We are thrilled to introduce this month’s DogLogic Training Team of the Month, Jane, Stella and Tirzah.
Jane really epitomizes what it takes to persevere when the light at the end of the tunnel appears to have gone out! With a very anxious rescue Australian Shepherd dog, Stella (pictured above), Jane began her agility and dog-training journey. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Read on for more of Jane’s remarkable story:
“When we started agility 5 years ago I never realized it was more than dog training. In fact it’s probably 30% dog training and 70% handler training in my case. It’s all about the handler having a solid relationship with your pup so that you know how to communicate in cues, (both verbal and physical), looks and just having that confidence that you both know the game. And of course, having some athletic ability is helpful but not something I really had. All I knew when I started was that my Aussie Rescue, Stella Belle of the Ball needed a job if I was to have any furniture left in one piece in my house.
We started with another trainer, but Stella’s reactivity brought me to DogLogic for a “Control Unleashed” class with Karen. I had been told that perhaps agility was not the sport for Stella. Being determined to get in the ring with Stella, I took a step back to work on Stella’s overall behavior with Karen. That included making the decision to start over with Lynne’s foundation agility class rather than try to continue with what was not
I must admit I was not at all fond of clickers and was skeptical of this new approach. Now I realize it’s a great marker so the dog knows, “Ah I got it right”, as well as teaching me that timing is everything. I quickly learned that Lynne was an excellent teacher of the human part of the team as well as the canine one! It was me that needed to learn more if I wanted Stella to be confident of what I wanted her to do. Some days I think I’m the slow one of the team, but Lynne stays with it until I get it.
I am sure Stella is grateful for Lynne teaching me how to be an ‘honest’ dog handler so I don’t confuse her. After three years of Behavioral, Treibball and Agility training classes, most folks would agree with me that Stella is a different dog when she goes to events. She is not as reactive and goes to work instead of sniff around and worry. Of course, I shouldn’t say work, she goes to play with me.
Last summer a friend made the observation at a trial that I was taking all the fun out of Stella’s runs and making her work. It was showing up as distractions in Stella. I took the information back to Lynne who immediately incorporated even more fun into our sessions. I’m so thankful that I have developed a network of supportive agility friends who pass along observations that Lynne can use to develop training plans for me. It’s not one size fits all training but tailored to what is most appropriate at the time.
Our goal this year is to get that elusive one Q that finishes our Open Titles for Stella. But along the way, we’re planning to be more consistent in our runs before moving up. We’re just now showing signs of being a team in mind and spirit in our agility play.
It’s really hard to balance my job that pays the bills and agility, but we’re in it for the long haul. Stella’s not so sure she’s happy I started a second dog, Tirzah (pictured right) to love in agility though but we will work through that too. Now if I could just clicker train a few people at work.
I’m often been told at agility trials that folks are surprised I stuck it out with Stella. It just took the right team behind us of Karen and Lynne to help us put it all together. We still have more to learn, but we’re making progress, which is all I can ever ask.”
That’s a great story Jane! We’re so glad you stuck with it, as are Stella, Tirzah and all your agility and dog training friends and family here at DogLogic.
We’re still looking for more volunteers to be our “DogLogic Training Team of the Month”. Don’t be shy. Everyone has their own story to tell – whether you are just at the beginning or have been with us for a while. Your friends would love to hear they are not alone!
We have a few questions that we can send to get you started, so no need to worry about writer’s block! Contact Lynne today, we’d love to feature you in a future newsletter.