ABOUT US

| DEBORAH JONES | JUDY KELLER |

 

Deborah Jones

I have always loved spending time with and training animals. In my ‘real life’ I have a Ph.D. in psychology, specializing in social behavior and learning theories. I am a full-time assistant professor at Kent State University’s Stark Campus where I teach a wide variety of psychology courses, ranging from Statistics to Child Psychology and everything in between. I have been a long-time advocate of clicker training as one of the most effective and fun ways to train dogs. My experience with clicker training for performance events began in 1992 with Katie, my rescued Labrador Retriever. Katie showed in obedience and agility, and was an excellent pet therapy dog, certified by Delta Society as a Pet Partner.

I taught my first clicker training group class in 1993, a ‘Tricks’ class. At the time clicker training was a new and very radical concept in the dog training world. Choke chains and strong corrections were the norm (and unfortunately still are in some circles).


In 1997 I opened my own training school in order to offer clicker training classes and lessons. I also wrote several books on clicker training (Clicker Fun, The Clicker Workbook, Teaching Clicker Classes), and helped to develop the Clicker Fun video series, in the late 90s. During that time I was also very active in the development of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and served on the Board of Directors for that organization for several years. In 1999, I began showing my Papillon, Copper, in agility, and we were both hooked very quickly. Agility training and showing quickly took up the majority of my free time. In 2004 Copper & I achieved a dream goal, earning the Master Agility Champion (MACH) title and then two weeks later earning the Utility Dog (UD) title in obedience. It had long been my goal to achieve the top titles in agility and obedience with a totally clicker trained dog, and Copper has been a wonderful working partner.

These days I spend most of my free time writing books and articles (primarily for Clean Run and Dog & Handler) and giving seminars on clicker and agility training. Copper is now retired from showing and enjoying his 'couch time' tremendously. My younger Papillon, Luna, loves to work, but has a mild luxating patella and is unable to show in agility. At 4 lbs., she is the Queen of the Universe (or at least the house) and takes that job very seriously. I am currently showing Smudge, a blue Sheltie that I co-own with Judy. He's quite a handful and very much the opposite of Copper personality-wise. Training and showing Smudgie is a wild run, but so much fun. There's nothing like the rush of running a high drive, intense dog. As is usually the case, I am learning more from the dog than I am teaching him.

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Judy Keller

I have loved and owned Shelties for 20 years. At the current time I have 4: Morgan, Sabre, Smudge, and Spirit. I discovered agility with Morgan in 1995. After taking a friend’s 8 week beginner class, I was convinced to enter a trial. Morgan qualified his first time out and I was hooked. He didn't place in that run and I stood there thinking to myself "What do I need to do to get one of those pretty colored ribbons, especially the blue?" And the rest, as they say, is history. Within 2 years Morgan had won the International Class at the first AKC Nationals in Oklahoma, and before long he was on the AKC USA World Agility Team. Morgan has been a dream dog, quickly and eagerly learning everything I tried to teach him. In fact, he taught me about agility! We were on the World Team 3 times from 1997 to 1999, and on the gold medal winning mini-dog team in 1998. Morgan has earned an ADCH in USDAA and has a MACH4 in AKC. And, at 9 ½ years old, with little formal training, he earned his Companion Dog (CD) title in obedience with 6 consecutive scores in the 190s. Morgan recently finished out his Novice obedience career with a HIT at a Sheltie Specialty.


I decided to get a second Sheltie for agility competition in 2000. Sabre has a very different personality than Morgan. He loves to run fast and has tons of drive, but we had trouble coming together as a team. It was very frustrating to have such a promising dog, but to have so much trouble pulling it all together. Then Sabre developed a major dogwalk avoidance issue. It took more than 2 years to work through it. I met Deb during that time and we began training together. I had used a little bit of clicker training, and we used a lot more to help Sabre through his issues. Sabre was the inspiration for our In Focus book. We began by writing about the teamwork and training challenges that we had worked through with Sabre, and it evolved into a book that addresses foundation training and relationship issues. Struggling through these challenges with Sabre has taught me an enormous amount about dogs and dog training. Sabre has improved dramatically. He is now working towards his MACH title, and has done well competing in International classes.

I now also have two young dogs as well. Spirit came along completely by chance, I didn’t need another dog at the time. But, he is a color-headed white Sheltie, which I have always loved. He has a tri-colored head and just a few markings on his body. He is very striking, and has a fabulous personality. I didn’t choose him as an agility dog, but he has taken to it with an enormous natural enthusiasm. In fact, he approaches everything in life with enormous enthusiasm and I am having a blast training him. I am now starting the training process all over again with Quest, my new baby. He is a tri-colored Sheltie with a wonderful personality. I absolutely love puppies and cannot wait to see how he turns out.

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