I had been playing flyball with my Chesapeake, Rags, since 1997. Rags was a member of the Woof Gang Flyball Team. When she retired from flyball because of an illness in March, 2002. I wanted to remain with the team so I became a full-time box-loader and continued with my long search to find another dog for our family. If it weren't for Rags finding flyball there never would have been an Anna in our home. I would have loved to have another Chesapeake Bay Retriever, but our house is too small for two large dogs. I knew that I would have to restrict my breed list to small dogs. I first heard about the Farmdogs from a flyball teammate. She had seen Flora, Anna's grandmother, at a flyball tournament. I looked up the breed on the Internet but dismissed it shortly after. When Rags retired my search had more purpose so I looked at the breed once again. Solo, Anna's father and Hanna, Anna's mother, were playing flyball then and this time the breed seemed to be the right fit, although, I cannot recall what the difference was other than my needs were stronger. I told my teammates that I wanted to get a Farmdog and three of them tried to discourage me. I think that was all that I needed to hear. One person told me to start baking brownies because there was a long waiting list and that I had a snowball's chance in Hell of getting one. That was the day I started networking and became more tenacious about finding a Farmdog for our family. Being the strong-willed child that I am, having a husband that said no to another dog in the house, and a team that did not believe I could do such a thing, was all the fuel I needed to launch me full steam ahead into my quest for a Farmdog.
The happiest day of my life was the day Anna was born. All the people on the waiting list received an e-mail telling us of the birth and announcing the three lucky families. The breeder told me that if I decided that I did not want Anna that I could have first pick of Flora's litter which was due in October. I learned a long time ago if I try to change the outcome of things that it always backfires on me. Ninety-nine percent of the time if I take the hand that is dealt to me I come out a winner. In this case I was blessed and am forever grateful. I fell in love with Anna a long time before meeting her or seeing Flora's litter and Anna's litter-mates.
Flora's Lady Eva Annelise. She is also known as: The Banana, Little Varmint, Freckle Belly Hound, Flea and Dozer (her first name because she would bulldoze her way into the best teat and then doze off to sleep). My husband still calls her Dozer. It took me three months to figure out her name. Flora is her grandmother and also her kennel name. That one was a given. Since Anna is a Danish/Swedish Farmdog I was trying to find a name that was both Danish and Swedish.
Each one of her names has a special meaning to me. It took me over three months to come up with her name because it was hard to make up my mind. Her breeder, suggested that I name her after the current Queen of Denmark: "Queen Margrethe". At the time we had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever (Rags) that we nicknamed "Princess Money Pit" -- because of all the Vet bills she had accumulated. I just could not let this new little puppy out rank Princess Rags. My first Chesapeake was my soul mate and her name was "Lady Kathryn of Calabasas" (Katie). I gave Anna her title because it did not out rank Rags. I was trying to find a name that was both Danish and Swedish. Eva and Annelise fit that requirement. Eva was my grandmother's name and we were also soul mates. I wanted to call my new puppy Eva because of my grandmother and if she turned out to be an awesome flyball dog I could call her "Eva Knievel". Prior to bringing my new family addition home I practiced calling her Eva as her call name. When I said the name as a reprimand it sounded disrespectful to my grandmother. I did not feel right about calling her "Eva" (even though later she did become an "Eva Knievel"). I thought that Annelise was such a pretty name and I was having a hard time deciding between the two names so I gave her both: Eva Annelise and called her "Anna". Several months after Anna came to live with us I realized that her initials spelled FLEA.
Anna is my "Type A" dog. In true Farmdog fashion she is always looking out the window for something to bark at and to protect the farmhouse from intruders. When I was young and my mother would find us looking out the window she would say to us "What do you see Sister Ann?" a quote from the book Sister Ann, by Henry Handel Richardson. Who knew that someday I would have a little watch-dog that I would ask the same question and so appropriate because "sister Ann quite literally spent her life on the watch-for the next disaster, she being the only one who might ward it off".
Anna makes me laugh when she does her famous leap in the air to greet people. I love her silly little wiggle when she is happy to see me. I enjoy playing tug with her and mimicking her "Sponge Bob" growl as she tugs. I love how alert she is to all that is going on around her. I adore her focus and dedication to me; we make a pretty good team.
