Comparing Notes

Posted on 07/20/10 9 Comments

Here is some fun. This is an interview that was done with me in 1998. It was for an Agility Magazine (Agility Spotlight) that was in existence back then but it didn’t make it. I came across this interview and I thought it might be fun to post it and compare my answers today to what they were back then.

So I will post it in a few parts. Oh, btw sales to my new recallers e-course is going to be closed down later today. So if you are wanting in, you better get on board before 4 PM today!

Okay, here is that interview;

Question 1.) How and when were you first introduced to Agility?

Answer 1998: A friend invited me to participate in a demo of the “Real Canadian Superdogs”. It was loosely based on agility with jumps, tunnels and an A Frame–without contact zones. Shelby was only 10 months old, she had been doing well in obedience since her first puppy class at 12 weeks but she had never seen obstacles like tunnels or an A Frame. Without any guidance or any training, I set her at the start line (in front of a small crowd of spectators) and ran her over the course. She did everything I asked of her. I didn’t know any better….ignorance is bliss.

Answer 2011: Of course the answer stays the same, can’t change history, that really is how it all got started!

Question 2.)What type of dog training/dog sports/dog activities had you participated in BEFORE the advent of Dog Agility in your life?

Answer 1998: I did, and still do, compete in flyball and obedience. I love all three sports and feel each adds to the foundation of the other.

Answer 2011: Although I train my dogs to compete in obedience I haven’t been in the ring in years (although I still would like to do this with Feature). I haven’t done flyball in quite some time. Now my dogs do a lot more walking in the woods and regular swimming sessions to keep in shape and relax us all.

2.) What did your Agility training consist of when you first started out however many years ago?

Answer 1998: It was about 9 years ago (so 1990)  when I first started agility. Back then “training” consisted of running your dog at the equipment. You got them to “do it” any way you could. Full scale A Frames, and Dog Walks, 12 weave poles in a row, me with my little dog on lead, trying to get her to go in and out while actually thinking she had a clue what I wanted from her! Likely for me I had a talented dog who caught on inspite of the methods– not because of them!

Answer: 2011 Again, that certain is the history, that indeed is how I got started. Up until 1999 I didn’t own any agility equipment other than 7 jumps, a tunnel and 12 stick in the ground weave poles. I won five national championships before I ever owned any proper equipment. Most of my training was on things I had around the house and of course flat work with no equipment.

3.) Who (if any ) were the people you looked to for agility knowledge/input at that time?

Answer 1998: In southern Ontario (where the population is somewhere around 5 million) I think there were about twelve of us doing agility at the time. No one had any more clue of what they were doing then next. The best thing I ever did was to get up the nerve to go to a USDAA National Grand Prix Finals. That was in San Antonio in 1993. Stoni was 2 years old, she was fast and talented but her handler was clueless. The first night I sat in the stands and watched EVERYONE handle their dog. I picked out three dog and handler teams who I thought looked smooth. For the rest of the weekend I followed these people around. I walked courses behind them and eavesdropped on their conversations with their students. I knew very few people there, I was totally intimidated and not bold enough to introduce myself, but boy did I learn! I was in awe of all three of them. I have never told any of them that story until now. Today I am proud to say these three; Dan Dege, Staurt Mah and Sharon Nelson are people I refer to as my friends.

Answer 2011: That is a true story. I did three or four seminars from various presenters when I was learning the sport but once I met Greg Derrett I really didn’t look any further. I think that was about twelve years ago. Today I still look to Greg for handling help, Susan Salo for jumping input and Bob Bailey (and before Marion past away her as well) have long been my training mentors.

5.) Was Shelby the first dog you ran agility with?

Answer 1998: Yes, our first run, in 1990, I think we had 85 faults. We didn’t hit one down contact and had several off courses but we did have the fastest time! We were both convinced we could do better and have spent the last 8 years trying to do so.

Answer 2011: Shelby was an amazing girl. She was a 9″ tall “Puddin'” Jack Russell that was like a little foot ball with egg beater legs that flung out behind her when she ran. What a girl. She won the USDAA Nationals, the NADAC Nationals and many other tournaments such as the old Pup-er-oni Championships.

Okay thats all for now. More later. Don’t forget to sign up for your recallers course before 4 pm today!

Today I am grateful for stumbling upon this old interview.


  1. Nat says:
    Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 6:34pm

    Always fun to look back!



  2. courtenay says:
    Friday, July 23, 2010 at 8:47pm

    Just thought it was neat that you’ve answered these questions from the future 2011 🙂


    • Susan says:
      Friday, July 23, 2010 at 9:12pm

      I can’t believe no one else noticed! WHen I realized what I did I thought (at the start of the 2nd instalment) . . . I could either go back and change them all or I could see how long it takes for someone to notice!


  3. Theresa says:
    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 11:52pm

    wow !!! What a fun story of Susan Garrett !!

    and baby, won’t ya look at you now !!!!!!!!!

    awesome !!!


  4. Alison says:
    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 11:51pm

    REFERRING TO: ‘Back then “training” consisted of running your dog at the equipment. You got them to “do it” any way you could. Full scale A Frames, and Dog Walks, 12 weave poles in a row, me with my little dog on lead, trying to get her to go in and out while actually thinking she had a clue what I wanted from her!’

    Not sure if it might be covered in the interview later (if so, please ignore!), but was there a point in time when you had an moment of ‘enlightenment’ about your training?


  5. Louise Lamer says:
    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 7:21pm

    It’s fun to read how agility started for you, thank you for sharing! ;-).


  6. Teri says:
    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 6:50pm

    Crap, was thinking I was gonna sneak in under the 4:00 deadline but got screwed by the time zone!



  7. Kathryn says:
    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 10:31am

    Ah, the old days, when the primary ingredient in contact training was hope. Get between the dog and the judge to block the view and screech “good boy!” whether paws hit yellow or not. But everybody cheered for everybody, ribbons were presented before the whole crowd, and attending each trial was a special event.


  8. Jan Vlasak says:
    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 7:30am

    Thanks for sharing this. I have often apologized to my older dogs for my ignorance; and thanked them for helping me learn!


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