Toby has been my guide since the day I adopted him in August of 2004 at the obnoxious age of eleven months. I never imagined the journey I had begun when I chose him as a companion to help Leah overcome her issues. Toby succeeded in that, and so much more.
For someone who initially despised dog trainers, Toby has taken me to see more of them than I can count, and I have learned something new from each and every one of them. Most turned out to be compassionate, talented people, who have given me the tools, techniques, and tricks necessary to advance Toby’s training. A few have shown me which methods are not a good match for me and my dogs.
After earning his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and getting his feet wet with the therapy dog work, Toby introduced me to the versatile world of dog sports. Together we competed in both AKC and APDT Rally Obedience until a cyst on Toby’s wrist forced him to retire from jumping, and from there we moved on to K9 Nose Work which we still dabble in today.
Working with Toby has taught me that when choosing an activity to do with your dog, both the owner – and the dog – should enjoy it. This helped me to rule out which activities would not be a good fit for us, including agility, dock diving, and formal obedience.
Through my adventures with Toby, I have met so many amazing dog people, many of whom are now like family. I will forever be grateful to my sweet Labrador for taking me on this journey of discovery, which has led me to so many unexpected places.