Anna feels so good curled up in my lap or next to me when we sleep. She offers so much comfort and an escape from the difficulties in my life. We need each other. I often tell people that Anna is a rescue dog; she rescued me.
Anna was very easy to train. She is focused and she loves to tug more than anything in the world. I am truly convinced that the reason Anna was the last in her litter to be born was because she was too busy tugging on the umbilical cord. When asked what is Anna's favorite flyball position, I always answer with out a doubt, "On the end of a tug".
Even though I did play flyball with Rags, I really did not know how to train a dog or all the ins-and outs of the sport. Anna was my first dog that was specifically trained for flyball.
Anna is quick and very focused. Her first Flyball tournament was fantastic. Excluding the first heat, she ran the entire tournament flawlessly. She looked cute too. She is "Awesome Anna"; a steady consistent dog that can race in any lineup, location and on any surface. Her first six flyball tournaments she earned her NAFA FM title (in 3.5 months, at 15 months of age!).
When Anna was a puppy I started her on Clicker training, and began the first stages of flyball training. My family situation changed when Anna was five months old and it became necessary for me to commute to take care of my parents full-time. This change in lifestyle probably is the most contributing factor in Anna's very strong bond to me and her focus on flyball. I took her everywhere and because I wasn't working I could practice during the week with two former Woof Gang teammates. Other than her breeder giving her a great start, they were the two people that helped me the most with Anna's training. Both Anna and I were like sponges wanting to learn everything we could. We first worked on getting her to go away from me, pick up a ball and return to a tug. When she was fully grown and the x-rays determined that her growth plates were closed we started working on single striding jumps and beginning box work.
|Photo by Todd Minnella, September 18, 2005|
I found myself timing my trips back and forth to my parent's home around flyball practice. Tuesdays I would practice with the two Woof Gang members and later with another Farmdog mom. On Friday nights I would practice with the Woof Gang (Close to my home) and on Saturday and Sunday I would practice with a new team that was forming in Palm Springs, 2 Fast 4 Paws. Later I started going to San Diego to practice with Lickety Splits Flyball Team on Sundays. All these practices were at different places, with different dogs, and all required many hours of driving. Anna never got distracted and we never had a problem with her focus. My parents lived on a golf course in the desert and I would practice with Anna along a narrow stretch of grass. Many times the roadrunners would come out to see what Anna was doing. They did not phase her, I guess they did not look enough like tennis balls and I think that she knew that they could not tug.
Anna was very easy to train. She was focused and she loved to tug more than anything in the world. I am truly convinced that the reason Anna was the last in her litter to be born was because she was too busy tugging on the umbilical cord. When asked what is Anna's favorite flyball position, I always answer with out a doubt, "On the end of a tug".
|Anna's First Tournament, Logandale, NV|
Anna was my first dog that was specifically trained for flyball. Her first tournament was in Logandale, NV. She was on the Lickety Splits A team. Anna had only run with dogs in the other lane a couple of times and I had just met the members of the team about a month prior to her first race. I had to learn how to pass and how to get out of the way of the other dogs and handlers at that tournament. No one knew if Anna would be able to compete or not. The first heat was a scene from a "Keystone Cops" movie; the whole team fell apart. But the next heat and everyone after was flawless.
Anna's second tournament was not too far from our home. Anna had quite a cheering section for that weekend. This was the first time my husband and his family got to see her run. Racing was fast and very close. I believe that the competitive bug bit both Anna and me that weekend.
Anna's third tournament was her debut in Northern California (Madera) This was the first time that her breeder and her canine family (her mother, father, sister, and grandmother) got to see her race. The breeder asked me several times that weekend if I wanted to give her back.
In March of 2006, Anna was featured in an Online Flyball magazine, Inside Flyball. The following is taken from that article written by Christine Davis.
