Meet red merle Australian Shepherd “Fairoaks Wikki Wikki Woo” or better known to all as “Wikki.” Named after the quirky 80's hip-hop song by Neucleus "Jam On It"....as well as meaning "fast" in Hawaiian, or wise knowledge if you think of "Wikipedia." It all fits her personality well.
Wikki was born on August 21, 2012. Wikki has a fun discovery story. One day, literally out of the blue, I had a strong desire to call my friend, who was my other dog's breeder, and ask about upcoming puppies. I had not thought about adding another dog to my home until that very moment, so why the urge, right? Anyhow, she said she was not personally doing litters right now, but gave me two names to contact. I looked them up and immediately felt Fairoaks had the style of dog I preferred. So I contacted that breeder a few weeks later to ask about the litters mentioned on the website. Deposit and application sent. As time got closer I felt "my puppy" was in the younger litter. The breeder had 2 pups from each litter open to me that would fit my sport dog needs. Wikki was one of them. On pick-up day, the breeder showed me the two from the older litter. I passed on them, wasn't feeling it for them. Then we went to the house that had the other litter. My eyes immediately went to and never left little Wikki. She was climbing the gate to come to me....no fear, tons of spunk and all about being with me. Her litter mates were just as cute but it was Wikki who was always meant to be! Now, the closer to the story.....the date I first called my breeder friend out of the blue - August 21, 2012! The very day Wikki was born!!!!
As a pup, Wikki was the loudest, most obnoxious puppy I have EVER met from the second she entered the house! I think my other two girls thought I was nuts and strongly suggested I send her back ASAP! Not a chance! Within a week, even after the utter exhaustion of starting to raise this little punk, I knew without a doubt she was my heart dog! You know, that special once in a lifetime dog that none will ever match. She was never easy, but she was a lot of fun and challenged every level of puppy raising skills I possessed. She was brave, but cautious, a quick learner/thinker and willing to try anything. Most of all, she bonded so deeply with me that our "team" was/is by far one of the best I have ever had.
Wikki's story gets deeper. At 6 months old I noticed she had developed an odd skin rash. Off to the vet we went. Meds given (blah). She got a little better but it did not go away. I was not comfortable with the next treatment so I switched vets. We started a food allergy regimen. It helped a little, but something really seemed off to me, more than just allergies. That vet was stumped too, and sort of left things hang, so I started to work with the holistic vet that comes to the club for canine spinal manipulation therapy. She made some changes to what I was doing and she got a little better again, but still not good. After all that I insisted on bloodwork. Ding, ding, big liver concern. After many, many, many tests, we found out that Wikki Woo has a very rare disease called Copper Storage Disease (Wilson's Disease in people). Rare in people, super rare in dogs, and never recorded in an Aussie before. She was now truly 1 in a trillion! Today, at her young age of 4, her condition is managed. Not curable, but with all the management she should live a full, good life.
Wikki has no idea that she is special that way. She is everything typical of an Aussie. She gets tired faster than her peers and can't handle the heat for as long, but I have her back to manage her special needs. She knows her food is different than her sisters' food. She knows she cannot have the same foods and treats that her sisters' get. But she also knows that she and her mom got this and she will always be ok. She may not be the fastest dog in her sports due to her "broken" liver, but the heart she gives to all she does certainly makes up for it. And she is nothing short of a sassy punk. I call her my scrappy junkyard dog because she can get quite intense at times in certain situations, but she is so full of life that you can't help but love her. And yes, she is one heck of a cool looking dog, and she knows it.....Doggie Covergirl and Glamour Shots ought to be a sport!
To top it off, after 4 other herding dogs over my years that didn't care for the sport, this little pistol is finally an actual "herding dog" I can work with!!! Herding is her sport of choice. She is also an active agility dog. She has a fair sense of the standard obedience exercises (she and mom get bored with being too obedient!). She has her AKC CAT title in Lure Coursing. Wikki and I have also participated in most of the club’s events – Holiday parade, sports show, MANY demos, State Fair World of Dogs, etc, the list goes on and on. Wikki is my true partner in crime in the dog world. Oh, and, she is my best massage demo dog. She comes with me to all the massage clinics I instruct. She melts into my lap as I demo how to better massage a dog.
Wikki Woo is one heck of a special dog. None will match her zest for life in my book. She is young and still learning all of her sports. We will have a lot of cool adventures together in the future. She has taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined in the dog health world, which in turn has taught me so much more about my health and view on life in general. She is not only "my dog" she is my teacher, the kind of teacher you remember until the day you die. You Rock Wikki Woo!
Chela, a Border Collie mix, came to us as a rescue dog July 31st 2012. We were her fourth home when she was one and a half years old. Her previous home was on a large farm in Illinois that gave her lots of room to run. However, she had little interaction to keep her productive and spent nights in a metal shed where she most likely developed her intense fear of thunder storms.
