I am originally from Minnesota and was born an animal lover. We got our first family dog when I was eight years old after begging and pleading for a year. Smokey was adopted from the Humane Society as a four month-old black tri puppy. Smokey matured to exhibit Border Collie-esque behavior both in stature and intelligence. She went everywhere with me.
We lived in the city and spent our time running and jumping things; shrubs, hedge rows, and garden fences. We walked small walls and terraced borders for fun. She cruised around with me off-leash and the city became our playground. She waited for me at curbs then heeled across the road. She heeled with me as I rode my bike around the streets. She patiently and politely waited with a “STAY” outside of stores while I went in. When I think back to this time, I now recognize that I was actually doing agility with her unknowingly. Smokey got the ball rolling for me and my passion for agility.
My love for horses brought me to Vermont and as a Veterinary Technician and Smokey accompanied me. Around this time, I was introduced to Australian Shepherds and took my dogs to training school because that’s what responsible owners were supposed to do. After some time in obedience classes, I gave formal agility a try and knew I found my niche.
While Agility is my passion I also compete in conformation, competition obedience, and Rally but have yet to find the level of team bonding and confidence building that I find with agility. It gives me the highest gratification of any venue.
I have put the equivalent of 13 Agility Trial Championships on 6 dogs and I won the ASCA National Agility Finals this year. I have competed in AKC, USDAA, CPE, and ASCA agility. I have cultivated my own methods of teaching drive, attention, confidence, impulse control, and independent obstacle performance using a number of tools including toys, food, clickers, and verbal reinforcements. I enjoy teaching agility and the gratification of seeing handler and dog connect and grasp the sport.