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Cody’s Corner: Dog training is hard!

Nova with her winning ribbons. (Submitted photo)

BY LORI Jo Turner

AGAPE DOG TRAINING

Anni Arrowood is the youngest daughter of Dr. Steve Ekholm, raised helping out at the Walker Animal Hospital and working any time she could.  

In April of 2014, she returned to work here after serving for five years in the United States Air Force.  Anni is endeavoring to attend veterinary medical school in the near future. Anni, and her husband, Dave, are proud pet parents of three cats, two Shelties, two parrots, and one quarter horse.

So this is where our story begins!

April 2014 I found myself in need of some medications for my dog Josie – while I was at the Walker Animal Hospital I found out that Anni was home and had done some puppy Agility with her sheltie, Nova, while stationed in Los Vegas.

This was just a week or so before my Agility classes were to begin. Anni gladly signed up her two Shelties, Nova and Soldier, and we started what has turned out to be at this time almost a year of training together.

While Anni, being a gifted dog trainer in her own right, needed very little instruction from me, she was willing to come and take classes and learn a few new ideas and worked with Nova who I have been known to say was “born with an agility rule book in her head!”

Together we worked and trained – after agility she took Nova to Hide ‘n Seek for K-9s. I just “happened” to have a Nova size dumbbell and Anni used clicker work to train Nova to retrieve it, which is also amazing as Shelties are not natural retrievers.

This gave her a competitive edge in obedience and I couldn’t help but suggest more training.

They went on to Beginner Obedience and I asked her to stay after class for advanced obedience as we trained Nova right into open work. No small feat, but easily attained for these two!

Nova and Soldier both easily passed their canine good citizen testing and Nova recently also passed the AKC community canine – a newer advanced testing done in a natural setting.

Anni trialed Nova in February 2015, just as soon as she reached the required age of 15 months. She earned her first qualifying score at St. Paul’s Dog Training AKC’s Agility Event, learning that even a perfect little dog and handler still need practice.

Exhibiting dogs in any venue brings out our nerves and sometimes things that have never happened in training will happen in a trial.

So, why do we do it you might ask? The answer is because it is not easy!! If it was easy we just wouldn’t do it.

As Anni and her shelties move on to schooling I wish to send her off with a blessing from God and the joy I feel in anticipation of seeing their careers blossom!

Watch out Animal Planet here they come!

If you have an animal story or photo, send it to ssmith@parkrapidsenterprise.com. Cody was our beloved neighborhood retriever who died last fall.

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