A little bit about my journey.
I have been taking part in Agility since 2018. I have always loved watching it on TV or at a dog show but I didn't really think I could ever take park or had the right dog. (Most dogs are Collies with a few Spaniels.)
It was a trip to the Cotswolds in early 2018 that the Agility world opened up to me.
My Westie Tilly was always a very intelligent Puppy, always thinking and figuring things out. She runs like a greyhound, chases a ball and always wanting to do something, plus we have such a super-strong bond (she would walk through fire if I asked her) something that is always noticed by other trainers or doggie owners.
I just knew I wasn't using her full potential but I didn't know what I was missing. While I was visiting Broadway Tower in the Cotwolds they had a field with some built-in Agility equipment ( Tyre, jumps, weave poles, dog walk, A-Frame.) I took her and my other dog Marley in to play.
Marley was not a fan but Tilly did it straight away. I knew I had found what we had been missing. I found a club and got invited to open evening to see how she would do. I was so excited when we got accepted for a 6-month trial. Tilly's agility career started.
We had two lessons and went along to one of the Dogs shows to cheer on my club, while we were there we took part in a fun agility run (two-hour wait but I was super keen.) The trainers running the show were shocked that she had only two lessons as she ran the course like she was a pro, It cemented that Agility was her path in life.
Now I wish I could say we have gone up the grades (My mission was Crufts) it was late 2019 that it all went wrong. A few months earlier I had used a field to practice a run as we were going to enter a beginners course, Tilly in her overconfidence decided to run on ahead and ran up the see-saw on the other side of the field ( she clearly thought it was a dog walk.) We hadn't started training yet on this, let's just say it scared Tilly. I was able to get some more work from her but as we went along she lost her confidence completely on all contacts and I had to retire her which broke my heart and still breaks my heart to this very day. We loved it, she was good at it and had a future. She is still such an amazing jumper and she has the weaves down perfectly. It's just the contacts she doesn't like.
This experience took me down another path and into becoming an Agility Instructor. I really wanted to A- Help Tilly rebuild her confidence and B- Help those that like me started with very little knowledge but want to take part in Agility with their dog. I sometimes think if you are a newbie you get a little lost in a club as you find they have so much more experience than you. I would like to change that. I think for anyone wishing to start in Agility has someone who has gone through the experiences good and bad.
During my Instructor course, Tilly helped in our practices runs and she was able to do all contacts (apart from the see-saw). I was so proud of her and a little shocked. We haven't given up we are taking it extremely slow and I am working on her confidence. We won't ever get to Crufts but we can do what we can do as long as she is having fun and enjoying it, that is all that matters. I also have my Border Collie Izzie who I am currently training in Agility so we can start our journey and hope we will have a future together.
How you can get started in Agility coming soon.