What is YOUR biggest obstacle?

happyjumper2Anyone involved in agility knows… agility has OTHER obstacles, besides the real obstacles.  When you first started exploring the idea of doing agility with your dog, what was something you were insecure or concerned about in the beginning?   What was the biggest unknown?  And how did you overcome this “obstacle”, or still are overcoming it?  Share your story with us! 


This was a contest that Agility Fusion had to win a $100 Gift Certificate.  It is now closed, but if you would like to be notified of everytime we have another contest (which is about once a month), please register.  You may still add your own story below for others to continue to read, and comment on as well.

32 Comments on “What is YOUR biggest obstacle?

  1. I was able to teach my dog to walk backwards just by facing him, then walking forward which forced him to back up. I added a hand signal by putting both of my palms at eye level to him, moving them forward and backward while saying “back, back, back” at the same time. It took a while for him to really feel comfortable with it so at first, I rewarded him with a treat if he even took one step back. Now he goes back much faster and easier. I hope that helps!

  2. This is really not a comment but a quest for training tips. I’m currently trying to teach my dog how to walk backwards. I have tried sandwitching him between too walls, but he thinks that he should sit when taking a step back. This is a hard manuver because it goes against all that he has been taught. All helpful hints would be welcome. Thank you Carlotta

  3. I’m grateful to all that have noted that their course memorization ability is their greatest hurdle but that they can and have overcome! We (both my Lab and I) are new to agility and are now beginning obstacles to build on our foundation skills. When I visit trials and see folks walking the course, I wonder that I will ever be able to do it. But just like learning the obstacles for my dog, step by step, I won’t fail him (too badly, anyway! ..and he will forgive me, as he always does. 🙂 I’ve started reading about courses and hope that by the time he is ready, I will be, too.

  4. Few peope I know, including myself, started out as expert dog owners, trainers, and handlers. We all stumbled and tripped over our dogs, learning how not to embarass them. We have all had dogs that presented us with difficult challanges. The kind that keep us up at night sorting through our options, excuses not being one of them. The kind that cause us to enteract with other knowledable dog folk and toss about ideas. The kind that make us take a good hard look at ourselves and what we know about the dogs we live, play, and work with. The kind that make us buy DVDs, books, and go to seminars, searching for the answer. Sometimes it appears there is no answer for the dog that has teeter terrors or creates his own course every time, or beleives the name of the game is run through the jumps not over them. How much time and effort have I put into the dog that will not wait on the line or put his butt all the way down on the table? My dogs have taught me a lot about dogs (once I learned how to look and listen)a lot about life ( it’s never easy and straight forward) and a lot about patience and perserverence (giving up is not an option). My dogs have taught me that if I can teach it, they can learn it. And they will learn it when they can, not when I want them to. Finally my dog doesn’t care if we get a title, first place, high in class, or the fastest time, so relax and enjoy the ride.

  5. touch sensitive, space sensitive dog.

    our issues where with staying safe for her and for other dogs.

    high value treats, good training, and staying out of the “thick of things” were all things that worked for us.

  6. The biggest obstacle I’ve encountered so far, is the challenge of having to run such a big course (NADAC) with a very small dog and getting it done in qualifying time. When we qualify, we are only a second or two under, and when we don’t, it is a second or two over. My dog keeps right up with me, but I have to work more on getting her to “go on” away from me. She tends to stick pretty close, especially in a trial situation…so I think she just lacks confidence at this point. We are still very new at this. This sport is a great motivator for me to lose that last 20 lbs, though!!!

