September and further details are on the Events page.
The next news item will be after Crufts now. Mary is well into practising her new routine which is to the music 'All That Jazz' from the West End hit Chicago and as you will see from the Events page she is going to have a pretty busy time as usual at Crufts. Dave will have his normal role, organising some of the events and being the senior commentator for Agility, Obedience, Flyball and Heelwork to Music.
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