Anna was very easy to train. She is very focused and she loves to tug more than anything in the world. Anna's favorite position is on the end of a tug. I am truly convinced that the reason Anna was the last in her litter to be born was because she was too busy tugging on the umbilical cord. Anna can run any position; it is her human mother that has a hard time starting. She watches the judge and knows when the race is going to start, she knows my visual and takes off on cue. She knows when the judge blows the whistle that there is a false start and she settles down until she sees the judges hand point towards the lights or she sees the blue light goes on. Then she starts barking at the dogs behind her to hurry up and get this race going so she can run.
When asked to describe how Anna makes her owner feel, her response was more than touching: I love how good Anna feels curled up in my lap and next to me when we sleep. She offers so much comfort and an escape from the difficulties in my life at this time. Her focus and dedication to me is so special; we make a pretty good team; just like the cowboy and his horse. We need each other.
Please check back later, I am a bit behind in updating the NAFA section of her Website.
|Photo by Desert Sun, 2008|
Flyball is a team sport for dogs that was invented in California in the late 70's. In the early 80's the sport became so popular that the North American Flyball Association (NAFA) was formed. In 2005 United Flyball League International (U-FLI) was founded.
Flyball is a relay race with 4 dogs on a team. The course consists of a starting line, 4 hurdles spaced 10 feet apart, and a box. The first hurdle is 6 feet from the start line and the box is 15 feet from the last hurdle for a 51 foot overall length. The dogs jump the hurdles and trigger a spring-loaded box that shoots out a tennis ball. The dog catches the tennis ball and then runs back over the 4 hurdles. When the dog crosses the starting line the next dog goes. The first team to have all 4 dogs run without errors wins the heat. Tournaments are usually organized in either a double elimination or round robin format.
The hurdles' height is dependent on the height of the dogs in the team -- 4 inches below the shoulder height of the shortest dog. 8 inches is the minimum height and 16 inches is the maximum height in NAFA® events. U-FLI® uses a different measuring system where the minimum jump height is 6 inches and the maximum is 12 inches.
Flyball races are fast-paced action with plenty of excitement for dogs, handlers, and especially spectators. Many teams run all 4 dogs through the course in less than 20 seconds. NAFA tournaments are divided into divisions so that teams compete against other teams of equal abilities. All dogs including mixed breeds are eligible to compete and earn titles in NAFA sanctioned tournaments. Titles are earned by a point system based on the speed of the team running with your dog in the heats. All four dogs earn the same points per heat.
Anna's brother, Luke, explains flyball from a dog's point of view. Click the link below to read the article.
K9 Nose Work® is one of the newest canine sports. It started in 2009; created and sanctioned by the National Association of Canine Scent Work, LLC® (NACSW™). It was inspired by the training methodology of canine detection. You may have heard it called nose work, scent work, Fun K9 Nose Work®, or search work. It is the activity of a dog using its nose to locate a specific scent or odor. The training is similar to the way dogs are trained for Search and Rescue (SAR) and security drug and bomb detection.
I became interested in K9 Nose Work® because I wanted something that I could continue to do with my dogs for many years. The ugly monster of old age is rapidly taking over my body and I find that the active sport of Flyball is beginning to take its toll. I first learned about K9 Nose Work® from an article in The Whole Dog Journal. I found Ramona Audette, CNWI, a local K9 Nose Work® trainer, and enrolled in her classes at the California Academy of Dog Behavior. Ramona volunteered to introduce K9 Nose Work® to the Danish/Swedish Farmdogs at the 2010 National Breed Specialty.
Anna earned her NW2 title just two days before she showed signs of being sick. I am so thankful to have shared this moment with her.
Click on the links below to read more about Anna's Nose Work experience.
Anna was the first dog to run in the Vehicles. She fringed and did not pass. She found the odor in record time and gave me a very quick alert and moved on. I did not call it figuring that she would return to it an alert again. When I did not trust her alert she lost interest. When I finally got her to give a second alert she was off by a few inches. Knowing that she would not title that day, I relaxed and called the first alert she gave. It paid off on the Exterior, Containers, but not on the Interior elements.
This trial was Anna's first. It came as a surprise and I did not feel that I could read Anna well enough to pass all the elements and earn her NW1 title. Luke had been scheduled to run in this trial, however, he earned his NW1 title a few weeks before and had to withdraw. Anna was on the waiting list and stepped in at the last minute. Knowing that we would not title put me at a mind-set to just have fun and take chances without pressure. After the first element, it was blazing fast and supper fun!
