After volunteering with her husband, Peter, as Dog trainers during their working lives, retirement has allowed our client Birgitt Beaton to now devote some time to her own dogs and to competing in various Obedience and Trickster events.
Birgitt’s dog, Heidi, is a two year old Australian Shepherd (blue merle in colour), a breed that is well known as a good working dog and highly intelligent, hence their frequent appearance in many TV ads. Heidi has been in training since she was 8 weeks old and now has several obedience titles to her name, not to mention the trophies that sit in Birgitt’s study!
The obedience events require the dog to walk alongside the handler, off lead in higher categories, and to respond to commands from the handler such as go down, right turn, fast pace, stand, about turn. This all being done in front of a judge following close behind. It requires many hours of patient training and taking small steps towards becoming a really good obedience dog.
Trickster events require the handler to put the dog through its paces performing 6 tricks in front of a judge. Heidi can weave through Birgitt’s legs, be sent off to sit in a square on the ground 20 metres from the handler and be sent to run around objects in either direction and return to the handler. In many Perth suburbs there are obedience clubs where people can take their own dogs to learn basic skills that make them easier to handle at home and when out on leash. Many people who take their dogs enjoy it so much, like Birgitt, they go on to compete and enjoy success in competition.
For Birgitt, working with Heidi has provided a rich life experience in retirement that has shown great success from a highly enjoyable past time.