Julia and her Border Collies, Duff and Kat, are well known faces at TCOTC. Julia teaches six agility classes a week, from Foundation to Competition, and has been a part of the TCOTC staff for 10 years. Duff and Kat are truly lucky dogs in that they train and compete with Julia in a variety of activities including Obedience, Agility, Herding and Tracking.
“Build the relationship with your dog,” Julia advises her students. “Start and end each training session by having fun. Enjoy your dog. You will get to know your dog’s top motivators. Are they toys, treats, or just you?” Her students often hear her exclaim, “Praise that dog!” to reinforce their dogs’ success.
One of Julia’s talents is in helping handlers improve communication with their dogs. Her background as an occupational therapist may help. She picks up instantly when a handler’s verbal command tells a dog to go in one direction but their feet or shoulders tell them to go in another. “Look at where your feet are pointing!” is a simple reminder her students hear frequently.
While Julia emphasizes the dog’s point of view during training, she is a people person. “I love working with people and I love teaching,” she says.
TCOTC Board Chair Stephen Dent has been training his two miniature poodles in Agility for five years. “Julia provides me with just the right balance of praise and feedback to help me improve my skills. I thank Julia for keeping me engaged and learning.”