  7. My biggest problem? Oh dear, the list is so long I don’t know where to begin… an uncoordinated, out of shape novice handler with bad knees, poor course memorization skills, and horrible timing…. training a young high energy, reactive dog (and a younger adolescent who had a strong foundation that has made only sporadic appearances since his brain went on spring break)…failure to develop and stick with a consistent training plan that tracks what we’ve learned and what we need to work on…bad case of ring nerves…so many issues I was beginning to wonder why I ever thought I wanted to play this game with my dogs…Then I realized that my biggest problem was a focus on “perfection” that kept me from appreciating the good things that happened in a run that wasn’t quite “perfect”… I needed to stop thinking about how we looked to others, and just get out there and do it, laugh at the stupid stuff, look at it as a learning experience, and celebrate what we did right. I had to remind myself that there isn’t a precisely defined path that is the same for everyone- each of us starts at different points and progresses at different rates toward our own individual goal, a target destination which does not remain static, but will change as we analyze what we did wrong, identify skills that need work, and practice those skills. I need to remember to keep a positive focus, set realistic goals for each run, enjoy even the smallest successes, and focus on how far we have come from when we started the journey.

  8. Matilda and I have been taking agility classes for a little more than a year and a half. When we began I just thought it would be something fun for us to do together. At an AKC dog show I watched the agility trials that were being held in conjunction with the dog show and ran into a woman there I knew. She suggested my teacher, Barbara Mah, as someone good to study with. It was another six months before I was able to start a class. In class we did a lot of flat work and slowly learned the obstacles. Now, of course, we work on sequences and handling. I’m still not competing although we have done four or five fun, show and go trials which have indeed been lots of fun, and we didn’t do too badly. I would like for us to compete. I think it would be fun. I would say the biggest obstacle for me at this point is my lack of confidence in myself as a handler. If I felt surer of myself, I think Matilda and I would be fine.

  9. My greatest obstacle has always been time. I have always owned multiple dogs, each needs individual training time to focus on that dog’s needs and each needs family time and socialization and individual time with daddy and obedience lessons and pet therapy visitation time, and on and on. At the end of each day I always feel that I should have done one more thing with one of them. But, dishes need to get washed and I need a shower so at some point I have to stop. In a couple years I may retire, then I hope to start training at least one of my guys tracking. Till then, I’ll do what I can do.

  10. Agility obstacles we over came. The biggest obsacle we faced was lack of training. Wow has handling become a lot more sophisticated since we started. Back in the dark ages no one talked about Front crosses and rear crosses, lead outs targets, etc. It was, get my dog around the course. My poor dog was a victom of my lack of knowledge. In some ways, way back when, was a lot of fun. No one really knew much, everyone was in it for the fun of it, there was not competiton for wins and placement, the Q was the goal. As people became students and then instructors of the sport, it has evolved into something that barely resembles the sport 15 years ago. My first agility dog neever really overcame my lack of knowledge at the time, but we sure did have a blast together anyways.

  11. When Katy and I started agility 2 years ago, she was 5 and I was 63. Our first obstacle was our first instructor. He pushed us too far, too fast and after 4 months he was running us through full courses. We were extremely sloppy to say the least. So we quit. Katy rested for 4 months and I studied Jane Simmoms Moakie’s DVD’s and books until I had them memorized. Then we built many obstacles for our own back yard and started over with our training in the Spring. One obstacle at a time, then short sequences. It was 6 months before I actually ran Katy on a full course. And oh what a difference!!! In doing this we overcame our underlying obstacle…lack of speed. Katy makes up for that with her innate intelligence and perfection, she only makes a booboo if I am late with my command. My lack of speed is made up for by working at a distance and watching my body cues. Around our dog club, Katy is now known as “The Perfect Dog”. She is mixed breed and starting April 2010 she will be competing in AKC Agility and Rally.

  12. I have a wonderfully athletic 4 yo Miniature Poodle with whom I’ve been taking agility classes for 2.5 years. And we’ve only trialed once. A disaster. He spent a lot of time in daycare and boarding until last Fall, when I realized that that might be the root of his insane behavior problems in the ring: he leaps from the start line and runs all over the ring, visiting judges, pole setters, barking at the ring gates, and picking up cones, tossing them in the air, catching them on his nose and running around like that. Very cute – but— so I think he learned in daycare that an open space with other dogs around is for playing. He learned the obstacles very quickly of course, but could only do 3-5 in a row before he ran off – and he wasn’t very responsive to a recall. So I took him back to square 1: Used Ruff Love, Control Unleashed, an obedience trainer, and a leadership coach to rearrange his brain. No more daycare, when boarded he has limited playtime. Lo and behold, in 9 months he has turned around beautifully and now stays with me on course almost 100% of the time. When he does get distracted he doesn’t go far and comes right back. Everyone is commenting that he’s a new dog, and that we really look like a team now. And we’re about to enter our next real trial in a few weeks. I’ll be nervous I’m sure, but much more confident that I will have a dog running with me. And his other behavior has also improved – wasn’t so bad initially, but now is sooo much more self-controlled and able to ignore distractions almost anywhere. I love this dog – he’s my first, and what a ride it’s been!

