Loot was an unplanned addition to the family after I was grieving the loss of my puppy Wren. He is my first border collie and of course has a whole new world to teach me about.
I often say that Loot is a golden retriever in a border collie body with his over-the-top adoringness of all people. We spent the majority of our first year together working on being able to eat food at home and in different environments, and learning to keep calm when people look at him. It's still a work in progress!
He is a BIG THINKER type of border collie who needs things broken down into the smallest of smallest pieces so he doesn't worry about knowing the answer.
We are just stepping into the agility competition world, and hopefully someday he will be able to step foot in the obedience ring as well.
Ginny was a visitor to my house that I ended up "stealing" to be mine. She has fabulous happy boings and fantastic snuggling. She reminds me a lot of her amazing aunt Zumi and of course, brings a lot of her own unique traits to the table as well.
Ginny is an eager worker but lower in energy than many of my previous tollers. Bringing out that speed is a big goal of ours for agility.
She is also quite nervous around people so we are approaching trial prep for obedience carefully and slowly. Ginny will tell me if she will ever be able to handle the competition ring and I'll do my best to listen!
Freya Kitty is a Maine Coon that loves to eat and thus loves to train. She was picked out because I always wanted a fun cat to train, but realized I didn't want an actual high energy cat who would need a lot of "work" to keep fulfilled.
Freya meets that goal! She loves to be involved, but isn't actually going to break any speed records in her work! Her cattness comes out often in desires to just rub me or the targets instead.
Freya is proud to say that she is the only cat to have earned her TEAM Obedience level 1 title!
Freya is also proud to be an FIP Warrior.
Lance was my first dog. And unlike many people I know who fell into dog training because they needed to learn all they could to help their project dog, Lance was a perfect first dog. A perfect dog all around.
He introduced me to the world of dogs sports and patiently taught me how to train, and retrain behaviors to hold up in trial environments.
He LOVED to train and even loved to trial. The bigger the trial environment, the more excited he was to show off to the crowd. Lance adored an audience and he turned heads for his happy prance and creativity in the ring.
It took us a while to get into the groove in obedience in terms of qualifying, as he had to patiently let me retrain all the things.
I didn’t even know where proper heel position was when we first started, and have fond memories of Lance forging almost a body length ahead, but looking back over his shoulder at me the entire time with a huge grin.
Despite our learning curve, we managed to be the #3 obedience corgi in the country 2 years in a row. Unfortunately, an injury happened right before his 2nd National Obedience Invitational and also crushed my hopes of earning his OTCH.
Lance achieved his UDX, OM2, and 50pts plus all needed wins towards his OTCH in AKC obedience. Lance also competed in CDSP obedience earning his OTCH-C, WCRL rally earning multiple level 3 championships, and a brief stint in AKC rally earning his RE. In agility Lance primarily competed in NADAC and was close to earning his championship before his injury.
10/9/14 - 4/23/21
Zumi left us suddenly in her sleep at 6yrs old with no cause found. She was the most thrilling partner I've ever had. Zumi loved to work and play hard and her antics cracked me up on a daily basis.
She wasn't the most confident girl in life, but her desire to do ALL the things was strong. Zumi actively competed in obedience, rally, and agility. She was teaching me how to work with dogs who get overly aroused, yet are also a bit nervous with people pressure!
In obedience, she earned her AKC CDX title and CDSP CDX-C title. She had just started competing in utility and earned her first leg before the pandemic hit and we never made it back in the ring before saying goodbye. In rally she earned her AKC RA and WCRL RL3 before we focused on obedience. The obedience ring was hard for her with the people pressure, but she loved to show the world how obedience can be done with speed, precision, and just a little bit of squealing.
In agility, she competed in USDAA and UKI and earned her first championship title! Zumi was FAST and had no problem keeping up with the border collies. She was on her way to doing really big things in agility as I tried to up my handling game to keep up with her. I miss this dog more than can possibly be imagined.
10/31/08 - 11/13/20
Vito was my special dog who struggled greatly with anxiety issues in daily life and in the competition world. He taught me a lot about how to motivate dogs and help those with ring stress.
Vito had the most success in conquering his anxiety and motivation issues in the agility ring. He primarily competed in USDAA and UKI agility, earning multiple championship titles in both organizations.
In obedience we continued to work towards finding the right plan to help him feel happy in the ring, and were pretty successful in lower key environments like CDSP! In CDSP obedience Vito earned his UD-C, and in AKC obedience he earned his CD, PCDX, and RE. In WCRL rally he had his RL3.
In life, Vito was most happy once my first child was born and Vito could stay where ever she was. He no longer had to choose between his horrible car anxiety and his severe separation anxiety. He went from going almost everywhere with me that was legally allowed, to being a homebody and loving it.
Vito was the most talkative boy when happy and did the best dancing ever for butt rubs!
11/27/19 - 11/14/20
Wren I only got to know a short time before she passed due to lymphoma at the tender age of 11 months. She was the world's happiest girl who loved spending time with her people more than anything else. She was the perfect family dog and was introducing my daughter to the love of dogs.
Service Dogs in Training
I worked at a service dog organization for over 10 years as well as being a volunteer foster.
I had the joy of personally training several hundred service dogs in training of a variety of breeds. Labs, poodles, and collies to adorable tiny terriers, spaniels, and even a schipperke.
Several I personally "puppy raised" from puppies all the way through their final training and until they moved on to their client. I also served as a foster for several more dogs who needed evaluations of potential issues in a home environment, or just a break from the kennel life if they were in for final training.
And many hundreds of dogs I worked with during their "final training" over a period of several weeks to months as I trained the skills they would need to become an eager service dog partner.
The last few years working with the service dog organization I switched roles and went to training their fosters how to help them grow into confident and well-mannered adults.
Every dog I work with teaches me something new about training and I will always smile as I think about their individual stories.
Stories that continue to accumulate as I remain an active foster!