About the Podcast
We started this Podcast so we could spread the word about the sport we love the most, Agility. Both of us are fairly new to the sport (6-7 years) and have now trained multiple agility dogs. Our Novice A (first agility dogs) dogs have each taken us on different adventures. We have had many struggles and successes. We realized as our journeys continue to evolve, that everyone has a different one to share. Each dog, each trial, each trainer and mentor all have different stories and lessons to learn from.
We have gone through moments of goals being met and goals being crushed. We have persevered through injuries, years of training issues and the highs of traveling for National and Invitational events. We have traveled many miles, stayed in many hotels for just "30 seconds in the ring". We have a passion and love for our dogs, and this sport. We want it to grow and we want to talk about it.. all. day. long.
We live for the social aspects of trials, and the wonderful community that we have. There are so many components to Agility. It is complex, and that keeps us humble and addicted. So, who are 'we'?
In 2013, after suffering the loss of her previous Boxers from a disease that could have been prevented by better breeding practices, Cara researched getting a Boxer from a reputable breeder who bred away from known health issues. She knew in order to improve the breed she loved, she had to have a hand in helping, and this meant breeding as well as conformation. What she didn't realize is that despite the Boxer she worked so hard to find being genetically and physically everything she dreamed of, she also stumbled into other things she had no idea about but they became her new dreams, dog sports - particularly agility.
Debbie and Cara quickly found themselves at agility classes, fully immersed back in the face of positive reinforcement training only this went beyond stopping leash pulling and jumping up inappropriately. Agility showed Cara that she could get her prized Boxer around an entire course with just the positioning of her body. The level of communication and the bond she built with her dog was incredible, and she wanted to learn more and more.
Eventually, this agility addiction would lead Cara and her Boxer Debbie to rise to the ranks of eligibility for Westminster, AKC Nationals, and her massive goal, to become the #1 preferred AKC agility Boxer and get invited to 2019 Invitationals, which she not only made, but was a finalist placing 8th in the 20-inch class, beating 121 other dogs. All goals seemed to just get crushed despite massive setbacks. Breeding, other sports, having and raising litters from Debbie, from Debbie's offspring and of course still having to work to pay for all of this! But Cara continued to work hard at everything she did so that she and Debbie could enjoy every moment together.
Cara now proudly holds the distinction of a certified professional dog trainer through the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy. She was trained by Emma Parsons and is now proud to be a KPA-CTP (Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner). She is also working on completing her training to become a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer so that she can further keep dogs happy and healthy.
Michele has always wanted to do Agility with her dogs since she got her first dog, Max, at 12 years old. Max, a JRT from an irresponsible breeder, developed many behavioral issues that prevented that dream from happening. However, it opened up many doors for Michele and she learned about dog behavior, and which training method worked best for her. She was introduced to positive reinforcement methods after years of failed attempts at punishment based methods. She learned to control his aggression, and learned how to accept the dog in front of her and how to adjust your goals.
In 2010, after doing much research and careful searching for a responsible breeder, Michele found Riley, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller). From the word "go" Riley was ready for Agility. Learning from the mistakes made with Max, Michele worked to socialize Riley and together they started agility classes. In 2012, they started trialing together. Riley is a very fast and driven dog. They had to learn to work together at one speed, fast. They had many challenges, but persevered and earned their first MACH together 6 years to the day from their first agility trial.
Michele now participates in many sports in addition to Agility, including NoseWork, Dock Diving, Barn Hunt, Coursing and Obedience to name a few. She has added a few more Tollers to her family in addition to a Boxer and a Hound Mix. She shares her life with her Veterinarian Husband and together they dedicate their free time to the dogs and visiting craft breweries.