December 26, 2023

Episode 326: Interview with US Open Champion Perry DeWitt

In this episode (43:39)

In this episode, we’re thrilled to welcome back Perry DeWitt to discuss her phenomenal success in both the UKI US Open and the AKC European Open Team Tryouts. We delve into her winning strategies, training techniques, and experiences in these top-level competitions.

You Will Learn

  • Perry’s approach to handling multiple dogs at different jump heights.
  • The complexities and rewards of competing and training with a spouse.
  • Perry’s advice to both new and seasoned competitors.

Mentioned/Related

I'm Jennifer. I'm Esteban. And I'm Sarah. And this is episode 326. Today's podcast is brought to you by hititboard.com and the new Teeter TeachIt, an easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter so you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go to Hititboard.com for the new Teeter TeachIt and other training tools and toys,

use discount code BDA 10 to get 10% off your order. That's hititboard.com. Today we are very excited to be joined on the podcast by Perry DeWitt. Welcome to the podcast, Perry. Hi. Thank you so much for having me on. And I really should say welcome back because we recently had a a you on the podcast after AKC Nationals. Yeah.

Where you won with your dog wit. And then now we have to have you back on because you are having one of the most dominant seasons and specifically one of the most dominant falls I have ever seen in my life in agility. And so we wanna talk a little bit about your fall and your results, but we also wanna kind of jump in and dive deep into some training aspects and some things that are very unique to your situation with the dogs that you're running.

But let's just take a moment and talk about, you know, I guess what you've been doing this fall. So the last time I saw you live, we were both in the Czech Republic and you were, and that was the Agility World Championship. And then since then we've had the UKI US Open, we've had the announcement of the World Agility Open team,

and we've had the EO tryouts for Team USA, so the AKC European Open Team. So can you tell us a little bit about everything that went on in those events? Sure. So my dogs were very good. I felt like it was both those weekends for the most part were were weekends where things happen, like went as planned more like, I mean,

agility's always unpredictable, but sometimes you have a weekend where you feel like you're really on and your dog's really off, or your dog's really on and you're really off. And I felt, especially for Jenny, both of those weekends were like, felt exceptional for her. I felt, you know, I, I felt I, I did well, I did well also,

but I felt like she like went to another level of just being so on point and so with me and like, just seemingly like more grown up than she ever has felt before. And how old is Jenny? She's three and almost a half. Oh my goodness. You've got some great times ahead of you. I, yeah, I hope so. She's,

she's, she's really come along, especially in the last six months I feel like she's, like, I keep saying, I feel like she just finally, not finally, but I feel like she really figured it out, like the whole point of agility and how to balance her focus on me and the obstacles and it's, it, it seemed sudden and all of a sudden she's just doing it.

It's really, it's really cool. And Witt has, Al Witt is a different, a kind of a different dog and he's, he's, he's always been really like, really good in practice and really smart and really learned fast and never overthought things and just was very, very like e not easy, but kind of easy and then a little bit unpredictable in shows.

Like he was always, he'd always do something I didn't expect where Jenny's always been very predictably having the same if if she has an issue it'll show up in practice and at a trial. And it's not like I'm ever shocked by anything she does where he is kind of the opposite, where he's always been really good and then he'll do something where I'm like,

oh my God, what, where did that come from? And he is just, as he is gotten older, that's happened less and less and less and, and at the open, it's hard to even remember, but he was just, he was amazing. I, I felt like he didn't do, he had one bar and I, and we had one little refusal that was IE it was my fault.

And he, he was so perfect. It was like, it felt like in a way it felt like they both kind of grew up. He's sick and she's three, but that's kind of like, you know, the different dogs, different journeys. But at the, at eo at EO tryouts, like I said, I felt like Jenny really was really on point and like way better than I expected,

especially doing the switching jump heights from 20 to 24. And he, he did really well also, but not as well as he did at the open. And I think mostly due to the surface, he is just so amazing on art or on natural surface, like dirt and grass. And definitely noticed a difference with him on anything other than like the best turf ever where Jenny doesn't have any of that.

So I felt I could feel a difference between him and at the open and EO tryouts, but, but for the most part they really both just were, were on, which was cool. I never felt like any disappointments or any shocks or any, anything like that where they, they were not anything other than their best, pretty much their best selves.