  13. I had tried agility with my collie. After 3 times through advanced beginner, and a move that took us farther away from training facilities, I let it go and never competed with her. I did have some equipment — weave poles, a couple jumps, a tunnel, but they collected dust in our shed… Until I picked up a very shy foster girl at a shelter to bring her into my dog rescue.

    Although she was initially shy, I noticed that she had an intensity and athleticism about her, and thought I’d try working with her on the few agility obstacles we had. When I did, her face would light up and she learned the weave poles in record time! I immediately changed her adoption write up to reflect that I was looking for an agility home for her.

    After several applicants, but very little interest in pursuing agility (comments like “I just can’t wrap my mind around that ‘dog sports’ kind of thing.” I’m thinking, “You idiot! Can’t you see that she loves it?”), I decided that I would become her agility home! Okay, I’d never competed in agility, and the nearest training facility was an hour and a half away, but I was determined to give her this opportunity! In classes, she went directly from Beginning to Intermediate and skipped Advanced Beginning altogether! LOL! (I had taken the class 3 times already anyway!)

    With her doing so well in class, I really thought she’d clean up at the trials, and just be as good of a dog as any out there. Boy, was I humbled! First off, I’m not that good of handler and I get nerves big time! Second, she picks up on my nerves, and also reverts back into that shy dog that I picked up at the shelter. So at our first trial, out of 8 runs, we got only one Q.

    I considered going back and doing the advanced beginner class with her. But instead, we just kept plugging away and I changed some things that I was doing so that I could be more positive in the ring. I always thought I was a positive trainer, but some of my instructors saw some things that were being interpreted as negative by my girl, and I didn’t even know that I was doing them!

    She still has a lot of fun when we are practicing. The trial ring is still somewhat of a challenge, but every once in a while, she’ll pull off that beautiful run that I know she has in her (and that I am capable of too!) It usually happens when I’m not expecting much, and not real nervous myself.

    So that was and is our big challenge — the trial ring. It’s those really great runs that keep us coming back and competing, even though most runs are less than what either she is or I am capable of.

  14. When the agility bug bit us,the biggest obstacle was finding a place to practice. A once a week class is not enough to really learn the skills to compete. I got the agility in a bag and took the show on the road,vacant fields,closed parks,even parking lots. A side benifit which I didnt realize until we were ready to trial was my dog had learned to focus on me and the task at hand, no matter what was going on around us.

    Finally we found a practice field complete with equipment,but when training a new kid,I take the show on the road.

  15. At this point in my agility career, a lot of what I’m doing is experimental. My lack of knowing the smaller components that go into the big agility picture and the order in which to teach them is the obstacle that I face. I love those Youtubes, blogs, websites, and DVDs though, from trainers like Susan Garrett and Silvia Trkman. They motivate me to all sorts of creative training venues I might not have taken otherwise.

  16. Our biggest obstacle in agility has also proven to be our greatest triumph – fear aggression & helping overcome it through agility. My 2 year old lab/BC mix suffers from fear aggression and is very fearful of strange dogs and strange humans. We’ve spent significant time helping him feel safe around new people & dogs and decided that he would greatly benefit from some boosted confidence. We sought out a trainer who is not only an agility specialist but also a behavioral trainer & explained his problems. She agreed to give us some private lessons in an environment where our dog would feel safe and would be the only dog. Immediately we were struck by what a natural he was with the obstacles, and how confident he looked while doing what we told him to do in the ring.

