Fairy Tail Dog Training

Fun, focused, relationship building activities for you and your dog specializing in Agility Training and Canine Fitness for the athlete or household pet. Privates semi-privates and small-group classes by appointment.

Fun, focused, relationship building activities for you and your dog specializing in agility and canine fitness. Offering privates, semi-privates, and small group classes by appointment. Ruth got hooked on the sport of agility when she took a few classes in the basement of a local pet shop with a husky mix named Beaker. Soon after, she rescued her first Border Collie and started competing in 2002. She has taught agility classes and privates for over 15 years. Ruth continues her own education in the sport by taking classes from some of the top trainers in her area as well as attending multiple seminars and workshops each year. Ruth is obtaining her certification as a Canine Fitness Trainer through the University of Tennessee and FitPAWS. (Certification expected early 2018.) She offers privates and group classes to improve fitness and conditioning for any dog from family pet, performance athlete, to aging senior.

[04/28/20]   Trick training, foundation work, returning to your fundamentals is a great focus for these days when you may not have access to your instructors, coaches, or training facility. Body awareness, strength training, and achieving balance don't end in puppy hood. You should be working on this throughout your dog's life. Here is some great food for thought regarding rear end awareness.


With little to no organized classes going on you may be tempted to just throw the ball. This is good info to keep in mind.

Easy On The Fetching!

Playing fetch with your dog is a great way to tire him out quickly and a lot of fun for him. Many dogs will keep on fetching until they are exhausted. Here are some reasons to not overdo fetching:

1. It is addictive.
We have all seen the ball junkie dogs at the local dog park that have eyes for nothing but the ball. Living with such a dog is not always so fun – imagine having a ball (or similar toy) dropped in your lap every time you sit down. As soon as fetch becomes the dog’s main mean of interaction we have a problem: He might get so ball-obsessed that he is unable to interact with his environment in the usual doggy way anymore. It is not normal for a dog to arrive at a park and not sniff or potty, but only stare at his ball. Dogs need to spend time exploring their surroundings in a low-arousal way. Especially for dogs that have problems with regulating their arousal this is very important because:

2. Fetch will sky-rocket their excitement.
Fetching is pretty much the #1 high arousal activity for dogs. While we can use this to our great advantage in dogs that need more drive, attention and focus; fetching can be very detrimental in dogs that are already over the top. A dog that cannot regulate his emotions from excited to calm will fail spectacularly once we introduce him to the most exciting game out there. And make matters worse for the future since:

3. It will teach your dog that rest comes after physical exhaustion.
When we have a very energetic young dog that has a hard time resting, it is so tempting to play fetch until he passes out from complete exhaustion. While this achieved the short-term goal of having the dog be exercised for the day, it takes away the long-term learning opportunity that rest doesn’t require absolute exertion. Many use fetch the same way humans use sleep medication: It is a reliable, though ultimately unhealthy way to achieve sleep.
Teach your dog to relax without having to be physically exhausted.

4. It is hard on their bodies.
Have you seen the canines of dogs that fetch too much? They are worn down, sometimes to little stubs that are barely taller than the surrounding teeth. And that is just the visible damage.
The sharp deceleration and tight turns required when your dog stops, picks up the ball and returns can lead to shoulder injuries, especially if the dog slides and slips during the stop.
Sometimes they tumble or jump up in the air and contort their back trying to catch the ball on the fly. While this may not be a problem if your dog fetches every once in a while, exposing them to these motions daily is asking for injuries.

5. Fetch makes the reinforcement happen away from the owner.
The best things in your dog’s life should come through you, right? While fetching, the most fun happens away from you: while sprinting after the ball and catching it. Most dogs then slow down considerably when they are returning the ball. Is that what we want to teach: Run away from me really fast and enjoy your rewards elsewhere, then come back slowly or even refuse to return and play keep-away?

Here are some ideas for addressing these issues while still enjoying a game of fetch every once in a while:

- You start and end the game. Don’t let the dog start the game whenever he feels like it by bringing you a toy. It is cute at first – until it isn’t.

- Don’t use fetch as your canine sleeping pill. Don’t play until the dog is utterly exhausted.
Only play fetch with your dog if he has good excitement regulation skills. If he hasn’t, work on those a bit before introducing him to the #1 exciting game.

- Teach your dog to come back to you fast and make coming back the most fun part of the game. You could use a tug toy instead of a ball and play a round of tug when your dog returns for example.

- Mix it up – instead of just throwing the ball over and over, ask your dog for some tricks in between throws.