We brought her to her forever home in the city near a busy road (yes, she is also afraid of cars and buses), taught her to walk with a leash and to relieve herself outside rather than on the carpet, and started on obedience.
Three short years later….
Thank goodness for pharmacology, the vet, thunder jacket, Pheromone spray, behavior management techniques, and tons of patience. We are both learning to work through her anxiety.
Chela’s favorite activity is chasing tennis balls. She never tires of it! She will also eagerly run and jump for Frisbees flying through the air. She has lots of fun in agility although she has a hard time containing her excitement so she regularly drops the bars (and sometimes the entire standards) while running full speed. She loves obedience and helps to demonstrate new behaviors for the Beginner Obedience classes. Chela was the winner of the Annual August 2015 Super Heel Down! It is a competition among the twelve monthly winners in the club and is a great honor. We are so proud of her. She has come so far!
~ Sue Bronson
Maggie May was an impulse buy. At a time when I was feeling way too familiar with the couch, as a result of my 13 year old Vizsla’s retirement from dog sports, I got an e-mail with three rescue puppies available for adoption immediately. She was part Labrador, part Border collie and part beagle. With the brains of a Border collie, the devotion of a Lab and the obvious cuteness of a beagle, how could I go wrong? A perfect performance dog.
So Maggie May joined the Emmons’ household. At only 6-weeks old, 3-year old River became the mother she needed and provided an invaluable source of training that I am eternally grateful for. Formal training started at 5-months in obedience and was followed closely with agility and then flyball. She got her first obedience leg before her first birthday with her CD title following soon after. She has her first titles in flyball and if it wasn’t for the huge obstacle she has, she’d be working on agility titles too. (That obstacle being her handler.) Puppy brains are like sponges and I’m so glad I got her going in everything quickly. She loves it all.
In retrospect I should have also thought about the energy of the Border collie, the free spirit of the Lab and the nose of the beagle. But in the end we got a pretty good combination of it all, with maybe a tad too much beagle nose.
Owned and loved by Evan and Sam Emmons
Hi, I’m River. I am an Italian Spinone, (not exactly ice cream, but just as sweet). Being selected to be featured with all these awesome agility dogs is quite an honor. I must admit, agility isn’t my first love. Fact is I just do it because my dad asks me to. My breed characteristics say that I am “cautious” by nature, so racing through tunnels or walking a skinny dog walk are things to be taken s l o w l y.
My passion is hunting with my dad. Dad doesn’t hunt but I do all the work so as long as he comes along, I’m happy. I’m also crazy about lure coursing, so in case you mistake my careful execution of agility obstacles as lack of energy, come and see me chase that plastic bag.
I have an obedience CD and a RE and I’m a registered therapy dog. I visit nursing homes and assisted living centers a few times a week with my mom. I love visiting all my friends at Sarah Chudnow. Agility training has made me a more confident and secure dog. If I ever decide to compete, I won’t break any records, but I bet you’ll be cheering for me because I’m so much fun to watch.
Owned and loved by Sam and Evan Emmons
Hi! I’m Boots Bootstrap Bill, known to my friends as “Boots”! I am a Miniature Schnauzer (yes,“pure bred”, despite the fact that when my fur is long it gets curly!). I got my middle name, Bootstrap Bill, from “Pirates of the Caribbean”, which is fitting, ‘cause I am a “charming rascal”. I came to live with my human, Nancy (now Mom), when I was just 7 months old. My previous owner was a single mom with 3 kids under the age of 5 who couldn’t understand why I wasn’t house-trained yet—I guess nobody ever told her that not every dog whines, scratches, or barks at the door, ‘cause I was just fine as long as someone paid attention! So I came into Schnauzer rescue, and was fostered by Mom and Nick. Mom saw a fun and loving pup, and Nick decided that, even though I was a puppy, I would make a good brother, so here I stayed! I am over 6 now, and I think we all make a great ‘pack’. Mom likes to say that I am her ‘snuggle’ dog, since I’m the one who likes to give kisses and lie (or sit, or stand [especially if she’s watching the Packers]) on her lap. I do miss having little kids around, and am sometimes too eager to go and greet them—but I just want to give kisses and play, honest!
As you know from Nick’s profile, in our house we foster dogs that come into schnauzer rescue. Since I joined the household, my primary job is to teach the new dogs how to play nicely. I also think it’s my job to chide Nick when he’s too rough with a foster, although Mom keeps trying to tell me that I should leave that to her (something about who wears the “black and white stripes”, whatever that means!). I just want everyone to get along! I am a typical terrier-type dog: squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and assorted critters are not safe in my yard! Since we live next door to a couple Border Collies, I decided to pick up their “stalking” behavior—which is very amusing to everyone except my target (usually poor Nick!). Mom takes great care of me, even getting me regular massages and chiropractic adjustments so that I can stay active and agile. I always like to go first (before Nick) for massage, though, since he gets all those smelly oils that I don’t like!
