I was training my male dog Rebel in Schutzhund but he didn't have the right temperament for it so I started looking for the "right" dog for the sport. A fellow dog club member had gotten Fala from a breeder to title in Schutzhund and breed her. Fala was diagnosed with EPI around her 1st birthday. Since Fala wasn't a breedable dog, my friend gave her to me to train her myself in Schutzhund. I was unbelievably honored to get her, she was bred for working and had the exact temperament I desired.
I brought Fala home at just under 13 months old. She was having her first season and I had her spayed as soon as she finished. Once stabilized on PancreaTabs Plus and a low fiber diet the training and relationship bond started. In addition to obedience training for the first Schutzhund title "BH" I started training her for the AD title (a 12.5 mile run to show endurance). I did research that exercise helped boost the immune system and I could see the benefits of running her while I rode a bicycle. After achieving the AD title, I continued to keep up with the running for the immune system boost but summer soon approached and it was just too hot in Georgia to keep going. I discovered dock diving and though that would be a great alternative! Fala and I continued our Schutzhund training and had fun on the dock during the summer.
When Fala was 2 years old, she was also diagnosed with Pannus (a second autoimmune disease). I felt, with this diagnosis, Fala needed to stay out of the sun and discontinued the dock diving which was very disappointing.
With every Schutzhund title she achieved, she was helping me learn my training mistakes and how to improve, we recently achieved the IPO3 title in December 2016 and I couldn't be prouder of her. I have to add the food drive Fala has because of EPI made it tremendously easier to train for this sport!
Spring 2016 I discovered an excellent product called RexSpecs which block 99% of UVA and UVB rays and we went back to Dock Diving!
Now that she is "retired" from Schutzhund, we are focusing on Dock diving and have our fingers crossed for an Dock Dogs World invite!
Any dog I have for Schutzhund will be compared to Fala, the bond I have with her is the most precious. She makes it so easy to put her in any situation and her obedience is on point. Her drive and desire to not only work, but be with me is something I have never experienced before and has brought such knowledge of positive reinforcement training I will always cherish!
~ Lisa ~