So it was really cool. Yeah. So at the US Open you were running Ginny in the 500 class, which is 20 inches essentially, right? Yeah. And then Witt in the 600 class, which is like 24 inches. And based on that, those runs at the US Open, they both earned one went on spots onto the team USA for the world agility open,

right? Correct. Yes. So you get to go with two dogs, two Heights, yeah. And compete. I'm sure that will not be hectic at all. Yeah, yeah. Five days with two dogs, it's gonna be, it'll be, it'll be fun, it'll be exciting, but it'll be a lot. Right. And that, when is that event?

The, the WAO That's mid-May, So two dogs, two different heights winning spots at the US Open for the world agility open, then you turn around and you go to the EO team tryouts. And this was just a week or so ago, two weeks ago. And Jenny comes out and wins three of four rounds and earns her spot onto the EO team.

Correct? Correct. So like you were saying, she's such a young dog, so that was amazing. But with also won onto the EO team, right? Correct, yes. So now you have qualified both of them for a, a whole other international competition, but in this case they're now at the same height. Yes. Correct. And I just wanna note how impressive this is for people who don't understand the format.

So at the US Open, they only have one win on spot for 501 win on spot for 600. So it's not like Jenny and Witt were two of multiple dogs. Like Perry took the spots, like she took them at the, and then we go over to EOTT and it was the same thing. There's two spots, there's only two went on spots handed out,

and you snagged them both. Like that's what's so impressive to me. It's not like, oh, half the team wins on and you're in the mix. I mean, you're dominating, you are taking the win on spots in those classes across those events. So super, super impressive and very, very fun to watch. Oh, thank you. Like I said,

I was not surprised. Well, I was surprised, I was pleasantly surprised by, by their, by their performances. That was cool. Yeah, it was absolutely amazing. And then of course you and Jessica are partners like in life and she also goes out and has some amazing runs with Hallelujah. So between the two of you, you were just like snagging team spots left and right and wins left and right and all of that.

It's just like one of the most amazing duos that I've ever seen. So why don't you talk a minute about training with your spouse, because I do that sometimes And It's not always the easiest, although sometimes it's a joy and wonderful. But how is it training together for the two of you? I think you, it how, how you just like kind of described it.

It's, it's very up and down. I think there's things about it that are really awesome and I think there's things about it that are really hard. The, the training part I think is easier than the competing part. Like there's definitely, you know, hard things about training together, but I think for the most part we, we, like Jess,

Jess always says like, if one, we, we, we don't let the other one train without us. So if one of us is feeling lazy and the other one's not, then it ends up being that we're both training and so we kind of keep each other motivated and like active in training that way. So like there's never a time to, to really be lazy,

of course that, you know, when we are training there's things we don't always agree on and, and sometimes we can be hardheaded about things, but ultimately I think we always come back around and, and benefit from each other's knowledge and and experiences and stuff like that. Competing I think is much, much harder just because there's so many emotions that go into it and it's,

it's, I mean sometimes we're both doing really well, but often one of us especially run to run is doing better than the other. And so it's like you are so disappointed about your run and you're trying to be happy for your partner, but then you're also jealous and it's like just a mix of emotion that's really kind of hard to, to manage.

But we we're working on it and I, I actually, I talked to my therapist about it and, and we're, we're dealing with it and it's, it's, I think in the grand scheme it's a very good thing and I think it makes us better because we're, we are both very competitive and we are competing against one another and even if we're just at a local AKC trial,

we still are competing against one another. So there's always gonna be somebody there who is that can beat you, right? So there's never like, and you know, we're not, we're not, I'm not nearly as focused at a local trial as I am at a, at a big event, but I still, I still wanna win and she still wants to win.

And so we're still competing against one of our biggest competitors all the time. And like I said, having to deal with emotions and, and the stress and, and all that. But I think there's pros and cons, but ultimately it's really awesome and we're really lucky that we, that we get to compete and, and really lucky that we get to train together and that we have dogs related and that we kind of,

we know each other's dogs and we can help each other. So it's, it's overall very good thing, just not always easy. Right? Absolutely. Yeah. That's, that's super interesting. I'm wondering about how things go down when you're at a trial and you guys are, are having disagreement on how to run a particular part of a course. So maybe where one of you feel strongly you wanna run it one way and then the other one wants to do something else and then of course it's,

you're going to get an answer, right? You each run it your own way. Let's say you kind of split test it and you each do your own thing and one of you it goes well and one of it goes like very poorly. Like does that happen very often or is there a lot of agreement or is there like, like what is the dynamic like more specifically with tough parts of the course where you don't really see eye to eye or,

or does one of you typically you're like, okay, we're we're going to both agree to do this even though I kind of disagree. And then of course, if you're the one who kind of disagrees and then it doesn't go well, you're like, ah, I should've, I shouldn't have agreed with you. Like, do you have that kind of dynamic?

