Posted Date: April 12, 2016
A profile of IFCS 2016 Team Member Linda Womer and her dog Sonic.
The World Agility Championship in The Netherlands is this week! Meet Team Member Linda Womer and her dog Sonic.
Where do you live?
How did you first get involved with agility?
I watched an agility demonstration that was put on at a local park holding a spring pet fair. One woman was running a long haired Dachshund, and I thought it would be fun to try it with my Papillon Vixen.
What made you decide to compete?
The demo I saw looked like so much fun so I started classes. My first dog thought all the treats at class were great but was not very enthusiastic in competition.
Do you (or did you) participate in any other dog sports or training with your dogs?
Several years ago I did some obedience with my Belgian Tervuren Phoenix and Papillon Vixen. I really enjoy teaching lots of tricks to all my dogs.
Tell us more about the dog you will be competing with as an IFCS Team Member?
SuperSonic is a seven-year-young Papillon. I purchased him from a small breeder in central Pennsylvania to just have some fun with and wanted a young puppy so that my young son, Zac, and the puppy would grow up together. Sonic and I started taking an agility foundation class and he loved all the games and loved to work. At the end of 2009 we entered one classSteeplechase. He ran happy and clean and placed fourth! I was hooked and we were very successful in competition. This will be his third consecutive year competing at the WAC representing the USA. Sonic was also a WAC 2015 USA Team member.
Does your dog have any quirks or unique habits that you loved to share?
I could write a novel about Sonic's quirks and strange habits! He knows a lot of tricks so he will sometimes offer a variety of them to me in the hopes of getting "paid." I often joke about getting him a sign that says, "Will work for food." I taught him to "hide" in things so he likes to get into things like baskets, boxes and luggage. He will even go into the kitchen cabinets and sit or down and wait for treats. Sonic also decided that the dishwasher door makes a great down table!
Are there any challenges you have faced with your dog that you'd be willing to share and how you both overcame the challenge and achieved success?
Sonic was always a little soft so I had to work on building his drive. He would not tug toys with me and now I often have trouble getting him to let the tug toy go!
Do you have other dogs/pets aside from your IFCS dog? Tell us more about them:
I currently have six Papillons. Three retired black and white ones: Panda Bear who will be turning 16-years-young on June 5th, and two of her sons who are both 14-years-young, Krickit and D'Artagnan. I also have two younger Papillons: Frenzi who is five-years-old and my youngest dog, Epic, is a little over a year.
Describe for us what you do in your other non-agility life, work life?
I am a small animal veterinarian and a single mom. I knew I would need to work on all my agility dogs so I became certified in Animal Chiropractic and Massage. I also attended the Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner modules at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in Florida. In addition, I studied Animal Acupuncture at the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I see some clients in my home and also work some weekends at trials when I am not competing.
How does it feel to be on the IFCS Team this year?
I am thrilled to be representing the United States for the third consecutive year. I am really looking forward to being part of such a great team and event!
What are you looking forward to the most at the World Agility Championship event in The Netherlands this April?
I love seeing all the amazing competitors at this event. There are so many talented dogs and handlers.
Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for a big competition?
I try to work on some skills that might show up at the big event. I try to eat well and walk and stretch. I also work on my mental game.
People who enjoy agility with their dogs are often intimidated by the idea of competitionwhat advice would you give them to encourage them to take the plunge?
Remember that you became involved with agility because it was fun! So when you think you are ready to compete, just relax and trust your training and trust your dog and have fun!
Do you have a favorite dog from a book, movie, TV-show or video game?
Two very funny books are Memoirs of a Papillon and Diary of a Mad Dog by Genevieve. After all they were written by the Papillon herself! But I also enjoyed the story told by the dog, Enzo, in the book The Art of Racing in The Rain. I also like the dedication shown by the Akita in the movie Hachi: A Dog's Tale.