Sheila Keddy and Abby completed a PCTIA (Private Career Training Institutions Agency) accredited dog trainer’s program in June, 2007. Sheila graduated with top marks and is recognized as a Professional Dog Trainer. She is always current with DOGSAFE Canine First Aid certification. Sheila started teaching obedience but soon discovered agility, which has become her main focus.
Sheila’s lifelong passion is animals. Her childhood dream of owning a horse was fulfilled 40+ yrs ago. Current “critter count” – two dogs, Ringo and Rosie; two horses, Bud and Pharoah and one super cool miniature donkey, Donald.
Sheila continues to evolve with agility. Between on line courses and hands on seminars, she has learned from several world team competitors/trainers : Kim Collins, Jess Martin, Rebecca McKay, Shauna Oliver, Nicki Gurr, Kathy Keats, Tressia Toole, Susan Garrett, Barb Davis and Stacey Peardout-Goudy. Sheila takes classes, both on line and in person to improve her skills as a handler and benefit her clients.
Abby’s agility career was cut short due to an early diagnosis of Degenerative Joint Disease but Ringo happily “jumped” right in. He has competed at the Provincial level (BC Yukon Regionals) several times and competed at Nationals twice. In 2012 Nationals, he got 9th place in Jumpers and in 2017, at 11 years old, he got an 8th place in Standard! Throughout his career, Ringo has earned many titles and is now happily retired.
2019 will be Rosie’s first year of regular competing. Rosie (and Sheila) have completed several on line foundation and jumping classes with Kim Collins. They swim weekly (for core, balance, general strength and stamina) and both love trail rides and off leash hikes.
Sheila does not have world team dreams but her and Rosie will be busy competing on the Island plus a yearly trip to the mainland for Regionals.
Yes, that is her in the logo. She was my constant companion and training partner for 3 months when we did our trainer’s program.
She had way too much energy. We picked her because she was jumping the highest in the cage at the Parksville SPCA. We brought her home in June 2006 and she was nothing short of a demon!! She was going to be a companion for our Honey Bear. There was many times Honey would look at me – “what did I do to deserve this?”
Abby really liked white things – tearing them apart was fun! She didn’t care that it was the new white dress shirt on the clothes line or the down comforter that was being aired out. I had not yet realized the benefits of proper exercise.
Our first camping trip did not get off to a good start when she woke everyone at 5:00 am with her barking. When the humans shouted at her to shut up, she loved it. Barking is a group activity and everyone just joined in ! YAY !!
However, after we graduated, no one could believe this was the same dog. She could hold a sit, lie down and come blasting across the ball field with a mere hand signal and stop inches in front of me in a perfect sit!
Abby taught me about dog body language, timing and manners. It is rude for your dog to stare at another dog because it can be read as a challenge or a threat. Abby was always watching so when another dog held her gaze she would happily and quickly pounce on them! Dogs give plenty of signals – if you know what you are looking for. Her tail would go up straight and stop moving; her brows would crease; she would “lock” her eyes “on the target”; her head would go still and her whole body would go stiff.
Pulling back on the leash was a huge mistake – that just sent her right at the other dog. A touch near her back end or a quick tail tug could get her attention so we could move away. Even better – PREVENTION – watch your dog, learn their signals so the second you see that little freeze or stillness you can be proactive.
Introducing new dogs that are pulling on their leash to get nose to nose is a great way to start a fight. Walking them forward is a natural way of going. This is why pack hikes are so effective. Humans greet face to face, dogs – well, let’s “face it” – they greet nose to butt. That is polite in their world.
Abby also taught us about the sweet and subtle ways they can take over without you realizing it. How affectionate of your dog to walk up to you and put their paw on your foot – awe, isn’t that cute ? Nope! Gotcha !
Or how about when they lean against your leg or sit on your foot and you lovingly reach down and touch them? Sigh….YOU are being very well trained LOL
When they jump on you and you step back ? Dogs are all about space and you just gave it to them. Instead, shift your weight forward or take a step forward (or backwards or sideways) do NOT knee your dog – simply claim the space in a calm quiet way. Works wonders.