I like to run fast, so my favorite canine sports are lure coursing and agility. I tried flyball, but it’s hard to catch the ball when you approach the box with your head turned and your eyes closed! When I’m running agility I sometimes have to bark at Mom to tell her to hurry up with her commands, or that she’s in ‘my space’ (I like to change that definition frequently, too, just to have fun with her)! And sometimes she has to remind me to slow down so I make all my contacts! As you can see in the picture, I am a great jumper: I like to almost ‘levitate’ over the jumps! Mom, Nick, and I started going to trials in the last part of 2012; I have almost completed my ‘coursing ability’ title, and I discovered I really, really like agility trials—I run faster than ever! I agree with my brother Nick: agility and lure coursing are some of the best fun you can have on four paws----and you don’t get in trouble for it! Well, I’m off to see if there are any squirrels to chase in the yard---see you at the agility (or lure) course!
Zach is a four year-old golden retriever who lives with a five year old rescue Great Pyrenees named Rose. He enjoys taking long walks and playing with his toys every day.
Zach has his RN, RA, RE, CGC, CD and is currently training for his Graduate Novice and Open titles. He also is TDI certified and visits a nursing home-assisted living center every month.
Zach loves the challenge of the agility course. He is a pretty confident dog and likes all of the obstacles, especially tunnels.
~ Roger Mankiewicz
This is Carmen. Carmen is my 14-year old Border Collie/Aussie. We got her when she was 8-weeks old, and this was our first journey with the Border Collie breed.
She was pretty much a handful from the beginning, especially living in an apartment and having two other rather large dogs. She always tried to be the Alpha with my German Shepherd/Rottweiler, but did not get very far. Nice attempt though. Eventually, we moved into a home with a half acre lot and Carmen was in 7th Heaven with a yard that large! She never wanted to come into the house, which was fine with us!
We did not know much about Agility and never thought of signing her up, until we got Phoenix. By then Carmen was 12 and thought we would give her a try. It was the best decision we have ever made! This little girl is so happy, and I think this has brought back her inner puppy. She is having a blast! She recently competed and won two Qualifying ribbons! She even did the A-frame without an issue.
Whoever said you can't and old dog new tricks? She also just recently passed her CGC and TDI testing. Carmen has never been one to fail at anything, or complain about it.
Carmen loves the water, and having a ball thrown into the lake to bring back will keep her entertained all day. To me, she is one very amazing old girl!
~ Kathy Gibowski
Meet red merle Australian Shepherd “Fourwinds Denali Zeni’s Legacy” or better known to all as “Zeni.” Zeni was born on June 17, 2006. From the moment I laid eyes on her litter, I knew that she was “my dog.” She was certainly meant to be as I was the last one in on one of these pups and she was the one “left,” not totally spoken for already.
As a pup, Zeni was the EASIEST dog I have ever had the pleasure of training. She was (is) highly intelligent, calm, cool and collected…did I mention intelligent? Zeni picked up on ALL training right from the start. She even seemed to come potty trained. As we moved from class to class she excelled wonderfully. Instructors kept saying, “what a little prodigy!” She took to every dog sport she tried. She is a total focused worker bee. SHE will do any job I give to her. Zeni’s work list, or maybe I should call it “play list” includes: Agility, obedience, agility, herding, agility, flyball (she tried it, liked it, but mom ran out of available play time), agility, lure coursing, agility, umm, and agility. Zeni and I have also participated in most of the club’s events – Holiday parade, sports show, MANY demoes, State Fair World of Dogs, team obedience, the list goes on and on. Zeni is my ever-faithful little worker. I can count on her to perform at any moment.
One of “my” more recent cool Zeni stories is about her debut performance on Team Obedience at the State Fair this year. The team practiced 2 times a week for months. And for months we worked on trying to get Zeni’s drop on a recall correct. She would drop anywhere on a dime but she was not releasing from the sit at the line. No matter what we tried, she had issues. Then every once in a while she’d give us a good one. She did the exercise perfect everywhere except with the team. Come performance day I was SO nervous that she would blow it for the team…the other dogs were fairly to nicely solid. Well, after all the issues, my girl came through as she typically does. Zeni had a rock solid release, down, front and heal! She nailed it!!!
Let’s talk about Zeni’s agility skills. She is the most precise, perfectionist of a dog I have ever seen and certainly ever experienced. These tendencies forced me to become a very “honest” handler…meaning, I have to be direct and correct in all my handling skills or she just stops/slows down to wait for me to be clear. We became a well-oiled team. Running courses is a breeze with Zeni as she and I are on the same page 97% of the time. The only downfall to this perfectionism is that she tends to move a little slow when signals are not clear. Not slow like she won’t qualify, but more like slow that she can get smoked by a fast, fairly precise competitor. The beauty of her precision though is that we always qualify and often get high in trial because she has zero faults, which gets more points than faster with faults.