We, we don't really have that that much. I feel like we have that, we have a little bit of that before we run. Like if I, especially for me, like if I'm like, if I walk a course and I'm like, oh I know how to do this, I'm gonna do it this way and then she says something that's totally different than what I was,

how I was picturing it, I might like in the moment be like feeling not, I don't know if defensive is the right word, but like, oh am I seeing it wrong? Or like, why would she wanna do it that way or like, like that. Right, right. Yeah, Whatever. Yeah. And then I think ultimately if,

and vice versa, we kind of come, we having those discussions makes us, make us look at it differently and then we kind of both can come and say, okay, well maybe actually the right answer is this or we're not really sure. And then, you know, sometimes if we're, we're both running multiple dogs, we might, you know,

try to make the best guess and then if it doesn't go well we kind of know like, okay, well power doesn't really turn as well outta tunnels and so it didn't work for her but it probably could still work for Lou but it might not work for Whitt 'cause he runs more like her or something like that. So we can kind of use the information about what we've tried with that particular dog to,

to help decide what to do with the different dog. But for the most part we don't disagree a lot. I think it's, it's, I think there's places like she'll, she'll tend to do ar rear more than I will and that's just because it's a skill that's not my strongest. So it's not like I think it's wrong to do it, she just feels more comfortable to do it.

And there's, I think things that I feel more strong, like feel more confident in than, than some of her stuff. But for the most part I think we agree on for the most, like we agree largely on dog path and dog lines and, and that kind of thing. And it's, and more just starts to become trial and error after that.

Right. So compared to three years ago, I'm just gonna pull, pull an arbitrary time, time span outta my head. So compared to three years ago, two or three years ago, would you say that you agree more than you did two or three years ago? Like when you're looking at a course, have you grown like, like you guys are just like really in sync with how you view courses and you're running them or you feel like,

have you diverged a little or is it about the same? It's, I think it's probably about the same. I think we're, we're really kind of, which is really awesome. We're really kind of on the same page about a lot of that stuff. So we've never, we've not like we've, and we've learned from each other a lot. So like when one of us isn't sure we can ask the other and vice versa.

So, you know, sometimes the plan that we never, and we never, like, we're not deciding that we're, we're gonna do this plan. Like we do our own plans, but often we do pick the same plans. But I think like maybe in certain situations I'm more comfortable with the plan that we have decided is probably the best way to do it and we've,

we've both gotten better at the things that we weren't as good at and I've taught her some things and she's taught me something. So we've, I think we've grown in our, in our ability to, to decide and to pick and to know what to do. But I think in terms of agreeing, it's probably the same. I mean it's pretty clear that you guys yeah.

Have a really good dynamic in the way you, I guess resolve not conflict, I don't think conflict's the right word, but maybe a disagreement d of opinion. Well, have you ever had, have you ever required a third person, a third trainer or a friend to come in arbitrate in a particularly heated discussion about X, Y or Z that's related to agility,

I think, is it like Yeah, we, I mean we have, we have close friends that we do agility with that that we'll discuss also with. It's not like we're only gonna discuss with each other. And so if our, if our, you know, our agility peers are there, we'll we'll discuss with them as well and kind of bounce ideas back and forth.

But we really don't get, we rarely get heated about what, how to handle. It's usually more like emotions after runs that we might say something stupid or, or have like a, you know, a just an emotional moment about whatever might've happened. And sometimes it, I mean I guess sometimes it can be about, now that I'm thinking about it,

like it could be like if I'm suggesting something that she ends up doing or vice versa and then it doesn't go well, we could say something like, I shouldn't have done that. Where it's like, are you saying that because I told you to do that or Right that or yeah. So it's like, but that I think is just all like the normal amount of disappointment and you know,

whoever's the first person you talk to after is gonna get your, your, sometimes I shouldn't have said that moment, which happens often be one of us and we've been have also just run. So it's kind of a, that's, I think that's where it's hardest. It's after. Sure. I think this is really helpful, especially for beginners to hear because I think a lot of people when they first come into the sport kind of have a mindset of they're gonna try and figure it out themselves and,

and certainly there's, there's a, there's a pleasure in kind of figuring out the course. It's a little bit like a puzzle. I remember you, you were telling us about the guy who does the course maps, right? He tries to figure out the max amount of points for what, what game is that for Fast? Yeah, that was our podcast on the agility course maps Facebook group.