    Our next BIG step was to attempt a beginner agility class in a group setting. We did this with his “normal” behavioral trainer, at her home, where our dog already feels safe & comfortable. There are 3 other dogs in the class and initially he paid much more attention to being afraid of the scary new dogs than he did to the fun agility equipment. The dogs were not allowed to interact with him, and the owners all knew about his story, so it was a very controlled environment. It didn’t take long until he switched his focus to me, rather than the scary things around him, and started to perform runs like the confident dog I know he wants to be. He almost ignores the dogs now, and instead is the star of his class. Just last night, one of the more “in your face” dogs in class ignored his owner’s recall and instead started racing around the yard, and came right over to my dog and got in his face. This other dog lacked what some might call “social graces.” Inside I was petrified, but instead of freaking I remained calm and to my enormous surprise and delight, my dog remained calm as well. After the other dog was under control, we went on, did some jumps, and all was forgotten.
    So I suppose I answered this question a little different than most. I’m sure since we’re beginners we’ll continue to encounter many obstacles on our path, but to me, I’ll always think of agility as a huge step in overcoming a major obstacle in my dog’s life.

  17. I have had many dogs in my life & have done training in obediance, hunting,tricks, & of course agility. I lost a dear K-9 friend (that I had worked in some movies with) two years ago just before Christmas. I missed her sooo much it hurt down deep. We had been together for 15 yrs. since I had adopted her at 3 days of age. Although I breed JRTs & have 13 living with me I always had a larger dog. I went on a search for another large friend, found and adopted “Sayre” a BC-Norweigan Elkhound puppy, from a rescue in NJ. She is very shy to strangers; although totally loyal to me. I decided to try her at agility to help her gain confidence in herself. She seemed to take to it like a duck to water. The chute worried her a little but, she soon learned that no one was going to hurt her when she came back out into the light of the ring and now she will do all of the obstacles with ease except the weaves……She is sure that someone will get her before she gets done with all twelve of the poles. Since this obstacle takes the longest I have worked on her focus and have succeeded in getting her through the weaves at home. Now we are tackling the task of weaving at different locations. So far we have a fifty percent success rate. As her debuts increase so does our success rate. We are still working on this bump in the road and I am sure we will figure it out. We have confidence in each other and most of all we love working together. At the end of a session she loves to lay with her head in my lap as if to say ” Boy that was fun…I love you.” And I love her as well.

  18. My golden retriever, Jenna, and I took an agility class together a couple summers ago. She was only a year old, with lots of energy, so I figured it would be a great way of giving her an outlet (I should have named her dynamo!). My greatest concern for me was remembering the course. My greatest concern for Jenna was that she was no longer as fearless as when she was a puppy. I wondered how she would do when faced with some of the larger challenges on the course. To my surprise, she was was able to overcome any initial fears (except for the see saw)and had a great time! Since we were there for fun I didn’t press the issue – we always ran around it(in fact she would slow down when the see saw was in sight and too close). I loved our classes and after two years finally ordered equipment. Jenna will be so happy!

  19. When first starting agility (and even some now), my biggest obstacle is thinking that I wouldn’t be able to remember a course once I’m out there with my dog. Things are going too fast for me to pay attention to the numbers. I was afraid that between me trying to direct my dog, paying attention to her, and making sure I was doing the right thing, that I would get lost on the course. I soon found that I COULD remember the course, even after advancing to more difficult levels! Now, I can even learn a course just in the walk time, without having studied it beforehand. If I can do it, anybody can!

  20. Well as newbies to the sport we are having quite a hilarious time with our beautiful blue heeler, wee Annie. She takes to the obstacles much faster that we can keep up with her! Oh and we can use the pause table we just made from scratch (sorry Affordable Agility- your prices are great, but not quite as cheap as Home Depot) for our parties and we can also take turns on the seesaw (honestly it works, the base is from your company, THANK YOU!). I am having problems jumping through the tire jump, and even tho my dog is small, I cannot jump 20 inches (how pathetic). But the hardest obstacle for me personally is the chute…
    Uh-oh, my partner just told me she read the AKC rules and regulations and only the DOG is supposed to actually do the obstacles, oh well, live and learn!