This leads to the brightest shining moment ever in “my life” (so far). In September of 2011, Zeni and I received a High In Trial at the Australian Shepherd Club of America National Championship. My girl was the best of the best of Aussies at her level in the entire nation!!! Talk about a legacy, whew! My heart could not be any prouder of the work Zeni and I do. She’s “my girl.”
Wyoh is an Aussie Shepherd/Border Collie mix and she is going to be three in January 2013. She started at MDTC in Puppy I class. Then, moved on to Puppy II. After that, she started obedience training. She didn't have much patience for obedience training but as she matured, she eventually moved up to Beginning Novice which ended up being a good fit for her.
She is not the type of dog to have anything to do with a stranger walking up to her and touching her and whatever you do, don't stare her down. Her herding instincts take over and she barks to subdue you into submission like she would livestock. This disappoints humans because she is so cute and all they want to do is pet and cuddle her.
MDTC has helped me realize that this is her nature and all dogs are different. So, unless you are in her pack, there will be no cuddles and kisses for you. There have been a number of people at MDTC that have broken the barrier. They get the "Wyoh Wiggles"… for treats of course. They might even get to sneak in a pet or a paw for a hand shake.
She has also worked her way through the Agility program and is now in Novice. Agility has been so great for her. Her confidence level has really improved which also helps with the aversion to strangers issue. Agility is her main MDTC activity now and she seems to really enjoy herself.
When I think back and see how far she has come, I realize I could never have done it without MDTC. The socialization with people and other dogs has been instrumental in overcoming her shyness. This is important for a dog that has been labeled with fear aggression.
Hi! I’m Nick Sifu Mungu, known to my friends as “Nick”!
I am a miniature schnauzer/poodle mix, although I look and act mostly like schnauzer. I have a “Mohawk” on my head that totally suits my personality, ‘cause I can be quite an opinionated fellow. I came to live with my human “mom”, Nancy, just before my second birthday. I had been in two other homes before that, with the second home labeling me “willfully disobedient” for doing things that, honestly, any young pup with any zest would be guilty of doing! But Nancy saw my picture from schnauzer rescue and knew I was just a dog with Personality (capital intended)! Since I am over 10 now, I guess we’re a good match! Nancy likes to say that I rescued her as much as she rescued me, ‘cause her life was way too boring before I came along! Most of all, I try to teach her the value of “playtime” and living in the moment, and when she’s had a bad day at work, I try to do something really silly to make her laugh!
In our house, we foster dogs that come into schnauzer rescue (although they are not always schnauzers), and I help show the new dogs the ins and outs of being a loved pet—and of course, that I am the king of the roost. One of our previous fosters, Boots, never went to a new home----Nancy and I decided to keep him! You will hear more about him at a later time---now more about ME!
I am a typical terrier-type dog: squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and assorted critters are not safe in my yard! I also love any and all bones, puzzle toys with treats, and stuffed toys (I love to remove the stuffing). Nancy takes great care of me, even getting me regular massages and chiropractic adjustments so that I can stay active and agile. I’d like to take this moment to tell Tracy “thanks” for putting up with all my grumbling and growling and snapping when she gives me massages----I really do appreciate all you do (I just don’t like not being in control)!
My favorite canine sports are lure coursing and agility; I tried flyball but really don’t like retrieving balls. When I’m running agility, you’ll often hear me barking at Nancy, telling her to hurry up with her commands and not be so confusing in her handling! As you can see in the picture, I love tunnels a lot. I run a little slower at agility now that I’m older, but I’m just being careful with my footing! In lure coursing, I haven’t lost a step, and I still do ‘hot laps’ around the yard on a regular basis. I plan on doing agility and lure coursing for many years to come, ‘cause it’s some of the best fun you can have on four paws----and you don’t get in trouble for it! Well, I’m off to see if it’s time for dinner yet---see you at the agility course!
Meet Frankie...my 2 year old precious pup.
After a long search on petfinder.com, I brought Miss Frankie into my life in January of 2011. It was the day after the Super Bowl....and without telling a sole, I got into my car with my 2 GSD's and drove 5 hours across the states to a small shelter in Indiana. I wasn't sure what I would find or how this pup's temperament would be, but I just knew I had to go. The moment I laid eyes on Frankie I was certain she was the one for us. I put this cute little girl in a crate and drove back home through major snow storms with my K9 family.