And they were saying that one of the, the people like waits all week for the maps to be posted from the weekend and then he goes and figures out what path he could do to get the maximum number of like a New York Times password puzzle almost. Right. But, but at a, I think at very high levels and well, I think in,

in a lot of the sport you have people who are getting together and I think that's where you have so much growth and so much support and so much building community in the sport when everyone's like bouncing ideas off of each other before and after the course. You know, you analyze before and then you have that post run analysis as opposed to just showing up,

doing it all on your own, having, running your course and then feeling good or bad based on those results and not really interacting with other people around that course. Jen, I don't, I don't have a spouse that does agility but listening to Perry talk is to a t like almost uncanny to a t describing the relationship that I have with my best friend Abby.

We both have, you know, 12 and sixteens. So we let, we stay away from the 20 and 20 fours. We let, we don't wanna go up against Perry and Jess since clearly we, we already know they're dominating. But everything you're describing is so on point about like the discussions on handling and even just dog training when we train together and generally we're on the same kind of same style,

same opinion of things and she'll train and then I'll be guilted into training or I'll be like, I'm training, you wanna come over? And she's like, okay, I'll be there shortly. And then the emotions after are always kind of harder, you know, we've had situations where, you know, on one day we're teammates and we are teaming up together and then the very next day we're like competing against each other and you know,

we, we've had some events where we've gone head to head and it's hard, you know, AKC nationals a couple years ago, it's tough in the 12 inch class, but then, you know, it's great at like Westminster she did 12 and I did 16. So I think there's a lot of parallels about what you're discussing with like training partners and training buddies as well.

And as you were talking, the other thing that kind of really related to me is at the Purina St. Louis, the Purina site, they have banners along the wall and there is one that has a quote and I don't remember it exactly, I was trying to to recall it, but basically alluding to the fact that when you surround yourself by excellence,

everybody gains, right? Everybody grows together. And the first time I saw it I was like, I cannot like think how true that is because some of the best teams and I, I guess when I think teams, I mean teams as in one handler and one dog, but also teams as in clubs and groups are groups of people that push each other to grow and get better.

And I think of United Dog and what you guys have done over there with, with Perry and Jess and Emily and all of you guys and like what we've really tried to do in the state of Ohio, we have a lot of really, really great handlers and trainers in Ohio and you do go to those local shows and while you might not be as focused,

the fact that at a local show we'll have fun and we'll be, you know, Abby and I'll be pushing and going for high scoring sheti like it means nothing except that. Like the club hands out a little ribbon and a dog bowl, but we'll push each other. And I really do think that in the big picture, while it is sometimes hard,

it has made us both better. So it's, it's kind of leaning into your training buddies and your training partners and knowing that there's that balance of, you know, yes we're great friends, we're training buddies, but we also can kind of push each other and challenge each other to be better. So there were so many parallels a across what you were mentioning that I can completely relate to.

Yeah, yeah, that's, that's cool. I have, I have seen you and Abby and thought that you were some of the only people that could relate to not, I'm, I'm sure there's lots of training partners and spouses at Do Agility you guys can relate to, but it's, it's, it's, it's awesome. It's just hard. It's awesomely hard.

No problem. I 100% agree. No Problem. Alright, well one of the things that I also wanted to talk about that's very specific to your situation is going back and forth between Jump Heights specifically for, for Jenny. So I guess there's kind of a couple of different questions here. One is like, how do you deal with going between Jenny and Witt when they're at different heights,

but then also Jenny herself has to run in different heights in different venues. So how do you manage that? What do you do in training? You know, what height do you do in training, that kind of thing? Wait, I want to put that into the context of the US Open because I had the, the privilege of providing the livestream commentary for the finals each night at the US Open.

