Why I started agility

Once Samantha Newstead had gone to her first agility show, she was well and truly hooked. She came to training on the following Thursday, still bubbling over with excitement. As her club Weald Agility Group is always looking for members to contribute to their newsletter, she was promptly nobbled. Thank you to WAGS for allowing us to reprint her story.

First of all let us tell you a bit about my dog Poppy. She's a very energetic cream coloured Cock-a-Poo who loves to play and chase her ball - all day long if she could. I first thought about doing agility when Poppy was six months old the reason being is she tends to bark, and I felt that maybe she was not being mentally stimulated enough. After doing some research, I found out that she would need to be a year old so that was that for a while. When she was a year my friend recommended an agility club called WAGS (Weald Agilty Society) and put me in touch with them.

Our first evening was quite daunting but also inspiring and exciting to see the more experienced dogs and handlers running the courses much more easily and gracefully (well most of the time). It seemed impossible that we would ever get to a point anywhere near that standard; but I was wrong.

As the weeks progressed, Poppy and I improved, We really started to enjoy it. It sounds silly but to see Poppy doing the jumps made me so proud and also happy to see her enjoying herself so much, you could see she wanted to learn and couldnít wait till it was her turn to have a go.

We are eight months into our lessons and loving it as much as ever. We have done our first competition which was nerve racking but also such good fun and I learnt so much that day from watching and talking to others who are much more experienced. Poppy still likes to bark but not as much as she did and after her lesson she is far too tired to do anything.

I have to say I started it for one simple reason but both Poppy and I have gained so much more out of it than I thought possible. I have met some really nice people and Poppy has made some new friends too. It is quality time for owner and dog and I would recommend it to anyone.

About the author...
Samantha Newstead
is a pharmacy technician who is engaged to Richard. They have a five year old daughter Jessica.  Poppy is her toy poodle X cocker spaniel.

Sam and Richard have just got a new dog for Jessica to train - with Mumís help, of course - because young Jess wants to go out with her own dog and join in the fun.

First published 23 August 2012


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