Frankie quickly settled into my family and fell in complete love with my GSD's Frankie is the funniest little dog. She is courageous, goofy, a very hard worker bee and is truly a one of a kind dog. Frankie has been enrolled in agility classes since last November. She is a true natural in the sport and has plenty of drive and obedience.
She has so many cute and silly little habits and likes to get into mischief. She bounces as if she's part kangaroo, she smiles and talks to you all the time and she even helps pick up her toys.
Everyone asks me "what is she? My guess was Papillon, Aussie and Sheltie. I recently had her DNA done, and well, she supposedly is a 13lbs. Whippet, Sheltie, Italian Greyhound, Aussie, and St Bernard.....
Guess her St. Bernard really shows, but you can be the judge of that by her picture.
Remi, was our first English Setter. We've always had German Wirehaired Pointers (still do), but we had heard what great hunting dogs Setters were, that we wanted to add one to our family. Plus, our daughter was leaving for college, so Remi was her "replacement". Lil' Remi Wingmaster, best known as Remi (with an i ) was born April 3, 2006 she joined our pack of three Wirehairs 8 weeks later. She really did help me 'keep it together' when Teri left for school.
Remi enjoys many sports, but her all time favorite is upland bird hunting. She was very easy to train, and at 6-months old, was pointing and retrieving like a pro. She loves to run, but rarely 'outruns' her nose and slams into the most beautiful points at the merest hint of a grouse or pheasant. It is truly a partnership hunting with her.
Remi never formally trained at MDTC like her adopted sister Daisy, but when the TDI tryouts rolled around last year, I thought I'd give it a try. She did really well, and passed! We go on nursing home visits where my daughter works, and the residents really enjoy petting her silky Setter fur.
Remi always looked sad when I'd leave for Flyball with Daisy, or Obedience with Gunnar, so in January of this year we started Agility. She seems to really like it! She's used to being off leash from hunting, and she's quite a 'velcro' dog, so I don't have a problem with her running off. She is 6 years old, so she saves her 'zoomies' for at home, making my training experience a lot easier.
She's so willing to try things for me: "Climb that A-Frame?... Okay, if you say so..."; "Jump? Piece of cake."; "Teeter? Now, Mom, that's just a little scary!"
We went in our first Fun Trial this Spring and had a blast! Remi did everything I asked, and even stuff I didn't ask she figured out for me. I kept getting in her way, but she sometimes still did the obstacle. It was great that it was a fun trial, because we could get hints from the 'gallery' as we were goofing up, which makes the learning process easier than trying to remember the mistake and asking later. The weave poles were our biggest challenge. They were set up on the north end of the field, and there were a couple of Robins looking for food in the lawn. Remi would weave, point, weave, point... not the most fluid weave of the day! Ha. She thought it was great fun, combining two of her favorite games!
I'm glad we decided to add an English Setter to our family. Remi is all 'go' when she's hunting or playing at Agility, but she's quite the lady at the nursing home, and a big cuddle bug at home. One of her favorite ways to unwind, is to head downstairs, curl up on the the couch with my husband, and have a beer and watch wrestling.
Meet Ares'. He's a 3 year old sable German Shepherd Dog. I got him when he was 7 1/2 weeks old and was so excited to have a puppy again. He's my third GSD and by far the most challenging! I wasn't sure we would get through his puppy years unscathed. We learned quickly the benefits of crate training after he ate our linoleum kitchen floor and computer router!
We joined MDTC for puppy classes when Ares' was 4 months old. I'll never forget the look of terror on my classmates' faces when we played pass the puppy and they had to hold this very strong, rambunctious, headstrong puppy!
I knew I wanted to show in agility and possibly obedience and we still hope to attain that goal. For those of you who know Ares', you know he is a very reactive dog, so he's a work in progress. Ares' has come SO far from our beginner days of agility. I had to wear leather gloves to class to save my hands from "leash burn." I was also sore every week from this 100 pound dog pulling me in every direction! If it wasn't for Tracy's encouragement, I think we would have given up. I'm so glad we stuck it out because we both love agility so much!!!
Ares' is very true to his breed. He loves having a job to do and is extremely loyal to his family. It makes him crazy if "his" kids are to far away from him. His protective instinct makes him want to be right with them.
While he is far from many people's definition of a "perfect" dog, he's everything I ever wanted and I wouldn't change a thing about him!!!
A “Boy” and His Dog
Rat Terriers are commonly mistaken for Jack Russell’s. They were introduced to the U.S. in the 1890’s. The name “Rat Terrier” came about when the White House was infested with rats, the President unleashed his dogs and the rats were gone.
Taffy came to our home in September of 2005. She was a rescue dog that as a puppy “hunted” electrical cords. She was nine months old and ready to play with our two children. Rachel loved that she could dress Taffy in the many outfits that we had acquired. Adam, on the other hand was not so sure about Taffy. Taffy was spirited and wanted to make her way to the top of the social ladder. You can tell that Jeff and Taffy are kindred spirits.
