Fayston, Vermont. With Jack Russell Terriers (JRT) Ghita and Ziggy, both under two years old, and their person, Betsy Carter.
Ghita is his aunt by breeding. They both came from the same breeder. I really liked the breeder. I was so happy with her, I got another one.
I started gong to a puppy kindergarten with Ghita at Show Me the Biscuit in Williston. They do a lot of agility training. They said that she’d be great for this because she has so much energy and that was about a year and a half ago. It takes about a year to get them ready for competition.
So you started her when she was very young! I started her with a “good manners” class, which is like an intro: This is how you sit, this is how you use the clicker. Then they had one called “prep school,” where they go to the next level to teach you a lot of the foundations for agility. We actually started classes when she was about 9 mos old, 10 mos old? We’ve been doing classes a couple of days a week since then. I do two with him every week, then one agility class with her and one obedience class – so four total.
How did you find the classes? On-line search. There’s not a lot out there in the area. I knew I wanted to do training. I’ve had a JRT before and I trained her with a choke chain and a prong collar. I wanted to go a different direction with it. They do all positive reinforcement. I think it’s resulted in happier dogs. Not that Daisy was unhappy, but it forces them to think. Because, a lot of time we do what’s called “free-shaping”: You stand in just look at something, and they’ll try all sorts of different behaviors and you click and reward the behavior you want.
That’s how you teach the weave poles. You come over here and stand, and wait for them to go around the first one, then click and reward. Then you continuously up your criteria. It takes a longer time to teach things, but it makes the behavior more solid.
I’ve always had a dog growing up. When I was in college I got my first JRT from a rescue. I’m from Atlanta. Daisy came from a rescue. She was about 3-5 years old. I just wanted a companion dog. She passed away two years ago, but I had already decided to get Ghita then. I wanted Daisy to have a little sister and for Daisy to teach the other dog, but the timing didn’t work out.
[To the dogs] But now I have you guys!
They are cute and they know it.