So I was in Florida, I saw you run in person, you had a phenomenal week. And so I, I know and there's been discussion about it and a, a blog about it in the, in the Wednesday wrap up, but the courses were big, they were much bigger than I was expecting to see in the final certainly. Right. And you're talking about running multiple dogs and different heights and so if you could answer Sarah's questions,

but also in the context of the US Open, like what was that experience like? Were there changes or adjustments that you had to make compared to the local trials and, and like how is that all playing out with two different dogs, two different heights, pros and cons? Let's see. So I mean the open was, yeah the courses were huge.

Some of them were really, really big. The other thing about the open is often I was running my two different heights in two different rings and the courses are not built exactly the same. So you know, they're trying, but there's always gonna be like little differences and so it's not just a different height and a different dog but a different angle or a different spacing or whatever it might be.

So I think I didn't really have any trouble with that. And I'm trying to think, I think, I think mainly because I'm, I'm the type of handler and person that's not like attached to like, it's not that I am attached to a plan. Like I'm never going out there and winging something where I'm like, oh I'll just do a rear if I'm behind and do a blind if I'm in front,

I'm always having a plan committing to it, but I'm able to be like kind of in the moment and react and give information when they need it. So I'm not like thinking, okay, I'm gonna do my front cross when the, when I get here it's like I'm trying to just give information when the dogs need it and trying to stay connected. And I think because that's my general style and my general,

like my main focus is give information when they need it, make sure I'm watching so I can see when they need it. It didn't really cause me any problems like switching between courses or switching between heights. I think with Jenny it definitely feels faster at, I think she is a little bit faster debatably, she's quicker and she's has less air time at 20.

So it definitely was a little bit felt faster and that, so I feel like that's a, a little bit harder than the, the bigger airtime and, and Witt who's not as, like, he doesn't land in it coming immediately like there's like a little bit more lag, lag time there. But like I said, I don't feel like it, but at least this time I don't feel like it caused me any,

any big problems at the open. Actually it did cause me one problem that's not true in snooker. I had, Jenny had a, i I screwed her up in snooker because of that exact thing. I, I had like a feeling of how this one part of the course was gonna go and I kind of decided late on what I was gonna do and I was doing a blind cross and I was so late because I,

I think I had a feeling for what Whitt would do and it was so much faster because it was a soft turn where he doesn't turn well and she turned so well that I was like, I watched my video and I was like, what the heck was I thinking? I was so late because she came so fast and I was just like, do do on soft turns I have an hour because Whitt takes forever to come back on that.

But that was one of the runs that I was not as focused on 'cause it didn't count for team and I was, there's so many runs it's like you can only really be so on for so many, especially with two dogs. So I kind of let that, that one fall in the priority list and it definitely caught me because of that. But I do think it was because of how it felt different with,

with Whit and I think I did it with him in a different ring too. So I think it was two, I think it was actually all those things. It did get me that one place where, like I said, he's, he, he is more airtime slower to come back on a soft turn and I did not account a appro properly and so was very late for poor Jenny on that one.

But other than that I think I, I did, I had, I had an okay time with it. So how do you, how do you attack the training aspect of two different heights? Like, or, or and also kind of trialing up in until the event, like when are you, like I am, I'm not doing any at this height for the next,

you know, x number of weeks because you know, or whatever. Like what is your strategy there? It actually, I really was kind of stressed about it with Jenny 'cause she's, she's, if she has a weakness it's jumping 24, especially the slices. Like there's so many hard slices and she will often hit a bar at when we do our iscs and,

and and, well she does UK at 24 so at our iscs when we do is when she competes in is c often I'll have a bar, almo a bar and I would say half to two, two thirds of our runs. And like when I'm doing those, I'm not prepping like, you know, making it my, my ultimate priority that she doesn't hit one because we're,

you know, I don't wanna do so much 24 'cause I don't wanna be doing too much on her body. But I was worried about it this time because I did, I think EO team this year was probably my biggest priority with her or one of my bigger, I really wanted to make the eo EO team with her and I really, I wanted to make the WWAO team too.

