UW–Platteville volleyball coach Deb Schulman, and her miniature poodle Spencer were recently accepted on the USA Agility Team.
They will compete at the Federation of International Canines Agility World Championship in Johannesburg, South Africa, Oct. 10.
“At the end of June, Spencer and I will attend the World Team practice, where all the team members, both from the European Open Team and the World Team get together in Sacramento, Calif., and they take us through three days of training for the types of courses that we might be running,” said Schulman.
Schulman initially became interested in dog agility with her first dog, Madison, a few years ago. Dog agility is an activity often featured on sports networks, where different breeds of dogs race through an obstacle course following specific instructions from a trainer. The dog with the fastest time and the least faults is crowned champion.
After taking Madison to an obedience class, she was introduced to dog agility.
“I had no idea what agility was. I got to know the instructor and she convinced me to give it a try,” said Schulman. “We were hooked after the first agility session.”
With her competitive nature, Schulman took on the challenge of learning dog agility with her dog Madison. She later purchased another dog, Spencer; they travel around the country competing in various agility events.
The FCI Agility World Championships is being hosted outside of Europe for the first time in 18 years. The USA Agility Team has excelled at this event and has a medal history that includes placements in every height category and in both team and individual events.
Schulman trains with a woman who is also on the World Team, who suggested she try out for the team this year.
“Spencer and I traveled to Hopkins, Minn., May 3–5 to compete for a spot on the American Kennel Club’s World Team,” said Schulman.
“I’m excited about the whole experience. I’m excited about traveling, competing, meeting new people and experiencing new things.”
Between coaching, recruiting and training her own dogs, she also opened her own business, training canines.
“I have a passion for both dog training and volleyball, and when you have a passion for several things, you make the time to be successful at all of them,” said Schulman.