LINDA HUSSON ~ MONDAY NIGHT
I have been involved in dog training since 1986, having acquired my first dog of my own and realizing I needed to learn about dog behavior and training pretty quickly to deal with my neurotic puppy mill Sheltie. I decided to enter her in obedience competitions after being told she would never be able to earn a title, and she defied the odds and went on to earn the Utility Dog title in both the US & Canada (highest level in obedience). My second Sheltie “Teddie” became an AKC Obedience Trial Champion, and my passion for dog training was firmly established. I became an Obedience instructor and learned more about dog behavior from seminars with expert behaviorists. In the early 90s, Agility was just getting established in the USA and Teddie became my first Agility dog. I drifted away from competitive obedience as agility became my addiction, but I still believe in a good obedience foundation as a pre-requisite for agility. The relationship that is built once you begin to communicate with your dog through training is priceless.
I began to co-teach agility classes around 1995, and started attending many camps and seminars to expand my knowledge. I have had the privilege of working with some of the best trainers in the world, and I am continuing to learn from a number of OneMindDog Coaches, embracing what the dogs understand naturally. The sport is always evolving and it’s true what OMD says, “Learning is Infinite”.
Over the years I have discovered that the best teachers we have are the dogs themselves. They have so much to tell us if we observe and listen. I have my favorite methods for training behaviors but like to keep an open mind to help teams with individual strengths and weaknesses. Most important to me is to keep it fun and to focus on positive reinforcement, and I will always advocate for the dogs. I have worked with a variety of breeds and they continue to teach me so much. While my own dogs are Border Collies, a few have come with their own challenges, such as phobias, sensitivities and reactivity; every single one has expanded my understanding in some way.
I love competing as it drives me to improve, but I am happy to work with all students regardless of goals as every dog deserves to be trained properly and safely.
I have been a member of Tri-State Dog Obedience Club since 1986; I have served on the Board for many years and currently serve as Secretary. I have been the Training Director for over 25 years and have been teaching agility classes there since the mid-90s.
USDAA (United Stated Dog Agility Association) continues to be my favorite organization, having entered my first competition in 1994. I also compete in AKC Agility on a limited basis after having spent several years in AKC Obedience. Between 2005 and 2012 I competed in Flyball, with 4 different dogs. I have dabbled in herding as well.
Since 1994, I have competed in agility with 9 dogs (1 Sheltie, 8 Border Collies). Seven dogs have earned the title of USDAA Agility Trial Champion, and 5 have earned Lifetime Achievement Awards of various levels, including one LAA-Gold, earned by Dandy, which is 350 qualifying runs in Masters level classes. Dandy has also earned the AKC MACH (Master Agility Champion) title. Dezi has been in the USDAA Top 10 for 2016, 2017 & 2018 and was a 2017 National Steeplechase Finalist. Dandy and Dezi have both competed internationally for Team Australia; the Australian handlers cannot compete outside of Australia with their own dogs due to quarantine regulations so they need to borrow dogs to compete internationally. I traveled to Europe twice and got to see my dogs demonstrate their skills on the world stage with a talented handler which was an amazing experience on many levels.
Collectively, my dogs have earned well over 200 titles in USDAA Agility, plus numerous titles in AKC Agility & Obedience, and NAFA Flyball.