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IFCS 2016 Team Member Profile: Yukari Nishimura

A profile of 2016 IFCS Team Member Yukari Nishimura and her dog Simba.

The World Agility Championship in The Netherlands is only a few weeks away! Meet competitor Yukari Nishimura and her dog Simba.


I was born in Tokyo, Japan and spent my childhood between New York and Tokyo due to my father's business. After graduating college in Japan, I worked in a Japanese financial institute for a while, but I decided to apply for grad school in the U.S. because it was all a men's world back then in Japan (maybe still is to some extent). When I was applying for grad school from Japan, I thought that I would try living in the West Coast for the first time and since then I am staying here because I love the weather. Currently, I work as a program manager in a company called Applied Materials and my life is very hectic. I have two Miniature Pinschers: Belle, 13-year-old black and tan female and Simba, five-year-old red male. I leave my dogs at home for over 10 hours on weekdays, but fortunately, I can spend all my time with them on the weekends. I wish I can spend more time with my dogs and train, but in order to support my dog's career as an agility competitor, I guess I cannot retire for a while. :)


Where do you live? 

I live in Sunnyvale, CA and am originally from Tokyo, Japan.

How did you first get involved with agility?

I have always wanted a dog since I was little, but because of my father's job, we moved between Japan and USA, so I could not get a dog. After I moved here and bought a house, I had my first ever dog, Belle, a female Miniature Pinscher. I wanted to do something fun for her, so I started flyball and agility. She loved agility and I got hooked.

What made you decide to compete?

I was bit by the agility bug.

Do you (or did you) participate in any other dog sports or training with your dogs?

I did flyball with my first dog for one year, but agility was much more fun for us, so currently we are only doing agility.

Tell us more about the dog you will be competing with as an IFCS Team Member?

Simba is a five-year-old male Miniature Pinscher weighing six-and-a-half pounds.  He is my second ever dog and he is always happy. His code name is "Super Monkey" and he keeps me entertained all the time.

Does your dog have any quirks or unique habits that you would love to share?

He is a mastermind of getting into treats that I have hidden in a jar. He can get on the dining table from a little space between the chair and the table and somehow remove the lid of the jar. He is small, but he can do stuff that I never thought was possible. Recently, I installed a Nest cam and found him in action, so I have evidence!

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?

He had his femoral head ostectomy (FHO) at seven months due to Legg Perthes disease which is degeneration of femur head. We worked really hard to get his muscle back and still do a lot of core work on his right leg as well as acupuncture and massages. 

Do you have other dogs/pets aside from your IFCS dog? Tell us more about them:

I have a 13-year-old black and tan Miniature Pinscher, Belle. She is retired now and was not as fast as Simba, but she has ADCH Bronze and LAA Silver. She is a princess and still hoping that Simba will move out from our house even after five years of living together.

Describe for us what you do in your "other" non-agility life/work life?

I work as a program manager at Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Company. I interact with different groups and it is very busy. I wish I had more time to spend with my dogs.

How does it feel to be on the IFCS Team this year?

I am very excited and happy to be on the team. This will be my first time to see other competitors from other countries and hope to meet a lot of people. At Cynosport, I met Japanese competitors and made a lot of friends, so I hope to do the same.

What are you looking forward to the most at the World Agility Championship event in The Netherlands this April?

Meeting other competitors from different countries and get inspired by top athletes.

Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for a big competition?

Get a lot of rest and study past maps from the judges.

People who enjoy agility with their dogs are often intimidated by the idea of competition - what advice would you give them to encourage them to take the plunge?

I started competing because I wanted to face my fear and be mentally strong. I was so nervous at my first competition thinking that it would be embarrassing if I didn't do well. I also fell on the ground at my first trial. But, my dog (Belle) stayed with me and didn't go anywhere which was a big surprise to me. It is about you and your dog and team work. There are a lot of things you can learn about yourself and your dog in competitions and I love this sports because I feel great when I lead my dog well and he/she responds to you with trust.

Do you have a favorite dog from a book, movie, TV-show or video game?

Happy from Japanese anime about service dog and a blind girl.


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