I just, I really wanted to do eo so I was like, oh, I'm gonna do like 15 runs at 22 weeks before I have to do my four really important runs at 24. And so I wasn't sure how it was gonna go and I, and I, I, I had a strategy and I guess you could say it worked because you did not hit a single bar,

which I was shocked by at EO tryouts. But I trained her at 24 all the way up until the open. I didn't, I don't think we showed, I think I had, we did, I think we had a couple of ISC shows. We didn't have that mu that much local showing and I, so I really only showed her at 24 and if I did it was like maybe two or three days in the,

in the month or two prior. And then we did 20 for the open and she didn't, she doesn't have any trouble going from 24 to 20, which some dogs I think can. And then when we got home I was like, well she needs a break. So really I wish I wished I could have just given her two weeks off, but of course I couldn't because we had two weeks before the next big event.

So I, I gave her a couple days off and then I I I went back to some like kind of hardcore jump training at 24 and then on our, on our weekend off in between, I really did not wanna do agility, but I ended up entering a day of local AKC and I put her at 24 C and it was a judge who I really like,

who has good spacing. I wasn't gonna like torture her with something that was too tight for 24. But I, I took her and I just went with the, the thought of, you know, reminding her that the bars are gonna be higher and just reminding her her job at, at 24 and, and she hit a bunch and so we did some fix and go and,

and by the last run I think I did just did three runs. She did not hit anything and she, it felt like she was like, oh right, I actually have to jump and use my rear end now. And so my, so then I felt a little bit more confident going into EO that, that she would remember how to do 24.

And she did. And then of course we had the practice on Thursday, which I made sure that we signed up for and she hit, she hit one in the, I think she hit two in the practice and I just, you know, I, we have our, our protocol for if she hits a bar and just, oh you knocked it down,

let's fix it. And, and in the practice I was kind of, I wasn't, it is a little bit winging it, you don't get to walk it so there's not gonna be perfect handling. And I think with her ability at 24 and her experience at 24, she can't really do the winging at 24. She can, I can kind of wing stuff with her at 20 but then when it came time for the real runs,

I was not winging anything and I made it my priority to help her as much as I possibly could with the, with the, especially with the slices. Like if there was a turn, I was making sure to cue it as early as possible if it was something in between. I was trying to make sure I was just really on point with making sure she saw it coming as soon as possible and she didn't hit anything.

And I don't even think she like ticked anything. She had really, she did, she had perfect jumping and I think I was like, I think she was just happy that I was finally really trying to help her rather than a little bit testing her. 'cause I was, the AKC trial of course was a test like, Hey, are you gonna notice the bars are bigger?

And the practice was kind of like, hey, the bars are bigger and we're doing these things and, and then I think this is what's pretty, like what's cool about Jenny is she, she kind of can match my intensity and when I am like up and focused, she seems like she's better and she seems like she's just more, more with more with it and more and more accurate and more,

I don't know, it just feels like she's with me and she's like on the same page. So I was like, it's important. And she was like, okay, it's important I got it. And she, she kept them all up. So that's kind of what I did and I guess it worked this time. I don't know that I'll say,

oh this'll work every time, but it, I I was able to help her enough in those two weeks to get her back to 24, so. That's awesome. What is, can you describe your protocol that you said you have a protocol for which she drops a bar. We, we, we tell them, we say, oops, you knocked it down.

So we're just marking it in the moment and, and and, and trying to, we're a little bit experimenting with can dogs learn like, you know, they can learn different reward markers, can they learn different, no reward markers like we're stopping because you knocked it down. I don't know that it, I don't know that they know, but we,

we try to be consistent about that just to make sure that they don't know like, you know, 'cause they could have maybe I wanted the backside and she went to the front side or maybe like there's so many things that they could perceive the, the correction for, right? And so we're trying to make sure if we're gonna stop them for a bar,

they know why because otherwise it's all it is is gonna cause them a little bit of stress and to not know how to fix the problem because they don't know what the problem is. So we just stop, we say, oops, you knocked it down and then reset the bar and then just ask them to do it again. And then either continue which they find reinforcing or reward them if,

if I think it's something that there's like a jumping effort that they might not actually know how to do if it's something they're still learning versus them just being sloppy or rushing or whatever else it might be. But that's really all. Yeah. Excellent. So, you know, we've talked about, we've talked about Jenny, we've talked about wit and, and of course Jessica ju has hallelujah and they're all related.