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Ole’ Mexico! Yes, Ringo is from a beach in Mexico. He came to Canada (Campbell River) in March, 2007 and soon became the “less than ideal” K9 citizen with way too much energy for a city backyard. Ringo moved in with us in August of 2007.
His crazy energy totally upset the household especially with his daily attacks on Honey Bear. There were many times I doubted they would ever get along. It can take several months for a pack to accept a new member.
He was the first dog to really show me how effective body language is. I was amazed – he got it instantly. We had already tried a few different trainers/methods for his aggression before finding what worked for him.
We went on an off leash hike with Robert Kerr (U Dog) and 14 other dogs. As soon as Ringo saw all those dogs, he turned into a lunging, snarling beast!! It was a simple “body block” (he was not touched) expertly done by Rob, that was the beginning of his rehabilitation.
On that first off leash hike I learned so much – when to acknowledge him, when to ignore him. I couldn’t believe that during that first 1.5 hour hike with several “block and re-direct” moves by Rob, he was off leash, running in that pack not attacking anyone. He had taken on a completely different mindset and was burning off energy in a natural way. After a few hikes, he even started to “help out” with the rude dogs that were not so well versed in manners.
I no longer hold the fear that he is going to attack every dog (or any dog) that we meet. Is he perfect? Goodness no, he’s a dog.
He absolutely loved agility but now he loves his retirement (and sleeping on our bed) even more.
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Smart, athletic and fun!!
Rosie is a border collie, sport mix, samoyed cross. She was an “oops” – her mama climbed the 6 foot wood fence to visit the boy next door! We weren’t looking for a puppy but all our dogs seem to find us.
She was a handful as she is very smart and athletic. As a puppy, she climbed out of her ex pen and easily hopped up and over 4′ fences. She still goes through the opening on the gate to visit the horses whenever she chooses.
On the flip side, she is so much fun to work with. She loves to learn tricks and offers behaviours. She loves to run fast so agility is a natural fit for her. She is also very vocal and when we are running fast on a course and she is chasing me, she has an “I am having so much fun” growl.
2019 is her first year of actively competing. We are a “baby team” and have much to learn but we will figure it out together
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Lack of exercise – barking, jumping and chewing
2002 – 2015
Honey came to us as a 9 month old barking, bouncing, crazy puppy who loved to chew socks and shoes! In other words, a pup lacking exercise. She was just too much for her owner to deal with. She was tied up in the backyard and her enthusiasm for life (and freedom) was just too great so she kept knocking over the children.
Honey went on trail rides with me which really helped to release her energy and curb her “bad” behaviour. My two senior dogs, Max and Sasha, were not too pleased with me when she arrived. Honey really took to Max and learned so much about good behaviour from her new “big brother”. Some of the best teachers for young dogs can be your older ones. Once she grew up, she used to go with me to help me work with other dogs because she was so easy going.
Honey was part northern breed and was quite vocal and pushy and used her front paws for affection. Not fun when you are wearing shorts! She still needed some guidance even though she became the pack’s natural leader.
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Timid, fearful, not socialized
1998 – 2013
We actually found her in the Buy, Sell and Trade, “free to a good home” and took her in an instant. She spent much of her first 5 years being a mom and raising puppies. She was quite fearful of many things and people. She didn’t play or even show any personality. She was a great example of what can happen if your puppy (or dog) isn’t properly socialized and/or exposed to people, things and other animals.
We started taking her out whenever possible and introducing her to many things including off leash hikes! She loved being a dog and getting dirty with the big guys.
Her timid nature taught me how to encourage and reward the behaviour and energy I wanted. Energy is contagious – if you are worried about something ie your environment, it is going straight down the leash to your dog. They will pick up on that and act accordingly – this can be different for each dog. So as long as I was confident so she felt safe, she was happy to try new things and explore her environment.
She also taught me about body language – hers and mine. She was very good at communicating with other dogs. She would tell them she is not a threat by turning her head away or lying down facing away from them. My body language with her was softer and more quiet so she didn’t get frightened.
It was so cool to see happiness in her when she ran up to greet new people. I took her everywhere I could, mostly off leash and she made me look brilliant!! Thank you Starlee.
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