I have been training and competing in agility since 1998. I learned so much about behavior and training through my own dogs. My first sheltie Zoie taught me so much about agility, patience, and compassion. My next sheltie Ginger retired from her AKC agility career with MACH 4 and numerous other titles in USDAA and NADAC. Ginger was a great teacher-helping me to better understand rescue dogs and their related behaviors. Jive, my 11 year old sheltie, taught me a great deal about behavior training and positive reinforcement. Currently I compete and train in agility with my border collie, Sir Prize. Along with Jive and SirPrize, I share my home with Aidan, a golden/greyhound mix that challenges my training creativity, and Seamus, a rambunctious 2 year old Sheltie.
My love for conditioning was sparked by a training dilemma I had with my border collie’s weave pole performance. He was often not collecting before entering the weaves or “popping” at the end of the poles (the dreaded 10th pole syndrome). After much research I realized that this may not have been caused by a training issue at all, but rather a conditioning one. Specialized exercises helped increase his strength and ability to correctly weave without having to undergo the physical stress of weave pole repetitions. This process helped fuel my desire to keep him as physically fit and injury free as possible so we could play and compete together well into the future. I also saw the need to keep my other aging dogs in shape for a good quality of life well into their senior years. This is what truly began my journey into canine fitness.
But that wasn’t enough for me. As my passion grew, so did the coursework that became available. Amidst the many online classes I participated in, I eventually was led to FitPAWS and the University of Tennessee where I became both a FitPAWS Master Trainer and a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer. These two accomplishments involved completing case studies, examinations, getting firsthand training in Boulder, Colorado and coursework with the University of Tennessee. I continue my hands-on education today by frequently attending small-group intensive training sessions as part of Bobbie Lyons, CCFT K9FitTeam in Oregon as well as pursuing relevant online coursework that can further my understanding of canine conditioning.
Aside from training and competing with my own dogs in agility and teaching canine conditioning to others, I also hold a master’s degree in literacy and teach elementary education.