  21. I recently found out that I have pretty bad arthritis in my feet, of all the darned things. I’m a very active person and this just really smacked me down hard. I was wondering why my feet were hurting so much at trials. I would walk my courses in such agony I wondered how I could possibly run the course. But somehow the adrenalin kicks in and I feel no pain while running, but after I get off the course I about die! So for me, now, my biggest obstacle is keeping myself healthy enough (and pain free enough) to continue to play the game my dogs love so much. I am working with my doctor to accomplish this, but unfortunately there is not a lot they can do for arthritis in your toes. I have created my own special inserts in my shoes to take some of the pressure off and it’s helped so far. Surgery just isn’t an option for me … yet.

  22. I became a poodle Mom in December of 2007. I got Gidget for Christmas that year. She was the runt of the litter and my vet did not expect her to get very big. SURPRISE! She is a beautiful, solid white standard poodle. We began taking Household manners classes when she was 8 1/2 months old. At the end of the course, just for fun, the instructor set up some simple agility equipment and had us try to get our dogs through the obstacles. Gidget took to it like a duck takes to water. She is so energetic and not afraid to try anything. We are still in the beginning stages having taken 3 basic agility courses but she is doing great. She absolutely loves weave poles and tunnels. I have since fenced in additional land, put in several pieces of equipment and we are having a blast. She goes bonkers when I ask her if she is ready to go to “work?” It is not work for her, it is pure joy. We are building a bond that is unbreakable. I am looking forward to our first competition down the road. Until then we will continue to “work” and enjoy agility and each other.

  23. After taking several sessions of agility lessons with a ten year old Ridgeback many years ago, I discovered that it was going to take a lot for me to negotiate the courses at anything past a slow walk. My dog was enjoying himself, but I consistently got lost mid-course. I could not sufficiently recall the course layout enough to overcome my difficulty in finding the next obstacle. The group I was training with became insistent that my old dog begin jumping full height and generally were less than complimentary about working with hounds. At that point, I became disenchanted with agility and decided to take a break from the sport.

    I never gave up, though my old dog left me. With the advent of Rally, I began working through courses that way, learning to negotiate the signs and course patterns at a more comfortable speed. At last, I’ve gotten another Ridgeback boy and we are taking agility classes again with a new trainer in a much more positive environment. We haven’t made it through an agility course yet, but “the new kid” is showing such great interest that I just have to try again. Wish us luck as we slooowly introduce enough obstacles that I can try again to negotiate a course at something past a walk. I think we’ll find a way to succeed this time around!

  24. My bigest obstacle is getting my commands out in time. I run a very high drive Golden in agility. Her answer to frustration etc. it to bite me in the ring. Once at a winter show, she actually grabbed my arm, twirling me around 3 times like a huge human tug toy. I am unable to get the same drive (reaction in training and show n go’s) So when she leaps at me, I down her and excuse ourselves walking quietly out of the ring, I take private lessons to work on my timing and distance from her. Also if she goes off course, we continue, I don’t try to restart her. (very frustrating in her opinion! At our level the “Q” is gone anyway) After many donations to the clubs, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we have had several runs in a row with no biting and have even gotten a “Q”

  25. I was and will always be our biggest obstacle. Luckily, my dog, Ginger, is smart and covers for me. After my old rescue dogs died within a week of each other, I was heartbroken. I had never not had a dog. I began looking for a puppy and ran across an ad for Border Collies in our paper (never having had anything but mutts before, I didn’t know any better). I went to see them and fell in love with a small red & white one that came every time I knelt down. As Ginger grew, I realized she really wanted to do something more than run around the property and chase things. I had seen agility on TV and started cobbling equipment together based on what I saw. Later, I found a training club & joined. At the first trial we entered, I was so green that I didn’t even own a crate. I told my dog to lay down on our blanket and dashed off to what was left of the judge’s briefing. I was concentrating so hard on remembering what the judge was saying that I didn’t realize someone was yelling “loose Border Collie”. Finally,I heard the person & looked out of the ring to see my poor forlorn Ginger standing next to a total stranger. I was so embarrased. It was a small trial and we were one of only two in our jump height. We did OK despite our frazzled nerves and when the other dog didn’t finish the course, we took first place. I thought- ‘this isn’t so hard’, not realizing it wasn’t me that was making it look easy. As we progressed, I was able to just tell Ginger what obstacle to do & she did it. She loves to do agility so much she will do it without me as she demonstrated to everyone when I fell three jumps from the end & she finished the course before coming to check on me. I let her watch the dogs ahead of her & when I get lost she goes on until I catch up. She has shown me the benefit of owning a very smart dog. I’m not sure I want to know what she thinks of being handler-challenged!