Yes. So So tell us how they're related and yeah, just go ahead and tell us how they're related first. So Lou and Whitt are brother and sister and or Lou is Hallelujah. And she is Jenny's mother. So Whitt and Jenny are niece and uncle. And so did you, did you do the breeding that produced Hallelujah and Witt or? No,

We were really involved in it. We didn't actually like weld the litter, but a good friend of ours ha my dog verb is the sire of that litter. So we, we kind of facilitated the breeding and were involved with it. But like I said, we didn't, we weren't the technical breeders just involved stud owner. But then Jenny is a Lou daughter and so a Witt niece.

And so then that litter you did Welp yourself, right? Yes. That was a loose covid project. We, we were able to breed her just because of the pandemic. It was like during a time where she would've been competing at a couple different world teams and because we weren't going, we had the opportunity and, and that produced Jenny and also Jess's dog empowered.

And so then tell us, I guess about breeding, like how, how you approach it or like, it sounds like for you guys it's very much, it's not like you, you produce very many breedings, right? Yeah, we really only breed when we need a puppy or if something comes up. Like I have, like I've read verb verb,

had a couple litters and has had a couple of litters and I really only agree to breedings that I think would be something that I would want a puppy from or would I would want a puppy from that cross later on just to kind of keep the line going and making sure that we have access so that we can, can continue having dogs related. 'cause you really do like them and they work for us.

I think once you find a, a sort of type of dog, a breed or even just a line that you mesh well with, it's, it's, it's easy to stick with it because you know it works for you. And so we really only breed if it's gonna benefit it. Either we, we need a puppy now or we might want a puppy later from,

from that cross because I find breeding very stressful. I don't wanna be doing it too much. And, and I just, I feel, I don't know, I feel very attached to all my puppies and, and even my stud dogs, puppies. And so it's, it's hard to have too many out there 'cause it just, it stresses me out.

So for Jenny, for instance, like you are the breeder, so you can take credit on that side. You're also the trainer, so you can take credit on that side. So I feel like you can give a very honest assessment of how much is like nature versus nurture with her since you're responsible for all of it. You can give yourself a hundred percent credit,

but like how do you apportion that credit? Well, I mean, I think, I think it's really, it's really both. Like we, Jenny is amazing. I mean, I think she's, Lou is amazing also. They're, they're, they're very athletic, they're very fast, they're very, very game and want to do it. But there are things about them that are not easy.

I think like there's, there's certain qualities and I've, they, they've come down like Verb had some of the qualities, wit doesn't really, but Lou does and Jenny does, where you kind of have to understand them in order to, to know how to train them best. And that, that's not to say we are not gonna improve in understanding them better,

but they do certain things that we kind of, at this point know how to react to and, and how to nurture and how to and how to help them along. So I think I do think it's like the, the, the ultimate potential of them is very great, but I don't think that they, I I do think that, like, I don't wanna,

I'm not trying to, you know, I think they are amazing dogs, but they're not always super easy to train, especially if, if it's, if the behaviors that they're exhibiting are, are sort of foreign to somebody. So like I said, we we're used to it and we know we know what it is and we know how to, how to react.

So we're able to kind of get the most outta them and get the most out of them, I think quicker than maybe someone who hadn't had a dog like that before. So I think, I mean, Jenny is is pretty young for, for being, not that she's so great. I hate to say it. Oh, she's so great. But I,

I do think She's so great. I'll say it. She's so great. She's amazing And I'll second it. She's great. I mean, everyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with Jenny, but Blue Girls for the Win. Yes. But I just, I kind of just get her and it's like partially that I just get her and it's also that I,

I know Lou and I know Verb and I know Witt and I know they're, you know, all these dogs related and I, and I can, I can adjust. I, there's not like, you know, with dog training, there's a lot of trial and error and I think there's less error because there's been so much trial with the other dogs.

So now I'm like, oh, they did this, I know what to do, I can fix it quickly or I can help them quickly. And so it's a, it's lucky for her, honestly. And even Goose, my my first dog who wasn't related, she has, she has some tendencies that he had and I made a lot of mistakes as anyone with their first border collar or first agility dog will do.

And I'm not making them with her because I've been through that and I learned through him how to do, you know, a a dog who's difficult with stay and, and, and not great impulse control and really anticipating and, and how to kind of just work around that. And because I was aware, I was able to prevent any of those things from becoming problems that had to be fixed.

It was like fixed before started type of thing. But I can relate to that a lot because I own bee's father and my mom owns Bee's mother. So like, I've been around those dogs, I know those dogs and Bee was not Swift's first litter, so I got to see those litters. Actually Abby has a puppy from Swift's first litter. So by the time I got b it was very similar.

