Preston is the inspiration for Rex's Canine Training, LLC.and for the Chippewa Valley Wuff Pack flyball team. This is her story.
Preston is my retired flyball dog, but her beginnings were not so auspicious. I found her at the Eau Claire County Humane Association. She was cute, but not cuddly. I was told that she had been found by the side of the road and was aboutat the age of seven toor eight weeks old. She was thought to be an Australian Shepherd mix, but with one brown eye and one pale blue eye, I thought she was probably part husky. So, I decided to adopt her and .I named her Preston after Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, a television show I had watched as a young child. And so our journey began.
Several weeks after I adopted Preston, I realized I needed help. I had never taken a dog to any formal training, but Preston was different. She did not want to be petted or cuddled. She threw temper tantrums, bit, and challenged everything. Many people told me to take her back to the Humane Association, but bad as she was, after only a few weeks, I was already attached. Besides, who would adopt her if I took her back So I looked for a trainer.
I called Ann Braue's Canine Training Center and enrolled Preston in Puppy Kindergarten. In Puppy K, while the other students were teaching their puppies to sit and down, I was just trying to get Preston under control. In fact, after three weeks of class, I asked Ann if Preston would ever stop biting me and be a "normal" dog . Ann was confident that with the consistent, firm training and positive reinforcement we were practicing it could be done. Things were improving.
A couple of weeks after Puppy Kindergarten concluded, beginning obedience started. When Preston and I walked in, the class members were surprised. They couldn't believe I still had Preston. But Ann wasn't surprised, nor were her assistant trainers and some long time clients. They kept working with us. I was learning as much or more than Preston. Preston graduated from beginning obedience and then advanced. She went on to earn her United Kennel Club Companion Dog title, scoring 185, 186 and and 186.5, with one second place finish and two first place finishes.
While we were working toward Preston's obedience titles, Preston and I began to bond. We took classes in agility and did fun matches. Preston earned her Canine Good Citizen certification and her Therapy Dog International certification. And thanks to Flo Pulse, Preston learned to track.
I started teaching Preston the basics of flyball. We attended a seminar conducted by two members of the Rocket Relay flyball team from Canada. We learned better flyball techniques and how to teach them. We then went in search of a flyball team. We finally found one in Western Wisconsin and drove over an two hours round trip weekly to go to practice. Preston loved flyball and holds five flyball titles, attaining Flyball Dog Champion Gold status.
During this time we attended Dog Days of Wisconsin Dog Camp for seven consecutive years. We attended the flyball seminars at camp every year to learn new information and techniques. We did flyball with the friends we met at camp and demonstrated it with the instructors dogs to those who had not seen flyball. We also did may other things at camp and made close friends that we continue to have contact with.
At the age of 10 , Preston retired from flyball. She is now 13 years old and is the mascot for Rex's Canine Training, LLC. She demonstrates stretching and warm-ups to the beginning classes and attends Flyball graduations. Preston helps to promote the sport of flyball, Rex's Canine Training, and the Chippewa Valley Wuff Pack at events held by the humane associations in our area.
Preston is still very active, walking, kayaking, boating, and swimming. She is not only the inspiration for Rex's Canine Training and the Chippewa Valley Wuff Pack, but more importantly, my pride and joy. She is willing to try anything with me and has been successful at most.
Many people have told me that Preston was lucky I adopted her. But I believe that I am the lucky one. Because of Preston, I became involved in dog training and dog sports. I have met people (and dogs) who have become my good friends. Most of all, I have the pleasure of being bonded with a wonderful dog who is my best friend and who loves me unconditionally.