TTT: Let's start with the essentials: What's your pup's name, breed, and age.
WANDA: Backcreek’s Sailor Girl AKA Sailor Bug and Sailor Doodle, Boykin Spaniel, 2.5 years.
TTT: Now a bit of the story: when, where, why, and how did this pup come to you and agility?
WANDA: I have owned Boykin Spaniels longer than I would like to admit. I knew that I wanted a smaller dog. So I went on the hunt for a dog that came from smaller parents, but had excellent health certifications. Also, the dog had to have a sweet personality. I found a breeder that my sister happened to know. He would call in the local kids to socialize the puppies. He had Show-me Boykins and one of his dogs had just sired a litter and he was to get the pick of the litter. So, the two of us drove up in the country to Mt Ulla NC and the two breeders and I picked out Sailor. Both breeders were excited to place a dog in an agility home.
WANDA: I think we all forget how hard basic puppy training is. I was very lucky to have Christine be my puppy sitter during Sailor’s first six months. Then Anne stole her from me. It is an ongoing joke between us. The most rewarding is her sweet personality. She loves all people and creatures.
TTT: What challenges have you faced training this dog compared with others? What did he or she excel at?
WANDA: Sailor took a long time to mature and I just let her be a puppy. A lot of the puppies that were coming up with her were much quicker to start competing. I just felt that she was not ready and that she needed to grow up. Sailor excels at counter surfing. Without a doubt, she is one of the best counter surfer’s I have ever known.
WANDA: First I taught her to play. She learned to retrieve and to swim. These are things she should have a natural ability and love for. After that, I started obstacle training and we still train obstacles every time we go to the field. Thanks to Mary Evans, she has had a lot of obedience. I am in no hurry to move up with her. I have tried to take notes after every trial of things that we need to work on. I think her worst agility skill is jumping. She has terrible form. So, we are committed to working on jump training. Both of us find it boring, but I find it necessary. Other than the obedience, Sailor always thinks that we are just playing when we are training. If I were a better obedience trainer, she would think that was play too. She and I both hate obedience.
WANDA: I did not enter her in a trial until I thought she was ready. I had a definition of ready. She had to be able to perform all of the obstacles to my criteria, she had to have a start line stay, and she had to stay engaged with me while in the ring. So instead of entering at 18 months old, she was 26 months old when she entered her first trial.
TTT: Share your secrets: what's one silly thing you and your agility teammate do together when no one is looking?
WANDA: Shower together. She loves it. She does not like the soap…just the water. She thinks it is raining in the house.
TTT: One word that best describes this pup: