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Introduction to Dog Training

After 35 years of training and showing horses I decided to try the shorter version. Throughout my life I have always obedience trained my dogs but never for competitions. Thus in 1996 I took my then 12 year old Australian Shepherd, Sydney, to an obedience match with West LA Obedience Training Club, thought it looked like so much fun and entered him in the Canine Good Citizen test, which he passed with flying colors. I sought out a local club, Valley Hills Obedience Club, became a member and offered to help with their club activities. One year later after the passing of Sydney and obtaining another Aussie, Teddy, an owner turn in rescue, I enrolled him in one of their training classes. He had many behavioral issues that had to be addressed first, before he was able to compete. Teddy however, accomplished the AKC and ASCA CDX titles and was beginning to take agility classes as well, but sadly he passed away at 6 years old due to Lymphoma.

I decided to be an Aussie Rescue foster person as I was not ready for another dog just yet, which I did for the following year. I read books, went to many seminars and trials to further my knowledge in dog training. In 2000 I obtained two more rescue Aussies, Casey and Scout and began training them in agility, obedience, herding and a few years later rally. Casey was good at herding, gentle and willing to do the task at hand. He loved the up close busy ranch work and we obtained 10 titles in stock trials, even a few with 65 sheep we had to move around a course. It is amazing to see a breed do what they were bred for and for me, herding is so thrilling. Scout started her competition career at age two, excelled in agility, obedience and rally and between AKC, ASCA and NADAC she has obtained 70 titles to date, including her MACH, two UD’s, her RAE, with just 6 gamble Q’s away from her ASCA ATCH and in the Masters level of ASCA Rally. She also knows about 30 tricks, which I have made a YouTube video. We were still actively competing in agility and ASCA rally, even at 13 1/2 years of age. As long as she was happy and willing to work and play, so was I.

Scusi came into my life in 2012, from a wonderful breeder in New Mexico, Stephanie Shope-McDaniel along with her mother Anne Shope. She is exactly what I was looking for in a new puppy, happy, willing, cute, smart, a joy to be around. We started training on day one and have not looked back since. She excels in agility, herding, obedience, rally and loves, loves to play fetch, especially balls. So far at age 2 she has earned 23 titles in the above sports and is well on her way to achieve many more in the upper classes. She is always a willing partner in whatever venture we have at hand and a great cuddlier when it is all said and done.

In 2005 I was asked to be the beginning obedience and manners class instructor for Valley Hills and then as rally was beginning to be popular, instructed that new class as well. I have a calm personality with the people and dogs enrolled and a good sense of humor, which puts them at ease. I truly love all dogs and they must feel that genuine nature, as they seem to gravitate towards me. The one common thread for new dog owners is that they don’t know how to have fun with their dogs. Especially ones that want to compete in obedience, it is all too serious and matter of fact. I try to get them to “let loose” and play with their dogs. If you see two puppies or any dogs playing it is loud, boastful, running, chasing, goosing, rolling and we as owners need to fit into the dogs world just as much as they have to form to our way of doing things. My training reflects this playful attitude and therefore I have had great results. Regardless of a Q or not, you have to have fun with your canine partner as it is all about making memories.

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