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A Great Sport
by Ian Walp

Agility is a great sport and a lot of fun for me.

I have been going to agility trials literally all of my life. My mom shows in agility and at some point I thought, I would like to do agility also. The appeal to me was having a dog for a team mate and the challenge of qualifying.

So, began the process of choosing a dog to be my own. I was impressed by the Shelties because they can be very fast, but also trainable and willing to please. I like that they are good housedogs also. Shelties were the breed for me and I never really considered another breed of dog.

We started to look for a Sheltie breeder. We were very lucky to find Emily Anderson and meet her & her wonderful dogs. They were everything we were looking for. Emily strives to breed dogs that will be the perfect all around dog. We had no idea that our new puppy from Emily would be so perfect.

Right from the get go, our little sheltie puppy, Leeason’s Lil Boom Firecracker AX AXJ (we call him Cracker) was willing, easy to train, and a great housedog. He is a beautiful little dog with an attitude that says “here I am world!”

Cracker started with his basic obedience training right away and we continue to work the basics almost every day.

Cracker and I have learned the sport of agility together. We practice regularly. He is motivated by food, toys, speed and pretty much everything. I am motivated by the desire to run fast and be a team mate to Cracker.

He is so fast. Some of our training challenges come from his speed. Challenges like bursting out of weave poles and through the contacts. So we have to work especially hard in these areas.

We have had the benefit of really great agility instructors, Sally Hildt and Bonnie Davis. They are very supportive and give me lots of drills to practice.

My favorite agility trials are outside in the summer on grass. We do have a lot of nice indoor trials on dirt and those are fun too. I don’t like trials that are freezing cold.

In our area there are not many junior agility handlers. Pretty much I am one of the only juniors. Still my adult competitors are very encouraging and nice to me.

Trialing at the excellent level in agility is very challenging and I don’t always do well but I know that I can come back and try again. I will learn from the mistakes we have made on course and practice them so that I can do them better. So when I do qualify I feel really great because I know I have accomplished what I have been training for.

My goals for Cracker and I are to get a MACH in agility and to earn his Utility title in obedience. We have lots to do.

I hope that this article encourages more juniors to do agility and to have fun while they are at it.