Hi, I'm Laura Dayton, and the photo above is of my first Bearded Collie, Astro. He was a masterful herding dog and agility was our second favorite thing to do. While herding came natural, we had to work hard at agility, and after more than two years of work, I became a trainer and he could make it through an entire course.
I'm now trialing my third Beardie, Brix, and training our new Beardie puppy named Nitro. I am a certified AKC CCPDT (Council for Professional Dog Trainers) trainer with more than 1600 hours of training dogs in agility, tracking, herding and conformation.
When the only agility training center in Napa closed its doors in 2015 I formed Astro's Agility to fill the void. I started with partner Shannon Fox and we began to attract clients. Shannon eventually moved to a fulltime training job and my husband retired from a career in science to assist me with training our wonderful dogs at Astro's Agility Academy. Dave is currently working on getting his prerequisite of 300 hours of dog/people training to obtain his certification.
Meet Your Trainers
A lifetime dog lover LAURA's involvement with AKC training began 25 years ago after retiring from a desk job as a journalist. She competes in conformation, tracking and herding and specializes in teaching agility. She lives in Napa with her two Beardies, and husband.
DAVE Larz Anderson married into Laura's dog family. He is our Technical Operations Manager (meaning he builds or fixes things at the course). Currently he assists Laura run the training sessions and is working to complete his AKC certifications to train dogs. Erika Gottl and Karen Parks are our newest interns helping out with the training.
If want to have fun with your dog, here's the place to do it!
TOP LEFT: That's me, Laura, with my Bearded Collie Brix, both dressed up as hippies!
TOP RIGHT: Newcomer Regan with her mini-Australian Shepherd Raider are a super dynamic duo!
LEFT: The Beauceron is one tough puppy. Julippe poses with Laurence's daughter, another tough cookie, both dressed most appropriately as Rosie the Riveter.
All photos taken by Dave Anderson
Rhonda, Adagi as skeletor dog, and a kiss.
Mia dressed her dog Wally as a horse. The night, before this young equestrian had dressed her horse as a dog.
Most classes are two dogs an hour, in 15 minutes increments so each dog gets the most out of their 12-minute attention span. But, sometimes they just can't sit on the sidelines. Here Baxter took off after Smokey and they both ran the tunnel several times as Shannon gets a handle on them.
The Teeter-Totter can be one of the harder obstacles to learn because the dog needs to discover that he controls the speed of the downward descent. Too fast, too soon and a dog can get spooked and never do this obstacle with any speed or confidence. Thanks to our PATIENCE--number one word in all dog training--plus Laura's patented little trick, all our dog's become masters of the Teeter-Totter.
Our assistant trainer Faith and Rory her blue Bichon took first place. Buddy, a Tibetan Terrier mix dressed as Darth Vader took send place.
HOWL-O-WEEN COSTUME CONTEST, 10 - 31 - 2015
Brigette and daddy Brent run the October fun run course gaining a fast time over the boardwalk. The course included cross backs, two tunnel runs and two boardwalks bringing the runners back thorough a series of hurdles to where they began.
All our dogs did fantastic with Nikki, Bridgette, Wally, Adagi, Rory and others putting on stellar performances. Everyone took home a ribbon and award, plus dog treats, toys and cookies.
Everyone had a great time and we raised $200 for Whiskers, Tails and Ferals animal shelter. If anyone else has pics from the event please send jpgs to email@example.com.