If it is 7:00 o’clock in the evening it is walking time around here. It is as though she can tell time. She will stare at Jeff until he says those magic words, “Do you want to go on a walk?” Jeff, Dale, Patrick, and their dogs, Taffy, Magic, and George have they daily bonding time. Rat Terriers love nothing more than to run freely in an open field. She loves to run circles around the other dogs as if she is herding her pack.
Taffy has two speeds-fast and couch potato. You dare not sit on a blanket in our house before checking to see if she is hibernating under it. She also loves to snuggle up to you for warmth (you’d like to think it is because she adores you) or she wants a massage.
Dog agility was the best thing Jeff could have done for the both of them. Jeff has made lots of new friends while building his endurance. Taffy is being challenged to learn new things. Rat Terriers are known to be quick (just try to grab a piece of food before she gets it), alert (she can hear the food hit the floor from the other room), and agile (she can leap over a chair to beat you to the dropped food).
Taffy hails from the hills of North Carolina. She is a pure bred; I like to think of her as the hillbilly version. Taffy has one ear that hangs at half staff, unless she is on the alert. She has a funny under bite and is missing a few teeth. She has scrawny legs but has a face that has big brown eyes that can draw you in. We don’t need to hang all of her ribbons she has won in agility to show she is a winner because without a word spoken she has already won our hearts.
Life with Ruby is a joyful adventure! On April 6, 2010 this little bundle of joy was born. The breeder knew I wanted a red Doberman. I had first pick of the litter. When I first saw a picture of the litter I knew right away but the breeder made me wait to meet them. Six weeks later I walked in the door and out of the four reds, I picked Ruby right up. Three weeks later she came home, wrapping me around her little paws ever since. Who knew this little, fat, chubby puppy would turn into one of the best things in my life.
Ruby’s registered name is "Ruby Lady of Racin Storm" - big name to live up to. She sure can live up to the “Racin Storm” part of her name. I knew we would need outlets for all that energy. We started our adventure with puppy class at MDTC; in fact, we went through two puppy sessions. Ruby didn't like the puppy play. She would hide behind the flyball mats. During puppy class they brought out a few pieces of agility equipment. This is where Ruby had the best time: that little stinker would even do the chute. Next we moved onto obedience class; and thus the challenge began. This is where I found out that Ruby can be very head strong. Getting this “Racin Storm” to do a down was almost impossible. To this day she still has trouble with any exercise that insists she be still. Her best exercise was the stand; she can manage to stand still, just not sit or down. It took us four to five times to get out of beginner obedience class. Sue, Mark and Rick were all saints to put up with us. Then one day it was like a light bulb when on and she figured out what I wanted……but she still likes to do things her own way.
Next we tried out for flyball and made the cut. Ruby enjoys flyball and has learned a lot over the past year. And hopefully some day she will learn to be an actual team player. Personally, I wish she would learn to slow down when returning the ball to me. Having this “Racin Storm” fly at me, at what looks like 100 miles an hour, would scare the life out of anyone! I can only image what it is like for the person on the other side of the box. When she is running at me full speed I think of bowling; I am the pin and she is the ball coming to knock me down. She has knocked me down on more than one occasion. The bottom line is, we are both enjoying ourselves, making it all worth it. Karen, Mari and Sarah have also been saints to put up with us for this long.
Next I thought we would try agility; notice I said “try” agility. Ruby has her own style of agility. I call it "Ruby freestyle agility." On the agility course, you never know what to expect with Ruby. She could listen, or not! Over the past year she has improved so much. I’m still not sure if she is just a slow learner or is having too much fun to care. I was so proud of her at the last fun match. Taking fourth place in the weave pole challenge was a major feat for Ruby. Then to top it off, she earned a Q in tunnelers! So I know she can do it, just in her own time. Tracy keeps promising me that she will be great once she (we) put it all together. As usual in agility, part of the problem is me; I give the wrong directions at the wrong times. Ruby is too fast for my brain! I can't think as fast as she runs!!! After all being said and done, we keep trying and each week I see a little more improvement, even if no one else can see it. Everyone has been so great at helping Ruby and I. I know I am listening and learning. Now it's Ruby’s turn to listen and play by the rules!
Throughout all of this, Ruby always has a smile on her face. She is having the time of her life. I too am having the time of my life. Ruby has given me a great adventure so far. Without her I would never have met the wonderful people at MDTC. Everyone in the club has been so great to Ruby and I, making us feel welcome.