During this trial, I learned to trust Anna's alerts and started calling them faster. This set the pace for her next trial where she did earn her NW1 title.
Judge's comments : What a joy to watch - great enthusiasm from handler and dog
Given time 03:00
Judge's Comments : Falsed on door hinge. Good Team
Judge's Comments : Excellent timing of starting the search, excellent handling. Just a joy to watch!
Given time 03:00
Judge's Comments : Anna kept going back to odor but continued to search other vehicles. Falsed on tire.
Anna's placement was low because she missed two elements, thus she had to take the total of the allowed element time for each.
The first element was the Interior search; a small classroom filled with low desks and plenty of obstacles. I ran Anna off leash, stood back and enjoyed the ride. Anna searched the perimeter then came back to the location and gave me a strong alert. She stayed with the odor, something she had not done before. After that run we could have failed everything else and I would have still gone home a winner. Anna earned a 2nd place ribbon for the Interior search.
The Vehicle search was our slowest element of the day, 0:52.17. We had 3 minutes to complete the search. Anna started out on a top speed run toward the judge and volunteers. I tightened up on the leash and she came back on course to the vehicles. I followed her and she followed her nose around one car, in front of the second car and then straight across to the back of the third car. She followed the odor to the correct location in the wheel well and gave a strong alert. She was awesome!
The second half of the day we did containers and the exterior searches, back to back. In the Container search, Anna flew across the room and nailed the container with another strong alert earning her a 3rd place ribbon. While pulling me like a "dope on a rope", Anna can stop on a dime and give an alert. Unfortunately her handler (me) cannot stop that fast. Thank goodness she is enough ahead of me to avoid an embarrassing collision.
The Exterior search was the second most rewarding element of the day. I worry about the exterior searches more than the others because Anna will sometimes mark on the grass. Marking is a disqualification. This search area was not on grass, giving me a little more confidence.
Anna started out along the outside parameter of the search, then she caught the odor because she abruptly turned to search along the wall. While running along the wall, she passed the hide location briefly then turn back to give me her alert. She was sure, so I called it. When the judge confirmed, I leaped over to Anna and gave her a big happy hug. Not only did she alert, I trusted her, and she completed the last element to earn her title. We are an awesome team... And that is priceless!
I was on such a high from our teamwork throughout the day. I had no idea of how well she did overall. Anna place third over all, second in the Interior and third in the containers. It was just one of those wonderful days when everything falls into place.
Judge's comments : WOW! She is efficient. Good handling. She's hard to keep up with! Great team!
Judge's Comments : Off Leash - Great job :)
Judge's Comments : Good job. Wind calm :)
Judge's Comments : Good job following Anna and keeping her in search area. Nice handling. Efficient team.
Anna and I were not really ready for this trial but we did have fun! She placed 1st in the containers. There was only one hide and she nailed it.
We fringed on the first vehicle by the wrong side of the wheel spoke. That ended the search so we never knew where the other hide was.
It was a handler error in the Interiors. The first room I had her on leash and I should have know better. The second room we fringed on the first hide so game over.
The exterior was the most fun and entertaining. Anna knew where the 1st hide was and tried to go to it before we reached the start line. I should have started her then gone out of bounds to let her pickup where she first noticed the odor. She took a real long time searching the area and when we came back to where we thought it was, she found it with 30 seconds to go. I raced her over to the benches where she showed some interest and in doing so, I got tangled up in the leash. I did not want to stop her so I continued to run, legs bound like a roped calf hoping that I would not fall. That video I would love to see!!
Anna found the hide just as they called time. I rewarded her and then talked to the laughing judge and frustrated videographer. Anna did what she was suppose to do, time clocks don't mean a thing to her. She was such a good girl!
: Wow! (I cannot read the remainder f the comment)
Search 1: Small space off leash - as we discussed - could work better. Leash can get caught and inadvertently pull off odor. Nice team
Search 2: Very active dog.
: Found hose hide - Time was called just as Anna was about to alert. Good try.