  26. I am just now coming back to competing in agility after about a 12 year “break” am feel I am now better prepared for what was my “obstacle” in my other dogs sports would surely be an obstacle in agility.

    My challenge in competiton has always been my nerves. I would be the one that would be pacing all day before my turn, or throwing up in the bathroom before hand. I was the one who left every competition frustrated and/or disappointed – because inevitably, we weren’t “perfect”.

    As I started competing more, I realized that I had to do “something” I knew enough to know that nothing was going to chance unless * I * changed.

    A friend forwarded me a copy of “With Winning In Mind”. It had a lot of great information, but I forgot the important part… “I” still had to change. After a little while, and almost quitting dog sports, I went back to it, embraced the concepts, and my whole approach to competition has changed.

    I have fun! I’m excited about every competition – regardless of how it goes… I am either rewarded with a good score, a ribbon, or maybe a title – or I am given valuable information on what I need to work on in training to make us even better for next time.

    I celebrate every success within the run – and no longer focus on that one missed obstacle or missed move…

    So, as I start competing in agility again – I’m excited, not just about what I might win, but most importantly about what I might learn.

    At my first agility trial in some 12+ years, I learned a big one too… apparently, you need to wait until the judge FINISHES saying “Go” before you leave the table… I left on the “ga” instead of the “o”!

  27. other than me learning what the heck i was doing and where i should be and when, we’ve had 2 major obstacles. my terv gets very excited when other dogs are running and used to go berserk – barking and snarling. especially when short haired dogs. when long haired dogs or other herding breeds run he’s much better and just watches – but put a gsp or wiemeraner out there and he just can’t stand it. we’ve mostly worked through it, but he still stries to start up now and then.

    his other main issue was peeing in the ring. he just got his conformation title a couple months ago, meaning he’s an unneutered male. i thought i’d finally gotten through to him that he couldn’t pee inside the ring – any ring – and we were finally q’ing in classes. then a few weeks we were in a trial and there was a vine growing up the fence – right near the weave poles. he started to go into the weaves, but he just couldn’t help himself. you could actually see him thinking about it and arguing with himself. even the judge laughed and said it was just too tempting.

  28. As a rescuer and transporter, I spend all of my time on everyone else’s dogs. My Bassett and 3 Labs plus two other fosters get slighted. They are left behind with only food, water, shelter and medical needs met but very little quality attention. One day the light bulb came on. Realizing that my wonderful Mom had a huge fenced in lot behind her house I decided to venture forth onto the world of agility. After careful consideration, I ordered what I felt would get me started in the beginner range. Now a friend wants to teach obedience classes there for the month of July. We put a sign up sheet at the Rabies clinic held in the park last week and generated a surprising amount of interest. Such a good thing for our poor area. Our first class is tonight so I am very excited!
    I’ve been doing the weave poles and tunnel in the back yard with the Bassett(problem child). He seems to do both ok but the verdict is still out as to whether he will ever master the hurdle! Wish us Luck!!!!!

  29. Wow! as a beginner I did not realize just how much effort was involved in obedience and agility training! I was clueless. Gathering information ( a lot) began to clutter my mind and made me begin to doubt if I had the skill that it takes to help my dog Buddy excell. Through this website I have gathered sound advice, and I might add, have purchased superior equiptment!! I began to realize as time passed that its not the competition involved but the commetment that you make to your dog and what you want for them. Oh sure, I would like to place in a competition who wouldn’t, just to have the bragging rights,yea. And, just like anything else, I started out with a clean slate but as time went on began to realize just how much politics are involved. Its sad that this has to happen….I feel that more people and their dogs would be more inclined to participate if this were not the case. I guess its just like anything else time does change us all. Well, enough about that…to quote a famous character, ” dog trials are like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get! So get out there and just enjoy…after all whats it all really about?