Two and a half years ago I approached Art's breeder with the following, “I am simply looking for a smart female to partner with my male GSD. I am a very responsible dog owner and have had dogs my entire life. I love the GSD for its intelligence and training ability.” Art's breeder had a female pup lined up for me but before I knew it, I had fallen in love with a different pup from the litter...Art. His breeder described him by saying, “This guy is just sweet. He is a sensitive little guy that goes with the flow and does not want to rattle anyone’s world. He is non-confrontational and is a very soft, very gentle, very pleasing spirit. We have dubbed him our little “elf.” He would be perfect for a family looking to do therapy work that does not need a protector.” I should have known by his name along with his description that I was about to embark upon a life changing experience but I was simply smitten with this little “elf.”
Art is exactly that... he is a piece of “art.” He is complex, smart, loving, cuddly, sweet and my masterpiece; he is also highly manipulative forcing me to be a better trainer. He has also given me the gift of seeing things differently due to his reactivity to other dogs. Art and I are so bonded that I truly feel he can read my mind...he certainly has me wrapped around his paws, knows how to pull my heart strings and “train me.”
I brought Art home when he was eight weeks old. The dynamics of my home quickly changed. The male dog I had was placed in a home that could better tend to his medical needs. Then Martha came into my life, also a GSD, and the polar opposite of Art. About a year ago I added Frankie, a Papillion mix. With that, our young home pack (all being between 2-2 ½ yrs old) was set. At home Art and the girls are a family. Art enjoys the company of the girls, but adores me above anything else, and I completely adore him.
I have spent the last two years taking classes, reading books, working with trainers of various styles, and trying new things to work through Art's dog reactivity. While we have made progress "home schooling," we have a ways to go and I know we can do it with time, consistency, trust and patience. I'm in this for the long haul. We recently joined the agility team with Tracy McCarty as our trainer. Tracy completely understands Art and is willing to allow us to work through these issues - thank you Tracy. Agility has been so much fun for me and my dogs (the girls are in the Beginner & Novice classes). Art's complexity and owner bond is unbelievably tight; we know when things work and when they don't work. I'm hoping the agility class will help build his confidence while enjoying this bond with me outside of the home. I'm now confidant (in myself) with handling him after all of the education he and everyone else have given to me. Art has introduced me to the most wonderful world of people who I now call family and friends. This is why he has changed my world. As a little girl I had the dream of being a veterinarian because of my love of dogs, and although that dream didn't come true in the medical aspect, it is now coming true in the dog behavior aspect; I am now living my childhood dream to be with dogs. So thank you Art and all of the people who have helped change my/our worlds.
Meet Australian Shepherd, Sierra Jade’s Star Legacy, “Sierra.” Sierra was born on September 16, 2003. She was an ARPH rescue from Southern Illinois. I got her 1 week after her 1st birthday. From the moment I saw her “ad” on the website, I knew she was my dog.
As Australian Shepherds should be, she was quite smart and super sweet. I thought “wow, who would give up such a wonderful dog?” Then I took her out in public….my neighbors thought I brought home “Cujo.” She acted incredibly threatening to everyone she saw (near or far), yet, in the house she was the perfect dog….manners, well trained, no barking, no destruction, cuddly, playful, etc. My intention was to learn agility with my “new dog” but I knew this was far from starting since Sierra had to learn how to be ok around people and other dogs. We started private training, then basic obedience classes and eventually did start basic agility. Sierra was stellar at everything other than her issues with people and dogs coming too close; she would charge, snap at and bark any chance she could get. I joined MDTC with hopes of dog-pack boot camp rehabilitation. Between that and the guidance of several excellent private, expert trainers, Sierra and I learned how to manage her issues. Yes, Sierra was the “aggressive dog” everyone complained about to the club’s powers-to-be. I stuck it out though, kept working hard to help her learn and defended her positive progress like an over-protective mom; I was not giving up on the potential I knew she would someday reach.
After years of listening to all the experts, I began to develop my own system for Sierra. I was confident I could rehabilitate this awesome dog….and thus it happened. Today, Sierra is one of the most FUN dogs I have ever had the privilege of working with. She has taught me more about training and dog behavior than most people learn in a lifetime with dogs. Her spirit has a spark so bright that it lights up my every day. She is my cuddle bug, a total “mama’s girl.” She lives for fun. Every day Sierra reminds me how to play and be as silly as possible, or what’s the point? Sure she can still be sassy, loves to counter surf, scare people/dogs walking by her crate and make up her own games while training, but those are the things that keep me on my toes with her. It would take a decade to tell all her stories. Now, Sierra LOVES just about anyone she meets and tolerates most dogs, even finding a few quite fun to play with.
In 2011 Sierra gave me the biggest thank you for all the years of hard work…..she earned a spot in the top 10 of dogs in her level at the ASCA Agility National Specialty. She did everything I asked of her absolutely perfect! Her only one penalty was caused by MY misdirection. I wouldn’t trade Sierra for any other better skilled or more technically schooled agility dog. Working with Sierra has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Sierra has various titles in agility (ASCA, AKC, USDAA and CPE). She also has her CGC and herding HIC.
