Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Best Part...

Teaching can be a very challenging occupation. I learn something new every day. My students teach me things, their dogs teach me things. It's a never ending educational experience. I attend seminars and classes to become a better teacher. It's my passion, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my passion with those I meet!

One of the most rewarding parts of teaching are the dogs...I love the students of course, but I'm thinking me having pictures and video of my students might make them think I'm a bit odd (ok a bit MORE odd than normal) I'll focus on the canine students :) If you like this and want more stories of students, please comment! I never know what everyone wants to hear about! :)

I decided I wanted to highlight some of my "island of misfit toys" students...those dogs that when I met them, they were NOTHING like they are now. Whether they were dogs that the owners had trouble communicating with (many wanted to quit agility all together as they were not doing well and were frustrated beyond belief) or rescues with abuse/neglect issues, to "non traditional breeds". Many of these students had been given up on (human and canine) by other trainers...which I found sad, lead them to me. And I am PLEASED AS PUNCH TO HAVE THEM!!!! :) They work hard, they are patient and they realize that their dogs are very smart, very talented, and just because their pups don't fit into the box of "a border collie" or "traditional toy driven dog" they can still play agility!

I'm gonna start with two dogs with the same handler :) First off Bug. I have talked about Bug before...when I first met Bug, she growled at me, and wouldn't come near me. She was dog and people aggressive...she was anxious and reactive. But Bug had a spark...her owner started agility just to build confidence, but I knew after meeting the two of them...they would go farther than that :)

Bug had some serious fears to overcome, she hated the teeter...but she learned to love it. She is now a complete social butterfly, on occasion going to visit people during her runs.
Bug doesn't know a stranger at this point :) She is social, confident, and HAPPY. She and her owner are becoming a great team, and are already competing in Masters in several classes! No doubt this team has a great future far beyond "just building confidence". They are a joy to watch and Bug is honestly one of the most engaging dogs I have ever met!
This is what Bug does when her owner is walking damn funny and I just ADORE this dog!! I wish I had video of the first day I met her! She is NOTHING like she is now. What a HUGE turn around!!!! :)

Her "sister" Roxie is also just as amazing as far as I am concerned. Roxie was a puppy mill rescue--most likely a breeding dog. Roxie was scared of EVERYTHING. And to this day I cannot touch her very easily. Roxie came to her owner with sores, severe skin conditions and had never been out of a wire cage. She was terrified of life. That even included her owner in the beginning...

After seeing how well Bug reacted to agility, she figured that it would help Roxie as well. So Roxie started coming along to lessons, at first just eating food was a huge thing! She was terrified of ALL THINGS...jumps, tunnels, EVERYTHING...BUT...
As you can see...she has really come a VERY LONG WAY. She was absolutely scared to death of the teeter and the chute...and each and every week she made leaps and bounds! Confidence increased and now she even goes off course to do the teeter or chute now!!
She is now started trialing...and she is trying to learn that the trial world isn't scary...but just like everything else with Roxie, it will take time and patience and lots of love. But she has blossomed. She now loves people and enjoys being petted :) LOVES agility, as long as she knows where she is :) And I do believe that with time she is going to be an awesome little trial dog!

Dogs like this just make my heart sing :) I love how dogs can forget and forgive, how they can live in the moment, and in turn make us better people by working hard to be in the moment with them :) They are the epitome of trust, and when I see a dog blossom and grow in confidence and happiness, it is honestly the most rewarding thing I can witness!!!! :)

I love my students, I love teaching and these dogs make it so worth while!!! :)

Now onto regular programming...with crate trained Vittles :)

And lazy dogs...LOTS OF LAZY DOGS :)

Yo's a lot cooler if your head isn't under the covers...

Abused...all abused...SAD...


Catalina said...

Gosh that was amazing! Loved the videos! I like these stories - it's fun to see what your other students look like :)
That picture of Even with her head under the covers is too cute! Have to wonder what they are thinking :P

Diana said...

That gave me goose bumps!!! How inspirational!! Thanks

Patty said...

Amazing and very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I like the stories about your students:) That's what agility is really about!

sclmarm from over at livejournal

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Great post Loretta! It was just awesome to see those dogs loving life and agility! Thanks for sharing!

Cute smart cat and very cute lazy dogs! :)

Loretta Mueller said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I will do more stories on my students! I love my students!!! :)

I appreciate the feedback!

The Lady said...

Bug is super cute!

I'd like reading more about your students too if they don't mind.

Maybe Even's nose was cold. LOL