I have always wondered if my love for animals and especially dogs was genetic? My mother and her family were all dog lovers and my father and his family were all horse lovers.
If not genetics, it must certainly have been nurturing, because dogs and horses have always been part of my life.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
I was born and raised in West Los Angeles, CA. and both my parents were involved in the motion picture industry. When I was around 10 years old I was invited to come on the set of the Lassie television series. It was there that I discovered how amazing a well-trained dog can be. All of our dogs at home had some basic training but nothing like what I was seeing on the set. It was there I meet Mr. Rudd Weatherwax, Lassie’s trainer. He noticed how taken- back I was watching the dogs going through their rehearsals. He asks me if I was interested in learning how to train dogs. My mom answered for me and thus my training career started by cleaning Lassie’s dog runs.
When I was in my teens I started showing Irish Setter puppies in the AKC conformation ring for a kennel in Marina Del Ray, CA. and then my life took a change and I started working with my father’s race horses, going to school, cars, meeting girls and all those things teenage boys do. It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I hand an opportunity to bring dogs back into my life. I was in the Netherlands when a friend invited me to come with him to a KNPV trial. That’s where I was first introduced to an incredible breed of dog the Belgian Malinois. Ever since then I have had at least one Malinois in my home at any given time. Shortly after returning home from Europe I moved my family to Florida and was interested in continuing my KNPV work but I was disappointed to find out that the type of training I found here was quite different than what I had learned in Europe and I felt very uncomfortable with it. So here I am with two Malinois and nothing to do with them and if you know Malinois then you know “they need a job”.
It was just by luck I discovered dog agility and I must say that it has been one of the most positive things to ever come into my life. It has taught me an even deeper understanding of the potentials of my dogs, and to work with them more as their partner than their master. For the last twenty years I have totally invested myself in this sport.
One of the most important things I have learned, and that you can do for yourself and your dog is to find the right trainer. If you can’t understand what your trainer is explaining to you, you can be sure your dog won’t either. I was fortunate to start my training with one of the best, Stuart and Pati Mah. I trained with them for six or seven years driving four hours each way for a one-hour lesson. Sometime during those seven years I started helping other handlers and it slowly developed into giving lessons. In 2013 I became very interested in international competition and training techniques used overseas. I had an opportunity to meet Silvia Trkman from Slovenia four-time World Agility Champion and I was totally blown away with her running style and training techniques. Since that time I have been studying with her and now teach her style.
Today I compete on both National and International courses in several different venues like UKI, USDAA, and AKC. My passion for agility continues and I love to teach the sport, I love.