The Heart of a Champion

Tilly is fourteen years old, and has been a much loved family pet for years.  Until now Tilly did not go to class because Tilly did not need class, she has basic obedience down and is generally a mellow girl.  But the family thought that Low Impact Agility looked like fun, and that maybe Tilly might want to try it.  And that is when we realized that inside Tilly beat the heart of a competitor . . .

Tilly is a Low Impact Agility Super Star!  She used to take a minute to run through a course but now she can do it in 30 seconds, and her tail is wagging the whole time.

Best of all her family says Tilly seems to be more relaxed and confident in their home.  When you say “school” she gets excited and runs to the door.  While I love working with all the dogs, dogs like Tilly touch my heart in a special way.  I love seeing these “Elder Dogs” have fun and use their brains and get out and just have fun and all the benefits that come from that.

Allow me to brag . . .

When your 14 year old dog earns his second Wag It Games Sniff It Title you are supposed to brag right?  Shadow earned his fifth qualification in Search last night getting him his Search Wag It Games 1 Title.

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So proud of this boy!  He has only been working for a little over a year and a half and did not start until he was 12 years old, but he took to Sniff It and does it with joy and focus (mostly).  When we were posing for our picture he wanted to go back and look in the tents some more which made me smile – even though he was totally ignoring his recall and doing what he wanted, what he wanted to do was work.  That’s my boy!

And a private victory is Shadow did it while being polite among the other dogs, no barking or staring or kicking up a fuss, Shadow was there and ready to work and relaxed (mostly) around the other dogs.  Time and patience do so much, and yes, old dogs clearly can learn new tricks.

Katy Bug the Brave . . .

What does a beagle do when they come to scent class?  They put their nose to the ground and they get to work!

This video is extra special because just a few months ago Katy was living in a lab being used for pharmaceutical testing and research.  In December she found a home and now she making up for lost time, getting out into the world and experiencing lots of new things.

It has been a pleasure to be a part of helping her learn and build confidence, and watching her and her mom become a team.   I have loved seeing her go from the shy dog, quietly entering class to the dog pulling on the leash excited to use her nose!  When Katy is working she is on a mission and her tail is up, her nose is down, and she knows just what to do.

Find it!

We just started a Scent Class for reactive dogs, and two weeks in I am not only impressed at how great the dogs and their owners are doing, I’m also excited by the positive feedback we’re already getting.

I’m hearing how the dogs have more confidence, how they are happier, how they are sleeping after class and excited to get into the car and come back – it is wonderful and total reinforcement of why I do what I do.  So happy to be helping dogs, particularly dogs who do not always get included in things outside of basic behavior.

This is a video I put together from the scent runs on our first week of class – some of these dogs had never tried scent work before and by the end of the hour they were consistently identifying the boxes, and better yet, they were excited to work!

Such a great group of dogs and people!

 

 

Tabby

Our current foster through Peppertree Rescue, Tabby is a shy dog working very hard to be brave in the world.  Tabby is a fearful dog and we are taking things slow and creating many positive experiences for her hoping soon she will realize she does not need to be afraid.  Her confidence is building day by day, another example of how giving dogs fun, enriching experiences can help them.

Yaddo

Yaddo, also known as Shadow, also known as the Elkie.  A senior Norwegian Elkhound that brought a lot of laughter to our lives, and who I am pretty sure was around to keep me humble.  While he was officially a Canine Good Citizen, Canine Good Citizen Advanced, and a Therapy Dog, Yaddo was also a stubborn, independent dog that liked to live life his own way and reminded me daily that dog training sometimes requires creativity, and always requires patience.

Yaddo is why I work to keep things fun, and was a wonderful example of how training can enrich a dog’s life, regardless of their age.

Fluff

 

Losing Owen left a hole in our lives, a hole quickly filled by a dynamic dog who had no idea she was supposed to be a sedate senior.  At 11 years old Fluff arrived with little fur but a lot of spirit, and our lives have never been the same.

It was Fluff who truly helped me realize age was nothing but a number and pushed me further into dog training.  She loved to learn, and loved to be doing things.  Fluff effortlessly obtained her Canine Good Citizen certification and went on to become a Therapy Dog through Therapy Dog International with the help of Cydney Cross and Crossroads for Dogs.  But it was soon clear she was not done working, Fluff came alive when the treat pouch came out, so we tried agility, and eventually scent work through Good Choice Dog Training, where she truly shined.

Unfortunately cancer came, and we only had 18 months with this special girl.  But it is Fluff’s legacy that pushed me into dog training and showed me how much fun it can be.  Old Dogs New Tricks is very much Fluff’s legacy.