I kind of like, I knew what tendencies had a, or what behaviors had a tendency to go what direction. So when you see it right away, you're like, okay, I know where this is going and you can kind of address it and work through it quicker than maybe somebody who has never seen that before and therefore they don't know how to react.

So I totally, I totally feel you on that one. Yeah. Yeah, that's very similar. Awesome. All right, so as we bring this to a close, I wanted to get some advice from the Great Perry dewitt for some different groups of handlers. So first give us any piece of agility advice. It could be training, it could be handling,

it could be mental for like your novice open, maybe first time handlers. So kind of beginners to the sport. I feel like my, my advice to beginners is so for one, ask questions, but find somebody that you feel comfortable with as an instructor. I think if you, if you, if you're training with somebody who you're not afraid to ask questions to and that you feel like,

and you know, you're never, like, I, I think beginners are often over faced and I think the sport is really, really hard. And if you're not, if you're not working with somebody who you're comfortable with, then there's always gonna be this degree of extra degree of stress. And I feel like the sport is already so stressful that if you find that you're feeling really stressed in class or in your lessons or,

or, or whatever, I would, I would advise to see if you can find someone who you feel more comfortable with because I think that's, that's when you're gonna be able to relax and learn and, and grow the most. I think stress is re really hinders learning from dogs and people and so and so, like whatever you need to do to make yourself feel less worried.

Maybe it means doing some online stuff before you go into a, into a group class. Maybe it means just, you know, trying a bunch of different facilities before you kind of commit to one or the other place. And I just, I think trying and try to, try to ask your, your instructor to break it down for you more if you need to.

I think pe like I said, I think beginners are often over faced and, and you can't learn if you're, if there's 10 things that are new at the same time, you really need one thing at a time. And some people can progress quicker than others and it's doesn't really matter what type of person or what type of learner you are, you just have to find the right fit and that's how you can start to really grow.

Fantastic. All right. Now second group of people are people that want to be you. People that want to dominate, they want to win, they want to go to the big events, they want to compete internationally, you know, what is kind of a piece of advice that you have for them along their journey Kind of goes to the same as the the other question.

I mean, it's not, you know, I think, I think people start to, when they start to be successful, they start to feel like they know and they stop asking questions and they stop seeking help. So I think even if you are at the top of the board, and even if you're, you're, you know, you're doing well at big events and,

and all that, you're, you still have more to learn and there's still somebody that can help you. So if you're struggling with something, ask for help. Look, try to find a class online, try to find, rather than struggling through with something that someone else might be able to help you with. I think that's, that's how you can kind of expedite your progress and,

and, and continue to grow and continue to get better. I think you have to keep learning and kind of stay humble. Don't think you're, you know, don't think you know everything. 'cause you never, you never, you ne the more you know, the more you realize you don't know anything. So just right. Keep keep, keep an open mind and keep try to keep learning.

There's always more to learn. Yeah. I, you know, when I think about some of the most dominant people in the sport right now, I think of you and I think of Jessica and I think of Jen and like, one thing that I think that you all have in common is like an incredible humility, just an incredible attitude towards the sport,

right? And, and so I think that that is not a coincidence, right? It is that openness to continuing to learn, to continuing to improve and to not think that you have all the answers that lets you be actually some of the most absolute accomplished handlers in the world. So, you know, congratulations to all of you on, on everything that y'all have been doing.

And I think with that we will wrap up this podcast. It's been fantastic talking to you Perry. Love having you on the podcast again. And thank you for joining us today. Thank you so much for having me. It's been really fun. And that's it for this week's podcast. We'd like to thank our sponsor, hit aboard.com. Happy training.

Thank You for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us this week.

To get Bad Dog Agility podcasts sent directly to your device as they become available, you can subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud, or TuneIn. Or even better, download the FREE Bad Dog Agility Podcast Mobile App, now available for both iOS and Android.

Happy training and thank you for helping us reach over 2 million podcast downloads!

Sponsors

Subscribe & Download

Never miss out on a new episode! Subscribe using your favorite app for listening to podcasts.

You may also like

Episode 343: What is a Good Q Rate?

Episode 343: What is a Good Q Rate?

AKC Q Rates for 2023

AKC Q Rates for 2023
>