January 21, 1998 - June 21, 2011

A good friend of mine invited me over to look at the puppies in the yard behind them. They were all so cute. One of the puppies came running to the fence, sat down, looked up at me and smiled - Lucy went home with me that evening. We were leaving the next day for a tournament in Corpus Christie. Lucy saw flyball and was hooked.

Lucy was fairly easy to train in flyball initially, but then had issues later. Lucy had only been in 1 tournament when at practice she was coming back to a new dog who decided to come visit. They were not happy with each other and were pulled out by the tails. After that, she went around the hurdles on the left to avoid a dog behind her. We worked on passing drills and all was going well until another dog came to see her as she was coming back. That was it, she decided that she could not trust dogs behind her and she would always go around the hurdles when in any position but last.

Eventually we decided to put her sister, Cassie the Cocker Spaniel, behind her. She would roll Cassie in the backyard and should not be afraid of her. We set a box, loaded it and removed all the hurdles. Once Lucy stopped arching to avoid Cassie, we replaced the hurdles and worked on the passing. It worked. From that point, the only dog that was behind her for months was Cassie. Eventually, we put Izzy the basenji behind her successfully for awhile. Once Izzy learned Lucy was soft, she started challenging Lucy at the line. Lucy would not run if Izzy was in the racing area. For several years now, Lucy has been able to run in any position.

Lucy's mother was afraid of thunder and taught all of her puppies the fear. Her mom would jump on the tree in the backyard and bite the bark, wearing down all of her teeth. This became a problem in obedience and flyball when a thunderstorm would roll in. I bought thunder and gunshot CDs and played them softly while playing with toys or working on obedience and giving treats. I slowly increased the volume. This helped. Instead of me walking alone in the obedience ring or her running back to her kennel at flyball, she would react and recover. That is until people starting popping toys in the flyball ring. If someone popped a toy while we were running, she would shut down. Slowly people stopped popping toys and it is not an issue anymore. This was an issue I was never going to overcome. Getting her to recover when she heard the thunder was as good as it was going to get.

As soon as Lucy's baby sister, Lindsey, is running flyball, Lucy will move to a veterans team.