For Those Who Have Been Asking . . .

Posted on 04/27/10 27 Comments

I took last weekend and went through some old video tapes.  Many of you that have read Shaping Success have been asking to see Buzzy perform when he was in his youth.   I wasn’t able to find the ones I wanted (where he won Championships) but I think I found enough to give you a good representation of who he was.  The clips are at least 10 years old. One is actually from 1998 I think.

Things that made me smile as I put it together included Buzzy’s start line criteria. Particularly in his later years (there is a clip from 2001 in there). Buzzy always massaged criteria. So MY start line criteria for him included that he could not grab grass. Buzz’s interpretation of this was “I can not grab grass while da mama is watching.” He knew exactly where my peripheral vision ended because even though I never saw him do it, more often than not when I turned to release him from the start line he was spewing grass from of his mouth!

I cracked up when I heard the guys in the crowd chanting “Bee – You – Zee- Zee – Why , Buzzy, Buzzy he’s our guy!” during the Great Outdoor Games. Looking at the videos critically I won’t comment on my poor positional cues while handling, or my hair cut or choice of shorts but wow Buzz was a crap jumper.  I really had no idea how bad he was until I had this stroll down memory lane. I certain knew he knocked a lot of bars but now I can see why! Poor buddy, definitely a lack of education. It is obvious to me which video clip came after we started working with Susan Salo. Although his jumping never became brilliant it certainly did improved.

I am also very proud of his contact performance.  To think his contact training foundation came in 1996 – ’97 –almost 15 years ago.   Of course this training was maintained while we trialled (as best I could with the knowledge I had at the time). But what is amazing is that throughout his career Buzz’s contacts never needed re-training, he never missed a down contact and yet even by today’s standards, he was pretty stinking fast and accurate! I considered naming Shaping Success “Getting Control of the Out of Control”. These clips pretty much tell you why.  Even though he trembled violently waiting for a release Buzz never did break a start line.

It is too funny how when Buzz comes to the line all of the dogs outside the ring start to bark as well. Such a fire started he was, got me in a lot of hot water with is big screaming bark. It was not like I didn’t try to stop him both as a youngster and throughout his career. Eventually I learned not to be intimidated by the people or by the bark but there were when times when it was a bit unnerving.

Occasionally, (the later clips document what I mean) when Buzz’s arousal level went over-the-top he would forget his job and just explode with excitement, coming close to killing us both in the process (as evident with his tire acrobatics at the end of the video). I can remember ducking out of the way of more than one head-height flying jump bar that Buzz had sent airborne while I stood motionless on a leadout. Although their were many of these potentially career-ending, possibly life-ending spills during Buzz’s career he luckily walked away from them all unscathed. One can only imagine that these spills must have taken a physical toll on Buzz’s body even though he showed no immediately signs. Regardless, I can tell you they certainly took a psychological toll on me to see them happening. This over aroused state that Buzz lived in was the reason I never allowed him to participate in flyball. He could just not be thoughtful enough. I did train him for flyball but the fear of him injuring himself prevented me from ever allowing him to run in a tournament.

Back when Buzzy was a puppy (1996)  there where no reinforcement only type trainers out there  to help me. When I reached out most of the answers where those of force but the more experienced handlers (from Europe) would just tell me “we would not select a dog as this for agility.” No one had solutions to the problems I was having. Yet with little knowledge and a lot of experiment Buzzy and I survived our competitive agility portion of our journey. God bless Bob and Marion Bailey is all I can say.

I am not writing all this to brag, but rather to let you know all problems have solutions, you just have to keep looking until you find yours. The good news is there are now tons of resources and many other success stories to draw strength from during your journey with your seemingly-out-of-control dog.

Coming up at the end of the week I am going to have available an awesome resource to help every one with any type of dog. Very exciting, mark my words each of you are going to be thrilled.

Today I am grateful for old videos, what a wonderful way to spend a Saturday night!


  1. Kelly S. says:
    Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 4:20pm

    WOW. That was a pretty bad tire crash…he went flying into those bars poor boy :[

    He seems to be a pretty forgiving dog.


  2. Theresa says:
    Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 3:28am

    Really enjoyed this allot .
    There were weird hair cuts and shorts ?????????


  3. Phil Axtell says:
    Monday, May 3, 2010 at 12:47pm

    Hi Susan,

    I have been trying and trying to subscribe to your Newsletter, but I never get any return e-mail. I tried about half a dozen times over the weekend and twice so far today.


    Phil Axtell (Australian Shepherd owner as of next Thursday)


    • Susan says:
      Monday, May 3, 2010 at 1:41pm

      Hey Phil, are you trying to subscribe with the email address that is here? if so I will try and sign you up myself but let me know what email address you want to use.


  4. Mary Jo says:
    Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 1:40pm

    Ah, was great to see him in action again! Somewhere I have the tape from that ESPN GOG – I may have to dig it up at some point and convert it for YouTube (my own run that year was not worth saving!) You can not only hear the intensity of his barking, but when they zoom in on him, you can see that frenzy in his eyes!


  5. Bethany Crawford says:
    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:25am

    Thanks for sharing some video with us. Amazing to get to see him in action after reading so much about him. Too bad I’m in the library so I couldn’t hear his barking (darn rules. . ).


  6. Katie says:
    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 12:14am

    Thank you so much! As one who loved “Shaping Success,” it’s wonderful seeing the book’s hero in action. Thank you for sharing Buzz with us.


  7. Trudie says:
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 3:16am

    I just loved the story of Buzz and the video acrobatics were stunning ! ! !

