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IFCS Team Profile: Melanie Rock and Puma

A profile of IFCS Team USA Member Melanie Rock and her dog Puma.

Where do you live?  

I live in west Bloomfield Michigan. We have an acre in a subdivision on a lake which is great for the dogs.

How did you first get involved with agility?

Growing up I had two big Standard Poodles who I trained all kinds of tricks and took to a few local fairs. We won the trick competitions and made the paper in our town. I also was horse crazy from very young age. I competed in eventing and dressage all my life. I had my first pony Misty when I was eight-years-old. She also did tricks as well. But when I wasn't at the barn I would make my dogs do horse stuff, jumping and such. When I first saw dog agility in person I was so surprised and could wait to give it a try. 

What made you decide to compete?  

I have always been competitive. I love to show off. I always felt when I was training it was so that I would do well in competition so it seemed natural.

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

Just agility but love to hike and swim with them. I take at least one almost every where I go.    

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

Puma is a Border Collie and my first Border Collie. I got him in the hopes that he would be able to be a world class dog. He has made training so much fun with all his enthusiasm in every thing he does. He is very much a cuddler too and a big mush. He gives everything his all and has taught me so much. He was not easy to show at first. It took lots of hard work to come together but deep down his heart and mine were all in it. 

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

Of course he is a Border Collie, so lots of funny stuff. He is crazy about the garage door opening and feels the need to try to herd everyone in or out of it. He is possessed and loves water bottles. He will look all over parks and fields in hopes to find one, then of course wants to play fetch with it. I stopped throwing sticks for him. He always has to be touching me like a crazy cuddler.

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

I have five dogs right now, 10-year-old Shiloh my Doberman. She did so much in her life, won almost every national and invitational I took her to and she is retired. I have two young Border Collies Guess (one-year-old) and Frye (five-months-old). Frye is also Puma's niece. I also have Coyote who is an alternate on the team. She is a Pyrenean Shepherd. I have also had two Min Pins, a Boxer and a Manchester Terrier who competed as well.  

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

I have an 11-year-old daughter and am married to a great guy who lets me do all this craziness. I teach agility class for my job at the time. I mainly am also into yoga, boating, art and having fun.  

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

This is really my dream come true. When I got Puma as a pup this is what I had always hoped would one day be in our future. However for it all coming together is just the best feeling ever. I wake up everyday and am so excited for what we are doing to prepare and train. To be part of such a great team is amazing and to have the friendships and support along the way is just incredible.  

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

To be surrounded by such awesome teams and be able to be apart of it. The adrenaline at the event is huge and to know that everything you have worked so hard to be a part of is finally here.  

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

Lots, from good rest to mental and physical training to be in good shape to run.   Rest and condition the dogs properly.   

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 like to look at competition as a test of my training. So it is just that: Enter and see what you got. This should be fun and at the same time you are still just running around in the dirt with your dog. It doesn't have to be perfect so don't worry.  Everyone has to start somewhere and then you have stuff to work on. Don't worry what other people think - keep it personal. 

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

Yes. Scooby-doo and Dobermans in movies are probably my favorite, but my mom always drew Snoopy on everything.


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