Your dog’s life will be enriched by outings where they can just sniff and enjoy the world around them.

This tip is too good I had to share.
In Freestyle the arms and hands should be for dancing not for directing or cueing your dog.
Practicing this with your dog over and over- and can easily be done while your arms are busy with exercise or laundry or whatever.

In Freestyle, your dog needs help learning to respond to your voice cues while you dance. This allows you to use your body for musical interpretation.

Can your dog respond to a cue for a simple behavior like “sit” when you are clapping your hands? What about if your hands are over your head? What if you are flapping your arms or twisting your body? Can your dog heel with your as you swing your arms? Start small and slow. Reward generously for success with simple movement. You can make this a game and a regular part of training behaviors to fluency!


Five Questions to Consider on 'National Love Your Pet Day' - The Dogington Post

It’s National Love Your Pet Day

dogingtonpost.com February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day! It’s a great reminder to spend time with our pets, and show them the care and attention they deserve.


Less course running, more specific skill training - Tips for better training by Ira Mikkanen — AgiNotes

aginotes.com Ira Mikkanen is a Finnish agility competitor who has represented Finland four times in European Open with her sheltie Carma. In addition to competing, coaching has become extremely dear to her. Now she shares her thoughts about how training could be improved by each one of us, and also how training

The Collared Scholar

One of the biggest things that stops dogs from progressing in training is…⁣


Fear of failing…⁣

Fear of judgement…⁣

Fear of screwing it all up. ⁣

So we don’t walk our reactive dog…⁣

Or we don’t enter that trial…⁣

Or we don’t reach out and ask for help. ⁣

But no one grows inside of their comfort zone.⁣

And if your dog is stuck inside of yours, it’s time to let them out. ⁣

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick

My world is mostly surrounded with people who will understand this - but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “it’s just a dog.” No, my friend, it’s not and I’m really sorry that you don’t understand. Please watch.

This poem really resonated with me and I think it will with you too. Sharing today as we celebrate the wonder that is dogs. Thank you all for being members of our families x #InternationalDogDay





This post has been shard over 1k times. Does that say something about how often we encounter joy stealers?
Please don’t be a joy stealer. And remember you can steal your own joy too. Make note of the great things that go on in the ring and never focus on others. Comparison is a thief of joy too!

greenvillejournal.com Life Lessons from a Dog Trainer with Connie Cleveland



Red and Howling

Wishing everyone a beautiful holiday season filled with lots of joy and furry kisses!

music: 'Best Friend' by Queen (solo guitar arrangement by my hubby!)

Worth the read.
Some points to consider: Strive for excellence not perfection.
And: Allow the dog to be who they are.
The problem with perfection is that we are not perfect - why do we expect that of our dogs. Focusing on the end result of a test or trial only causes us to be frustrated with our faithful wonderful companions.

The good thing about training a dog for work is that he doesn’t need to be perfect.
Shepherds used to train their dogs for work, and the trials were secondary; dogs would be polished up so they could compete with excellence, but work was the priority.
Today, most train for trials first, and the work is an afterthought.
When a dog is doing practical work, he can make mistakes and learn through experience with guidance from the handler, until he understands the task. This allows the dog to develop without a lot of pressure before he’s mentally able to handle it.
With most people now training for trialing, some make the mistake of striving for perfection, rather than excellence.

“Perfection” doesn't allow room for dogs to make mistakes and work things out on their own.
Those who strive for excellence understand that mistakes are inevitable and part of the path to learning and improvement, while perfectionists tend to see mistakes as failures.
Excellence we can reach for with effort, practice, and persistence. But pursuing perfection sets an impossibly high standard, not only for us but also for our dogs.

Some ideas perfectionists pursue is for their dogs to: work at the perfect distance off sheep, drill them for the perfect walk, make sure every flank is perfectly square, to name a few.
The problem with this, is assuming it is the same for all dogs- instead of making adjustments for a dogs individual type and amount of ‘eye’, directness, presence, excitability, temperament, etc.
Often these handlers have young dogs that “never really got keen enough to train” (when it was the initial over training that caused it) or an open dog that flanks rather than walks up, lacks enthusiasm for shedding, stopping running sheep, enjoying turning back, or other.

If you require perfection you can diminish your dogs spirit and their ultimate potential.
Perfectionists may sometimes gain 2-6 months at the start of their young dogs career, but often lose years at the end of it.