    I have the opposite kind of dog (our issues are focus and overcoming anxiety in distracting environment). As a follower of you and the Derretts and Susan Salo, I’m looking forward to the new ebook you are putting out for all kinds of dogs ! !


  8. Diane says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 11:36pm

    thanks for sharing your videos of Buzz, I remember him from way back then, I believe one of those videos was from the USDAA Spring Festival of dog agility in Lexington, KY.. He is an amazing dog!


  9. Ann Hopp says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:30pm

    You are truly blessed to have him included in your journey.


  10. Helen Verte says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:13pm

    Wow! Watch his smoke! Even his table was done in a whirlwind manner. At around 4:21, he turned around and sat on that table so fast, it was phenomenal. I especially like the picture of you and him cheek-to-cheek at the intro. Thank you for sharing this.


  11. Mary M says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 7:52pm

    This is great Susan!

    I have to ask though what was going through your mind with the tire incident….you were sorta looking at him like, “umm we were headed to the tunnell, but we’ll okay you took out the jump too, okay well…are you okay?” ….I am totally curious about your thought process at that moment in time 🙂 Glad he was okay!


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 8:29pm

      Well Mary, my thoughts with Buzz flying by me upside down was “Oh no, not again, please God, let him be okay”. You will notice that I hadn’t moved when Buzz sailed by me. Normally on a lead out pivot I would turn (or pivot) when the dog is committed to the tire. With Buzz I often waited until he landed, particularly on a tire. No way I was going to move until he safely got through and landed safely. Hence I didn’t move. Whenever Buzz would do something like that on a course (he did it on contacts, chutes, some jumps but particularly tires), even though he would bounce right back up, ready to go again, I would take him off the course. Partially as a punisher, to let him know if he wasn’t going to control his emotions any better than that we would leave, but mostly I did it to make sure he was okay. At that point, with all the adrenaline going through his body, he would have happily gone off even if he had seriously hurt himself.


  12. Helen KIng says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 6:08pm

    Buzzy Boy ROCKS!!!


  13. Jan DeMello says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 4:58pm

    I had to smile reading your account of Buzz always being on the go and creating his own games…like father like son:>) Someday I will have another Juice kid from his frozen juicicles…loved that enthusiasm for life in and out of the ring! And oh the wonderful things, good and less than good, that dogs like Juice and Buzz have taught us!


  14. mtrebino says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 1:51pm

    What a fun way to spend a few minutes..Watchig such a great Buzz..Thanks for sharing that margie


  15. denise says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 11:01am

    What a treat! It’s one thing to read about him but something totally different to see footage of him running. His name is soooooo appropriate 🙂 The tyre mishap is truly scary… it would have been disturbing to watch if I didn’t know that he is still living a happy life.


  16. Karissa says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 10:50am

    I so enjoyed watching this and getting to see Buzz run — I admit I was very curious after reading Shaping Success, mostly I wanted to hear this “screaming” you always talked about. 🙂 I just love the prancy dance he does as he waits for the release. What a cool dog Buzzy is, he definitely found the perfect home with you!


  17. Jan DeMello says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 10:30am

    Fun to see Juice’s boy Buzz…what’s that saying? Be careful what you name your dogs… High On Emotion aka Buzz:>)

    So question for you Susan…knowing what you have learned in the years after Buzz, do you think some things could have been different with his ‘high on emotion’ status at the gate and startline?

    BTW, Juice was still the ultimate energizer bunny & toy terminator even at 15 years young!


    • Susan says:
      Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 12:08pm

      I hear you Jan, but rather than Buzz living up to his name, he absolutely was named to suit who he was (not something I would again – – as Jan points out — be careful what you wish for!). As wee puppy we never saw him sleep. If he was out of his crate he was always on the go. Most often he created his own games, like taking toys or bones to the top of the stairs and dropping them – – he would give them a head start then start screaming as he tried to chase them down. He was a riot. Just as I wrote in Shaping Success, there where lots of mistakes I made with Buzz that I am sure lead to his frustration and over aroused state but mostly he was really just Buzz. Funny because none of his littermates where at all like that. I actually had a private lesson with one of them when he was about 10 months old to help create drive! I was able to create quiet brilliance in the obedience ring though, a big regret that I never trialed him. Juice would be proud to know that Buzz is following in his pawprints, terminating toys and leading the pack on walks.


  18. Mary Lou Hanlon says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 10:28am

    The video was a real treat. Buzzy – one amazing canine! The video had me grinning from ear to ear, (except of course the tire crash which made me cringe). Thanks for sending.


  19. Patti says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:19am

    Thank you for sharing treasured moments with Buzzy, even that scary acrobatic flip out of the tire. I can imagine he gave you some potential heart-stopping moments. He is one of a kind, hugs to your special guy today and always.


  20. Judith Batchelor says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:00am

    Excellent video- I cringed when Buzz crashed….
    I am looking forward to finding out what this resource is….


  21. barrie says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 8:58am

    OMG on the tire! Even knowing that obviously Buzz survived it just fine I still think my heart skipped a beat! Also LOVE the tight to the ankle acid washed jeans 😀 Thank you for your generosity in sharing Buzz with the world 🙂


  22. Melissa Blazak says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 8:44am

    Thanks so much for this glimpse into Buzz’s performance life!


  23. Kelly says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 8:02am

    I loved seeing him run (since I never saw it in person) — all except that tire wipeout, which I think is the most spectacular crash I’ve ever seen.

    Ah, Buzzy . . . truly one of a kind.


  24. Luiza says:
    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 7:57am

    Thank you so much for posting this! After reading (And loving!) the book, seeing him on action is totally awesome!


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