In the shows you can find my two dogs performing in many different segments. Our favourites consist of agility, freestyle disc, freestyle dancing, dock diving, high jump, and the big air high jump. Kye’s favourite thing to perform is definitely anything agility related, and Truth’s favourite is frisbee. My performance highlight is always seeing how excited my dogs get before every show, as soon as the music starts and they hear the crowds cheer their demeanour completely changes and its game on.
My pack consists of two crazy border collies. Kye my five year old black and white male is my go to dog for everything, he loves working and excels in every sport he tries. In shows you can see him doing everything from freestyle dance to frisbee, high jump, and dock diving, but his favourite thing to do is definitely agility. Kye is a happy go lucky couch potato at home, but as soon as it becomes time to train or work a switch flips and he turns into a crazy dog ready to take on any task. Truth is my 2 year old black and white female border collie, she is definitely my up and coming star. In shows you can see her doing frisbee, agility, freestyle dance, high jump, dock diving and most recently climbing our wall. Truth has a great off switch at home but lives for the moments that she can go out and work, because that is where she really thrives.
My favourite Canine Stars show would have to be the Calgary Stampede, I love performing so close to home where all my friends and family can come watch. My other favourite show is the Agriculture Show in Bermuda, its like a vacation and dog show all in one.
My three most important foundation skills would have to be;
Relationship building with my dog. I find that with a working relationship between my dogs and myself everything else we train comes easily because we have more trust and understanding between us. How I train it is;
1)At home or in a low stimulating minimally distracting environment, I teach my dog to hold eye contact with me, rewarding them for doing such.
2)Once my dog has a full understanding of this and can maintain eye contact for a long duration (or until verbally released) I slowly start bringing more and more potential distractions in.
3)When my dog can hold eye contact at home unfazed by any distractions there, I bring them out into different environments repeating the steps and working my way up until they can hold eye contact with me in any type of scenario.
This is important to me because it not only builds value to you for your dog, but also teaches them to be confident in any situation you can be faced with.
Body Awareness is an equally important foundation skill to me in order to prevent injuries. With my dogs doing what they do in shows its important that my dogs knows know what they’re doing with their bodies while in the air or running full speed. How I train this is;
1)With a food bowl or low stool on a non-slip surface lure the dog so that their front paws are on the stool and their back paws are on the ground.
2)Once the dog understands this step begin to lure the dog to pivot either to the right or left (starting with one direction before introducing the other one).
3)Once the dog can complete a full rotation around the stool without taking the front paws off, teach them the same thing rotating the other direction.
Place work helps to teach your dog impulse control and can be used in various situations. I find that this is one of the main behaviours I use with my dogs everyday. This is how I train it, keep in mind that it takes many sessions and lots of consistency;
1)On a raised platform or dog bed lure your so that they are laying or sitting (I find laying to be more reliable in the beginning)
Reward your dog multiple times just for hanging out and not leaving that spot.
2)Once your dog is content with staying there with you present start taking a step back and coming back to the station to reward your dog for staying. Work this one step at a time and work your way up to multiple steps.
3)When your dog gets a full understanding of chilling on the station slowly start proofing it by adding all different kinds of distractions that your dog may or may not see, its important to proof it to any kind every kind of scenario no matter how weird they are, so that if you are you are using the station you can be assured that anything your dog could come across won’t cause them to break their stay.
Some important things to remember when training your dog place work is to always go back and reward your dogs multiple time during the stay. When we go back and reward our dog this does not release them from the place, the only thing that releases them is a verbal command. If your dog does break the stay without a verbal release simply get them and put them back in the same spot. If your dog continues to break their place take a step back in the training, go back to rewarding them more frequently, and most importantly keep consistent!
I got my start into dog training at the early age of 13, when my family rescued our dog Rez. He came to us as a puppy with lots of energy, after about a year it was obvious that walks and basic training wasn’t working. After watching dog agility on T.V. my mom and I thought that it would perfect for him, and we signed up for classes right away. Once we started taking classes Rez quickly turned into the best dog ever to live with, he was no longer chewing up the carpets or ripping apart our back deck. That summer my mom and I went to a dog show at the Calgary Stampede and learnt about all the various dog sports out there. I remember when I left that show I looked at my mom and said that, thats what I wanted to do. So we continued with our agility training for a few years. Upon graduating from agility Rez was slowing down, and we found out that he had bad knee’s and we could no longer continue playing agility with him. At the age of 17 I convinced my parents to let me get a second dog with the intentions of fully training him in every sport imaginable, after hours of searching the internet I finally contacted a reputable breeder where after being on a waitlist for sometime I finally brought home my first border collie Kye. I dedicated all my time into training Kye and once he turned 2 we were asked to come perform with him at the Stampede.
Keep your training sessions short and fun, socialize your dog lots to everything possible (people, other dogs, loud noises, lights, cameras, drones etc). And most importantly find a sport that you and your dog both love doing.
I teach a variety of classes at Dogtopia on Blackfoot, here in Calgary.