Sierra has played in MANY sports over the years: Agility, Obedience, Herding, Flyball, Tracking, and Frisbee.
Sierra has been involved in most of the club’s activities: Sports Shows, Demos, Holiday Parades, State Fair World of Dogs, Trials, Fun Matches, Achievement Trials, Heel Downs, Ghost Nights, Time Warner’s 411 TV demo and many others.
Cashmere joined our family when she was 5 months old. Cashmere is a 5 ½ year old All-American dog. That’s a polite way to say “mutt”. According to DNA, she is Boxer, German Shepard, Bernese Mountain Dog and Sharpei. The confusing thing is that her mother looked like a black lab. Go figure! Anyways, she’s our dog. We started in Obedience at MDTC when Cashmere was 9 months old. We worked our way through the Obedience classes, and when she was ready (had a good sit/stay and recall) we joined the Agility class. Jenn, our instructor, patiently worked with both of us. She had to convince me that flapping my arms all over (like a scarecrow), and calling repeatedly to Cashmere really were not helpful.
After a couple of years, we went to Madison for our first CPE (Canine Performance Events) trial. We did quite well, and that was it ~ we were in the competitive mode! Some of our highlights were the day we Qualified in all 5 runs and earned our only “Perfect Day” medallion, the day we finally completed Level 4 Standard (after a year and a half!), as well as attending CPE Nationals in Michigan (6/11).
Some “memorable” aspects: At our second trial, Cashmere took off from the start line and ran straight to the judge and barked, barked, barked at him. I later learned that he has a sheep farm, and quite a few dogs have that reaction to him. Another moment that shouldn’t have happened, especially for a Level 3 dog, was her first run at a trial where she was apparently so overjoyed that she zoomed all over. To see this “fastest run” ever, click on the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXkUueRxLaE . Other experiences have been when she stopped to eat a bee on the course, or stopped to smell masking tape, both of which put us overtime and “NQ’d” us. Luckily, with more experience and training, we have overcome all of these obstacles, and are only 10 Qualifying runs away from earning our C-ATCH, one of the highest awards in CPE. Cashmere’s love of agility is apparent in all of her pictures – her eyes are bright and she has the happiest look on her face.
Along with Agility, we have also earned our Open Title in Obedience and our Advanced Rally Title, as well as our Therapy Dog International certification. We’ve participated in the Sport Show, the Christmas Parade and various demonstrations throughout the years, as well as joined in the fun at Ghost Night. We have made a lot of friends, had lots of great experiences and have done a lot of traveling. Thanks MDTC for opening up our world to all of these opportunities!
Daryl Ann Stuppan
Dog's Name - Devon
Human - Jennifer Smith (Friday Agility Instructor)
His name: "CH MACH3 Marial's Pepper Jack of Wegner NARX2, TRPX, DPCX" or "Devon" for short.
Devon's Games: Agility, Racing and Showing.
Devon's goals: To finish another Master Agility Championship and then perhaps dabble in obedience.
It was hard to choose him from my house of four, lovely, whippet boys, but I had to be honest and pick the heart dog. It isn't just the titles after and before this dog's name that make him special, but the trust and bond we have developed while seeking them. I am sure I would think he was special without them, but the fun memories have enriched my life so much.
His games have taken me to the south, east, and west of this country, so we're well traveled. His games have introduced me to other humans whom I cherish and would have never known if it were not for Devon. He has taught me much patience (with humans as well as canines) and calm though sometimes I forget his lessons and I have to relearn them.
I'm a handsome Brittany boy, born May 2, 2010. I'm the fifth Brittany my human (Jody Lokken) has brought home to raise. I began my Agility training in January of 2011. I really like climbing on stuff, jumping over things and running through tunnels. I have a reputation of following my nose after jumping and taking off on my human rather than paying attention to her. It must be the hunter in me! My instructor, Tracy promised that after we train inside again that I will be superior! In November I am moving up to the Novice class!
I also started training with the MDTC Flyball team in February of 2011. I'm getting used to other dogs running right at me like a bullet at top speeds as I go out to jump the hurdles only to get that crazy ball at the end of the runway.
I also am training to be obedient and hope to get some "legs" in my first trial in November. I like going to classes and being with all my MDTC friends as we line up and learn new commands. Fred is a great instructor and has some really good tips.
I got my Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title and am qualified as a Therapy Dog with Therapy Dog International (TDI). I like visiting nursing homes and get to have lots of people petting me with smiles on their faces!
My favorite thing is to chase balls and birds. I love running in the woods with my playmate, Petra, who is also a Brittany.
I got to be the the first "Featured Dog" because my human is the webmaster for the MDTC website, and to show everyone how fun it is to get to be the featured dog of the month!