Dogs, and trainers alike, learn from being allowed to make mistakes, and, in turn, learning from those mistakes will pave the way for excellence. #macraeway

“Perfection is the enemy of progress” -Winston Churchill

Patricia Alasdair MacRae

Great information! I’m pretty sure Wish’s trouble with bars at Agility this weekend was because she was fatigued from all of the romping in the snow.

I know how most dogs love to romp in the fresh snow as do I! Just a reminder that we need to set limits on time in the deep snow. Frequent and short outings are better then long runs. The muscle use is different then it was on the bare ground. Too much hard and long play can be hard on the muscles and tendons such as ileo psoas, biceps, latissimus and longisimus, tensors, hamstring group and more. Dogs who are in muscle recovery should not be in the deep snow. I love watching my dogs romp in the new fallen snow and it is so hard to make them take a break but they won’t if I don’t insist. Prevention is better then a long recovery. Have fun but take care!

Radio 2 West-Vlaanderen

This was the winning routine at this event. Who knew freestyle could be dark. The choreography is so creative and the distance is amazing.

Elke Boxoen uit De Panne en haar hond Jessy haalden goud op het WK dogdance in Stuttgart met dit nummer. Het is een donker sprookje dat je zeker moet uitkijken! Proficiat Elke en Jessy 👩🐶️🥇

I thought I was going to present to a beginners group but these participants had so many advanced tricks in their back pocket that all they need is some music and they re ready to go. So much fun, thank you for having me.

Musical Freestyle workshop with Ruth Lewis. It’s the BOMB! Super awesome presenter, great participants and amazing dogs. So much FUN!

We had the best time at Fairy Tail Fever in Stillwater, Mn on November 8 a Musical Freestyle Event through Rally Freestyle Elements. After a few video events I finally got brave enough to host a live show.

Thank You to our wonderful and very supportive Judge, Beverly Blanchard. She helped calm the nerves and gave us very supportive comments. (then stayed the weekend for a workshop to help us)

Thank you to those that sponsored special awards (Colleen Bush, Sarah Kottke Palm, Sharon R. Grant, Sandy Miller, Catherine M. Heil, Sue Sternberg, Yoko Ichikawa & Kei, Rhonda Schloer Meath, Fairy Tail Dog Training, and RFE) The special recognition for something special in our routines or our scores is a nice touch.

Here are some fun numbers and firsts: There were 22 dogs and 17 handlers entered over the two events (am & pm.) 6 of those dogs and 4 of those handlers had NEVER competed in freestyle. 19 of those dogs and 14 of those handlers had NEVER competed in a live event.

Congratulation to the 8 dogs that received titles.

All I can say is WOW!

All it takes is to pick a title for the event, fill out the form to host, ask a few questions, rally the dancers together (encourage them that they can do this), ask for some help and have a great time.

Association of Professional Dog Trainers

Dr. Tim Lewis and Sue Sternberg join us for a live interview!

Cloud Nine Training School for Dogs

I’ll be at Cloud Nine in November doing a Freestyle Seminar. This day will be great for beginners and to learn a little more about this fun activity combining music and dog movement and tricks into a fun performance.

Save the date! Ruth Lewis will present a Musical Freestyle workshop at Cloud Nine on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 9am-4pm. Cost is $125/working spot (limit of 10) and $50/auditing spot (unlimited). If you like dogs, music and training, you don't want to miss this workshop! Email [email protected] for a registration form.

It’s the day anyone can be a freestyler!

It's National Dance Day! Get out there and frolic, boogie, cha-cha, pirouette, tango, lindy, slide, polka, do-si-do, stomp, leap, whatever.


Jonna Smedberg and Lizzroys Zoya, Freestyle

results.sporting-dog.eu European Dogdance Championship (OEC), Balen (Belgio) from 25/08/17 to 27/08/17. Giudici: Emmy Marie Simonsen, Barbara Whittaker, Tanja Leblanc, Daems Luc, Ilina Polina. Pubblicazione del video concessa dall'organizzazione OEC 2017 Belgio.

Fairy Tail Dog Training is hosting a Canine Musical Freestyle Event in November.

Who wants to learn more about Canine Musical Freestyle? I'm teaching a 4 week short course/ intro to musical freestyle class at On the Run Canine Center starting on Wednesday, September 20. Musical freestyle is a fun way to connect with your dog, use your trick training, and show off your dogs movement to music. I do not consider myself a dancer but have been able to successfully put together routines and have competed with Blizzard. Please consider joining me.Who wants to learn more about Canine Musical Freestyle? https://ontheruncaninecenter.dogbizpro.com/public/registration/index.aspx?cat=16-30-31-32

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