Agility is a journey. I wanted to continue to share more of my agility journey to inspire you to keep learning. Be sure to read part 1 of Agility: It’s Your Journey! and Agility: It’s Your Journey! (part 3).
Lessons from my dogs:
I had fallen in love with the Belgian Tervueren. Of course, after Misty, I knew I could cope with a male! I would have to be very firm! My eyes were open right from the start! Once again the joke was on me! Big, gorgeous, loveable Blitz.
Lessons from Blitz:
Females are not easier than males!
Males can be very sensitive!
Some big dogs make the best puppy sitters!
You really must learn more about positive training.
Chase was Pete’s first agility Cavalier. He quickly won out of Starters, and so began one of Pete’s great journeys. He was such a fun little dog. He loved agility – until he didn’t! He was very fast and competitive – until he wasn’t! Thankfully we discovered the cause, so his story had a very happy ending.
Lessons from Chase:
Small dogs can be fast!
It is possible for a husband and wife to share the same hobby!
A dip in performance could be the result of a physical problem.
Corncobs can get stuck and don’t show up on X-Ray.
When your baby is in critical condition, a lot of house cleaning gets done!
Jet was my first agility Cavalier. We bought her so that Pete and I could run in mini-pairs competitions together. Jet began the Pelynka Dynasty. At one time, almost all the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels competing well in British Agility came from this exceptional little girl, Dykson Pansy of Pelynka. One early piece of advice I had with Jet was to, “Slow her down on the contacts!” Can you imagine that today! Thankfully, I didn’t take it!
Lessons from Jet:
The feeling of an immediate and unbreakable bond.
How scary it can be to rear two wonderful litters of puppies.
The true meaning of “Great dog, shame about the handler!”
The grit and determination to become better.
What it feels like to run at Crufts and Olympia.
How to cope with pressure on the line!
That your heart breaks each and every time.
I knew Pete had truly caught the agility bug when he broke down at an agility trial in England and came home with a rescue Border Collie. We’ll never know how his life began but he definitely didn’t like children, showed quite a bit of early “resource guarding” of Pete in the early days, and gave us plenty to think about during his 17 wonderful years. Scratch enjoyed agility and gave Pete lots of fun and success in the ring. Not quite championship material, he was often in the top 10% of 200 dog classes never the less.
Lessons from Scratch
It feels good to rescue and give a great dog a good home.
Be careful when you rescue.
Don’t believe everything you are told.
Scratch was NOT good with children.
So many rescue dogs are 18 months old!
Rescue dogs can make very loving and loyal companions.
Nicson was one of three puppies from Jet’s first litter. He was big, but not the boldest in the bunch. We spent a lot of time playing with him and teaching him that the big bad world (of our living room) wasn’t so bad really. We were not keeping any of this litter of pups, so Nicson went to our daughter, Nicola. Soon afterward Nicola became a mum (and we became grandparents!) and Nicson discovered he really was just a slow developing but a very bold young pup! He was to prove too much for Nicola’s growing family. So, Nicson came back to us and became Pete’s soul mate and agility partner extraordinaire!
Lessons from Nicson
That the quiet one doesn’t always stay that way!
That it’s best to keep baby strollers out of the path of low flying Cavalier puppies!
That you can progress too quickly.
That taking a back step can take you to the top!
How great it is to share a passion with your husband.
To dream big!
That my husband and his dog were World Class!
That sudden, unexpected loss is unbearable.
Take nothing for granted.
Enjoy every second.
My own puppy from Jet’s second litter. Like his mum and brother, he proved to be one exceptional little dog. Quiz was one of five bouncing healthy puppies. At birth, however, he was the one I had to rub into life. From that moment, he found his way into my heart. We competed at Crufts and Olympia in England. When we came to The USA he took me to AKC and USDAA Nationals. Being part of the same British Agility World Championship team as my husband in France was the highlight of our career.
Lessons from Quiz
Yes, it is OK to choose the puppy that tugs on your clothes and your heartstrings!
That you can conquer nerves.
To dream big!