As many of you know, I have built this company (both training and raw food), because of my GSD Jax. He has challenged me as a trainer and opened my eyes to proper canine nutrition. He is the reason behind my WHY, which is to create a community of like-minded individuals who LOVE their dogs, and want to give them an optimum life.
I’ve had Jax since he was only 7 weeks old. To be completely honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I brought him home. Coming from a background in animal welfare, I started training him with primarily all positive reinforcement. As he got into his teens, he was a holy terror. Trainers, and others told me he was a “bad dog”, “aggressive”, etc. I refused to accept this. I knew I had to be doing something wrong. This is when I started my journey into balanced training. I was so committed to never failing him again that I had his name tattooed on my wrist on his first birthday. It was a symbol of my commitment to him. To be the handler that he so deserved.
Our first big milestone was being validated at the JIBC for Security/Protection in 2014. I was super proud of that accomplishment. I definitely had a dog that would protect me. A big, bad biting machine, but looking back my obedience was still a hot mess!! (Friends, you remember those days!)
By the grace of God (or perhaps incredible luck), we have since had the opportunity to learn from some of the best obedience trainers (Doug Leaf, Keltie R. Lang, (workshops with Sylvia Bishop)). Training with these individuals resulted in my leap from the protection world to the world of CKC Obedience trials. 2018 marked another milestone when Jax received his Companion Dog (CD) title.
Competing with Jax in obedience has been about a lot more than just teaching my dog obedience. I’ve made many errors with Jax over the years and it has been a challenge to re-train so many of the things I originally did so wrong. I have this overwhelming sense of anxiety when I step into the ring with Jax (and only Jax, not any of my other dogs), because I know that if he doesn’t perform well it is a reflection of my handling. It kills me to feel like I let my dog down.
So here we are, May 2019. We have just returned from the Kelowna Kennel Club Outdoor Trial. We did not come home with any ribbons, but we had fun! It was by far, the best we ever performed in the ring as a team!! Jax was attentive, and I finally found my confidence. In a way, that is worth more than any ribbon. He nailed many of the exercises but failed to jump the broad jump, and failed to jump the high jump on the return with the dumbbell, which resulted in disqualification.
Now most people don’t post their failures. I am, because this is OUR journey. I have come a long way from having a German Shepherd that I couldn’t walk down a hallway without him barking and lunging at people and dogs. I am so proud of the work we did yesterday, not to mention what well behaved shepherds I had for the long drive and the hotel stay. This weekend I truly enjoyed the journey, even though we didn’t cross the finish line.
Congratulations to all of those that did cross the finish line this weekend, you are an inspiration. And good luck to all of those still competing today!
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