My first dog was a border collie who I named Jeannie; she was born in March 1989. My goal for her was to compete in sheep herding trials (which we did, very successfully) but she was also my first agility dog and we competed in the first ever agility trial held in Switzerland in 1991. Over the years, I’ve had several other border collies; some of them compete in herding, all of them doing agility.
At this time, I live with 3 border collies: Hope (born in May 2010) and Mick (born in August 2013) and their son, Jai (born in November 2016).
Back in 2005, when Jesse came into my life, I decided to learn about clicker training. I was amazed at how quickly he was able to learn everything and how precisely I was able to show him what exactly it was that I wanted him to do and, most importantly, what I didn’t want him to do. All this without the use of corrections or punishment. While I’m not always using a clicker in my training, I do use positive reinforcement for everything from teaching life skills to behavior modification as well as agility.
A huge milestone and turning point in how I train and teach agility training was in 2017, when I became certified to teach OneMind Dogs Handling Techniques. The method originates in Finland and is based on handling agility dogs using what’s natural to all dogs: our body language: “Your dog does not listen to you, he reads you.”
To complement my own education and what I use in my teaching, I enrolled in Absolute Dogs Pro Trainer program (aka Naughty But Nice Dogs) which gives me unique perspectives on how to help owners with dogs that fall outside of the “always well behaved” spectrum. Instead of teaching behaviors (such as: sit, stay, etc) we teach concepts, such as calmness, focus, impulse control ….
I’ve been teaching agility classes since 2011 and am actively competing with my dogs in AAC and UKI. What I love about teaching is that I learn so much from my students and their dogs and I get constantly pushed to expand my own knowledge in order to be a better teacher.