What is your name and how long have you been participating in the sport of dog agility?
Wanda Usher. I have been participating since 2003.
What are your dog(s) names, breed and ages?
Surfer Boy, Boykin Spaniel 10 years old; Splash, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 8 years old; and, Shelly, Boykin Spaniel 4 years old. They are known as the Beach Boys.
How many titles have you and your doggie partner(s) earned? What are they?
Surfer has lots of titles. His most recent are Performance Agility Dog Champion, Performance Relay Master, Performance Snooker Master, Performance Snooker Champion, Performance Jumpers Master, Performance Standard Master, Performance Relay Master, and Master Performance Dog. Shelly has Advanced Snooker, Advanced Gamblers, Agility Dog, Starters Standard, Starters Jumpers, He has also done some dock diving. Splash is the head cheerleader.
How long have you been an instructor for LCDA and what class(s) do you teach?
I started out teaching puppy classes for LCDA. I have taught almost every class that LCDA offers. I have also served as the training director for several years.
With whom have you trained during your dog agility career and what qualifications/certifications do you have?
I have taken seminars with Nadine Schram, Sherri Wilkes, Webb Anderson, Bud Houston, Dana Pike, Lynne Stephens, Stuart and Pati Mah. Locally, I train exclusively with my friends at LCDA. They are the best training buddies in the world.
What skills do you think are the most important for the dog agility team to master in order to be successful?
I believe the most important thing to master is becoming a true team. There is nothing better than to go to the line, and know that you and your dog are truly a team. The best feeling in the world, is when he looks to you for direction and tries his best to do it right. When you leave the course, he has no idea if you qualified or not. He just knows that he played the game with his mama.
What words of advice would you give to starting dog agility teams?
When you leave the ring after a run, you should focus on what you did right and keep very upbeat with your dog. You can celebrate with your friends later. Also, if you know that your dog is not feeling well, you should never ask him to perform in agility. Agility should always be positive and fun for both the dog and handler.
Why did you become involved in the sport of dog agility?
I don't have any children, so my dogs are like my kids. I always took them to school. So, agility was just another school and my dog loved it and I liked the people. Some of my best friends are my agility buddies.
Describe the most memorable experience you and your doggie teammate have had during your dog agility career.
When Surfer got his Performance Dog Championship, and Shelly's first time in the ring. Surfer and I had worked so hard to get to that point. With Shelly, I could see his potential, even though he is a crazy boy.
And for fun.....if your dog had a theme song, what would it be?
We have 3 songs. "Surfin' USA", "Sherry Baby"--but we sing it Shelly Baby, and "Splish Splash I was Taking a Bath."
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