  30. My agility “obstacle” is my own lack of physical prowess. I refuse to complain because there a lots of people out there doing agility with a lot more problems than I have. I have figured out that with bad hips and too much weight, I am seldom going to keep up with my dogs and get out there and do front crosses when they should be done. I have, therefore, trained both my JRT and my BC to work at a distance both laterally and in front of me and perfected our rear crosses with a “switch” command.

  31. For 15 years I was a breeder of Springer Spaniels, never done anything else with my dogs. I had my favorite, her name was “Sideway” I’ve never could breed her because she had a birth defect. Her jaw was sideway but I loved her soo much. At 10 years old she was hit by a car and died. 3 months later I was looking for a new female to breed and found this little tri color female online for a bargain.I always wanted a tri color. I bought her without seeing her first and she was shipped to my by plane. She was just the cutest thing!!! (named her sideway) but boy was she hyper and also scared of everything. When it was time to breed her i found out she had mild hip dysplasia in her right hip so I had to spayed her. I was very upset. I had seen agility on TV before and decided to give it a try. done some research at the AKC and online and built me a tire jump. She was scare to death of that thing. After 6 weeks of a lot of patience and a lot of chicken… she jump throught it! It was a party! I just wanted to have fun with her, nothing else. I started building other jumps, dog walk, a closed tunnel with a $5.00 pepsi barrel and bought a sewing machine…, tunnel etc… after about 1 year of training she came around and gained confidence and also built some good muscles around her hip. We got pretty good at it and I decided to try a competition just to see and boom!! I got addicted to it! She loves to do it. she is still a little shy but I’m constantly working on proofing. She came a long way and what make me very proud is that I did it all by myself! I have never been to a club or took any lessons with a professional. Just Sideway, Me and my small backyard. And we like it this way! for me I finally found a hobby that I love and I’m not even interested in breeding anymore or maybe some day with another dog. I do love those puppies!!

    So far we have our AKC Open titles and Novice Preferred, We flew to excellent class and neither of us were ready for it so I took her back down to preferred 16″ and that was the right decision for us. I want to do what’s best for her. I love this dog soo much! she is my best pal and I’ll do anything for her.

  32. One day while walking my Westie at a park I befriended a lady and her cute black Pug. During our conversation she mentioned that her Pug took agility classes and loved them. I had been looking for an activity for Cody and me to share but NEVER considered agility. I was quite concerned that my West Highland White Terrier, having a mind of his own much of the time, would ever be able to excel at such a sport, but I REALLY wanted to give it a try. I immediately signed us up for classes… he was only 7 months old. Our instructor kept the jumps very low (almost non-existent), as well as the remainder of the equipment. Cody is now 2 1/2 and we just competed in our first agility trial (NADAC) a few weeks ago. I kept it simple and only entered him in 4 runs for the weekend. Saturday started off really nice but by the time it was our turn to run it started to sprinkle rain with at least 30mph winds. We either had to forfeit or run in the rain. I opted for the latter… During our run it started pouring rain and the wind was awful. As Cody ran to enter his first tunnel, one of the spectators said it looked like a bucket of water had been thrown in his face, but he ventured on. He was such a trooper… right before he was supposed to enter the weave poles he stopped to shake the water off… he was SOAKED! Then he continued through the weave poles and ran toward the last jump with NO faults and the fastest time for his group. He had just earned his first Q in Novice Regular, 10 seconds under the required time for 1st place. I couldn’t have been more proud of my little Westie boy! Out of the 4 runs that weekend, he received 2 Qs (both first place). If it hadn’t been for his handler in training (me), he would have received 3 Qs. I’m so glad I didn’t give in to my fear that Cody didn’t have the temperament for agility… we would have missed out on so much fun! We’ll be competing in our second trial later this month… hopefully the sun will be shining, LOL!