From delinquent dog to agility ace
When Lucy King first met Chloe about six or seven years ago, she was a very different dog to the one she is today. She was due to be PTS for behavioural issues. She was boisterous, yet nervous and shy, reacting to situations where she felt pressured by showing nervous aggression. Then she started agility training with Lucy and within six weeks, they were out competing at UK Agility shows. Lucy explains how agility has truly turned their lives around.
My friend was a foster carer for a local charity and she was asked to consider taking on Chloe as the charity couldnít really cope with her. Being the kind natured person that she is, she took Chloe on without having been made aware of all the behavioural issues that were underlying.
I went with my friend and her husband on that first fateful day to pick Chloe up, and it was love at first sight. As a child I had been terrified of dogs, but there was something about Chloe that I liked. She travelled on my lap back to their house as they had no dog guard, and from that moment on, I adored her.
Whilst I worked on my friends yard part time, I would play with Chloe endlessly, and take her on walks down the bridleway. Most of the time she was lovely, but there were also instances where we despaired - the running off for miles after deer and not coming back, the barking and aggression towards men, the chasing of livestock and the unpredictability of her nature.
Approximately two years ago, I took Chloe on to be my own dog as I had always wanted. Within weeks we started to do obedience training and in February 2008, we started at a very good local agility club. Chloe took to it like a duck to water, and within six weeks we went to our first UK Agility show and actually came away with results, although not a rosette - one place away, typically!
She took every piece of new equipment in her stride, even the seesaw, despite being scared of loud noises! Since then, we have been members of a couple of different clubs, and went to about six agility shows last year, finishing the year by winning 1st place and getting our first trophy! This year, we have already started to book shows, although we had a period of six months with no agility due to my original club moving to Shropshire.
I found learning about agility with Chloe so fascinating that I spent a fortune doing various courses in canine behaviour and agility, and I now teach a Beginners class at a local club, which I absolutely love and hope to continue for a long time yet.
Sadly, Chloe is now going on ten years old and beginning to feel her age when jumping, so we will never progress to the level we both want to, but there is one thing I can say with no doubt at all. Agility helped to turn this delinquent dog into the best friend I have ever had, and more importantly, my loyal, never-wavering companion.
About the author...
Chloe is a nine-year-old Collie X GSD who was dumped on a charity as a puppy and had more than five homes by the time she was three years old because of her behavioural difficulties. She is now a registered Pets as Therapy dog, visiting people in homes, as well as competing regularly in agility.
Lucy works as a journalist for Pony and I Love Ponies magazines. She also has her own dog training club called Paws for Success.
First published 02/07/09