16 August 2010

Cool canine interview with Wendy Vogelgesang and her pal, Casita.

Dog agility ladies are perpetual mobile units. Dogs need to be loaded up in the car for class. Practice sessions. Swim lessons. Soccer. You know the drill. For weekend dog shows, there are a million accessories that have to be packed up and toted along. And, if you're a hardcore mobile unit, you just bring along your whole house.

Wendy Vogelgesang has my vote for dog agility mobile unit with highest per capita of style points. Because I am a cute trailer stalker and not only does she have a cute trailer, she pulls it with a giant, white Escalade. You can' t miss her. Unless you thought she was P-Diddy or one of those guys that wear grillz and drink out of pimp cupz. If they pulled tiny fiberglass trailers behind their Escalades. And had the back full of dog crates. And custom SUV shelves for holding patio furniture and xpens. I totally want my own tiny trailer with a tiny little shower and a tiny little toilet and a tiny little stove to make coffee on. Except I have a tiny little car that can't pull one so I instead, I'll live vicariously through Wendy.

You probably know Wendy. EVERYBODY knows Wendy. She's been commuting from Socal to Norcal for years and year, ever since the first time she saw Nancy Gyes competing at a dog show down south. Wendy decided then and there that's who needed to teach her, and she began her life as an agility commuter.

Wendy's dogs include Rave, her recently retired border collie; Kicks!, a border collie so fast she needs an exclamation point as part of her name; and Zuma, a 20 month old Papillon who we should just call OMG Zuma!! because she needs at least 2 exclamation points attached to her name if Kicks! just has 1. Wendy's 13 1/2 year old corgi, Zoe, passed away earlier this year from cancer.

Wendy's son Shane, now 24, helped kick start Wendy's agility career. When he was 9, Wendy had just begun agility with her dog, Kellie. Shane wanted to do agility too, and started running Stuart Mah's dog Shannon. And winning. By age 10, he needed his own dog and picked out a corgi. Wendy didn't exactly WANT a corgi because thought they were weird looking and she was the one that was going to have to look at it all day when Shane was at school. But she's a very nice mom.

Suffice to say, that all changed with Zoe. Shane and Wendy became great handlers. Zoe was a finalist in the USDAA Nationals 3 times, in Junior Handlers, Championship, and Performance. Besides trialing on weekends, they became regular fixtures at Power Paws in the Casita, cooking up scrambled eggs, bacon and hash browns every morning for everyone when they were up for their lessons.

When Wendy's family moved to the beach, Shane discovered surfing, then girls, and that was it for his agility career. Wendy kept going, and became the handler she is today.

For the past 12 years, Wendy has been making the drive from Southern California to Power Paws. She's missed only 1 Power Paws camp in all those years. I've never been to any of these camps. I thought they were all about agility. Wendy's camp stories though, sound like, there is this whole OTHER part of camp. I think I am not going to put these stories on the internet. Many of them involve someone named Jim. And people who may wish to remain innocent and the Hoochie Dance. Provocative nicknames for the Casita. Toilet paper and shaving cream. You go ask Wendy about those camp stories. I think everyone is going to want to go to Power Paws camp after that.

Wendy is a great trainer and handler. I asked her about how she works with her dogs.

"I've been very fortunate in having pretty stable dogs. I really admire people like you who home and train dogs knowing they will have issues. Of course all my dogs have challenges of their own. I did not pick my first dog Kellie, she was a mail order puppy, and although she was great at putting up with my inexperience in owning and training a dog, she was also very aloof. I decided I would always pick my dogs from then on. I think it is important to choose my dog using my 'gut' instinct and my heart. Temperament is always first on my list."

"As for training, I really try to be in tune with each individual dog and train it accordingly. Rave is very soft. I had to be careful to never show any frustration with her because if I did her world would crumble around her. Kicks!, on the other hand is strong and due to my history with Rave I was a bit overwhelmed and  let her get away with a lot. Zuma, OMG, Zuma! I had heard from everyone who owned Paps that they shut down easily...so, I let her get away with murder! I'm still learning about her. Thank goodness for Nancy (Gyes) and Laura (Manchester Derrett)!

"I guess my best training advice would be to know your dog, be open to advice and train with someone you trust to guide you and build your confidence and your dogs confidence and never, ever stray far from Power Paws."

Sounds like pretty good advice to me. Thanks Wendy!


Elf said...

Excellent work! The inside of Wendy's trailer looks so much bigger than the outside! I want to go live in one of those, too!

Unknown said...

You didn't mention the really cool retro carpet lined walls! Functionally they are supposed to dampen irritating outside noises. I like that they give it a groovy 70's feel.

Anonymous said...

Loving the clubwear and rave wear on this site, some of the best I’ve seen!

Ann from TrainPetDog.com Housebreaking said...

That's a gorgeous adventure Wendy! I just love the fact that you are traveling with your dogs. I wish I could also do that with my dogs. And oh, you are indeed a great trainer Wendy! And also a fabulous dog owner. Can't wait to hear more of your stories :)