Did you start agility by taking classes? What were they like and how long was it before your dog started showing confidence on the obstacles?
I started agility at a local AKC club and then moved to a private instructor. I then moved to a different private instructor after a falling out with the first instructor.
What was your dog’s worst obstacle when s/he first started? What did s/he do?
The dog I’m running now refuses to do the “[pause] table” at trials. We are still working on this.
What was your first competition like? Do you remember your 1st time? Was your dog as confident at the competition as s/he was in training?
I was very nervous at my first competition and felt pushed into competing by my first instructor. With my current dog, I was very confident at her first trial.
How long before you knew your dog was competition ready? What behaviors were you looking for?
I knew KK was ready for competition as she could remain focused in the ring, had a great startline stay and could do all [the] obstacles successfully.
What do you find most rewarding about agility? What do you find is most demanding?
I love spending time with my dogs and being with them. [The] most demanding [thing] is the time needed to get to training.
How do you fit training into your life?
I train mostly at home now. I do private lessons monthly with my trainer. Being in a class setting is not for me. I learn more one on one than in a class. I have a mini agility field on my property and my trainer will let me use her field anytime she’s not using it.
Has your dog ever sustained any injuries from agility? What were they and how were they treated?
My first agility dog tore her ACL and it was surgically repaired. Me second agility dog has had both hips replaced (congenital dysplasia) and may get to return to agility by the end of teh year. My current agility dog almost died last summer from two tick diseases and [an] adverse reaction to a steroid injection.
I’m very sorry to hear to about your curent agility dog’s health. I hope she recovers soon. How long will her break be from agility? Do you think the tick diseases will effect her long term performance?
Kalea-Kate (KK) who had the tick diseases returned to agility competition about 6 months after her diagnosis. Her times weren’t as fast when she returned but she has quickly regained her form and is now running the fastest she ever has. They don’t think there will be any long term consequences from the diseases.
For the dog who tore her ACL: How did she do that? After her surgery was there any physical therapy? If so, what did that entail? How long was it before she was back in the ring?
Molly went back to agility probably 6 months after her ACL was repaired. She didn’t do any special rehab. Just passive range of motion and then walking. Please note that she did compete for probably two years after the ACL repair because at the time, I had no desire to compete.
Have you won a title? What title was it and what was your time, class, and jump height?
We have earned many titles. Marley is ranked as the #1 All American in Arkansas.
How did Marley earn the All American title?
Marley is the #1 AKC dog based upon her obedience titles and agility titles. I will forward you the letter from the AKC.
Do you find agility is easier with older or younger dogs? smaller or larger dogs? Do you have any breed preference? What makes them better?
I prefer mixed breed dogs and have been more successful starting them out as a young puppy.
Why did you start agility? What sparked your interest in Dog Sport?
I started agility after seeing a demo and thought it would be a good outlet for my dog’s excessive energy.
This interview was conducted via email.