Alanna Lowry and Nessie

Alana Lowry's NessieTell us about your dog.

Nessie (aka the Creature) is a female mixed breed dog. She is approximately four-years-old.  Per her DNA test, she is half Dachshund, a quarter Maltese, an eighth Cocker Spaniel and an eighth unknown!  She is nine inches tall and weighs 10.6 pounds. Nessie is an extremely unique looking dog.  Once you see her, you don’t forget her!

How did you end up adopting her?

I found Nessie two-and-a-half years ago on my way home from work. She was trotting down the sidewalk of a busy six-lane road. She was lactating, full of fleas and had evidence of head trauma. I pulled over and with the help of a stranger, we were able to corral her and I took her home.

What about the dog made you want to adopt her? Was there something different or special that moved you to the decision?

I originally planned to just find Nessie a home if I couldn’t find her owner. I am not really a “little dog person.”  And I’d never even owned a mixed breed before!  After a few days of being in my house, her personality started to come out. She was very food motivated and was starting to completely charm me. There was no evidence anyone was looking for her. I brought out the clicker and she instantly figured out that just simply offering behavior would earn her a reward.  Then I knew she would stay.

Alana Lowry's NessieWhat made you want to get involved in agility with your dog? Had you competed in agility before you got your rescued dog involved or was it new to you?

I have done agility for over 20 years, with a variety of breeds from a Golden Retriever to a Basenji to an Ibizan Hound to a Border Collie. I started in USDAA in the 90’s!

Did your dog happen to have any behavior or training issues when you adopted her?

Nessie’s temperament has been very stable overall.  I was very lucky in this regard that I didn’t have to do a lot of work there.

Did you find that agility helped to improve your relationship with your dog?

I’ve had competition and non-competition dogs, and I’ve found the ones I spend time with training and competing, I always have a stronger bond with.

Was there anything about training for agility or competing in agility that was a challenge with your dog?

Nessie has been the easiest dog I’ve trained overall in many ways. She started competing only six months after I found her on the streets.  She had a brief teeter issue about a year into trialing, but we worked through that pretty easily. One issue I’ve had is that she will jump off her dog walk contact.  I blame myself for not training a consistent behavior on this right from the start.  I mean, she’s only nine nches tall. I didn’t bother to teach an end behavior as she kind of just ran down it initially, but as she’s gotten faster, she’s begun to jump off, so we’ve been needed to go back and work harder on a more consistent behavior there.

Alana Lowry's NessieWhat previous USDAA events prior to Cynosport 2017 have you competed in with your dog? What titles, etc. did they earn or other accomplishments you’re proud of?

Cynosport 2017 will be Nessie (and my) first national event in agility!  She will be competing in Performance this year, as we started out in Performance competition.  She earned her PDCH this past March and since then, because of the jump height change from 12 to 10, we are now competing in Championship and getting pretty close to an ADCH as well!  She also competes in Obedience and Rally and has earned her CD so far.  We’re getting ready for more advanced classes there as well.

What are you looking forward to this year with your dog at Cynosport?

We are just looking to have a good experience and enjoy the whole event since it will be our first one.  My husband is flying up after we’re done playing agility and we’re going to vacation as well.

What would say to people who are considering adopting a dog who might want to do agility some day and are concerned a rescue dog may be more difficult to work with? Likewise, what do you think makes competing with a rescue dog a real benefit?

Honestly, I think every dog, rescue or not, is going to have its challenges and advantages.  If you are going to pick a rescue, I think a young adult may make a good choice because you will already know more about their temperament and structure.  Structure is so important.  While agility can help build a dog’s confidence, not every dog may be suitable for competition events temperament wise. I think picking a dog with a higher food or toy interest helps too.

Here is her story which appeared in a local magazine.


Photo Credit: Pix N Pages