About Agility

Small but mighty

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I have a confession to make: For many years I was a large-dog snob. It's the truth. My rule was that the dog must be a minimum of 40 pounds, or you'd better check the DNA to see if it really was a dog. The pinnacle of my large-dog ownership came in the mid-1980s when I owned two Great Danes, followed by a Wolfhound mix and later a Labrador-Rhodesian Ridgeback cross -- my first agility dog.

Then a funny thing happened. In 1996 I started my dog-training business and soon became captivated by several of my clients' itsy-bitsy dogs. The ones that caught my eye were athletic, energetic and feisty -- the exact characteristics that were creating behavior challenges for their owners. Over the years, I found myself adopting smaller and smaller dogs. Recently I astounded myself by adopting a client's miniature Rat Terrier when they made the difficult decision to find her a new home, better suited to her seemingly endless energy. All of 10 pounds, Pretzel is providing me with a firsthand opportunity to learn about the differences in training and handling a small dog. It has been a delightful experience, one that comes as no surprise to Trish Stall of AgileDogs Agility Training in New Lebanon, N.Y.

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