Judge's Comments : Fun Game! Great team. Way too excited when hit a lot of oder. Great attitude!
If ever dog and handler were one with each other this was it! I feel that this was Anna's last huge gift to me. She looked into my eyes without hesitation to tell me that the hide was here. Her looks seemed to reach deep down into my soul and I let her know that "Yes! I trust you to be correct" and called "Alert". She was not only correct, she was fast.
The trial was located at a church camp in the hills of San Diego County. It was rustic and a very large area to cover. We had a lot of walking to get to and from all the elements. On the walk through it looked as if the searches were creative, fun and exciting; and they were.
The First element was Interiors. The room one was a small, uncluttered laundry room. We were told that there would be one hide in this room. Anna went directly to the cupboard where the hide was located, made certain that she was right and then turned and gave me her alert.
Note: New rules state that you have to call "finish" after you call alert on the last hide to stop the clock. I was coached to rapidly call “Alert; Finish" and not wait for the judge to confirm or deny. You either got it or you did not, so stop the clock ASAP.
Well, I was so pleased and excited about Anna’s strong alert that I waited for confirmation and then said "Good Girl!; "Finish". It did eat up a little time, but who cares, the thrill of the moment was so awesome I can still feel the excitement.
The second room had two hides. It was a restroom with shower stalls and a handicap area complete with a toilet and shower. It appeared to be more like 3 separate rooms. The showers had curtains and rubber flooring with 1" holes. Odor could be anywhere and pool in the holes or folds of the curtains. I held Anna at the threshold and she took off running straight for the shower room at the end of the building. I heard someone behind me say "wow!". I knew then that I needed to get my body in motion and run down to keep up with her to be able to see her find the hide. I got there in time and so did the judge. Anna alerted under the bench in the shower. I told her to find another one and she raced back towards the entry door and went into the handicap room and nailed the last hide. Again I waited and said "Good Girl!", "Finish".
Next we did the Vehicles and Containers back-to-back. Anna raced over to the far truck and kept going to the wall. The odor must have pooled along the wall, but I thought she was thinking that she was searching exteriors so I said “This way, bum” while leading her towards the truck. Little did I know that I was standing next to the odor. Anna rapidly picked up on it and gave me her alert. I was so surprised, I yelled "Good Girl" and told her to find another one. We walked in front of the truck and down the side. Anna picked up the odor about the same place on the other side of the truck. I thought that it was the same odor that was traveling under the truck. Then she turn abruptly away from the truck and ran over to the trailer and alerted under the ball of the hitch. Again I called “Alert" waited for confirmation and said "Good Girl!; Finish". Then laughed at myself for not saying "Alert; Finish".
The containers were located on a small outdoor stage. Every container was a flat hand bag except for two suitcases. Flat bags are hard! There were two hides. Anna was very efficient and gave me very strong alerts... Again with the “Good Girl!; Finish”. By this time I decided to not worry about it because more than likely I would screw up and call finish after the first hide and all would be lost.
Our final run was late in the afternoon. The Exterior hides were the most stressing. First we had to walk up a steep hill. Anna reached the top before me and almost walked over the starting line. This would have started to clock before I could catch up to her. The area was “L” shaped with the small area having lots of chairs and a table to get your leash caught upon. The long part was a porch with all kinds of western artifacts. I felt like we were in Knott’s Berry Farm.
Anna went right to the low stone wall near the start line and worked the odor. She alerted and I said “Good Girl”. At that moment I had a brain fart. I was thinking that we were doing interior and would be walked to the next room. I took my time walking to the long part. Then it dawned on me that the clock was still running and we proceeded to the long porch. After words I thought about it and I should have had her search more of the small area before moving on. As it was, it worked out better that I didn’t.
Anna took off down the porch and stopped half way where there was a park bench. She worked the odor on top of the bench, on all sides of the bench, across the bench along a low stone wall and then back to under the center of the bench. Then she backed out and gave me an alert. This time I remembered to say “Alert; Finish”. Guess what, she was correct, but the judge didn’t hear “Finish” and asked me if I wanted to say anything else. I told her that I did say finish, and all the people in the peanut gallery all said she did say finish. The one and only time I did it correctly, the judge couldn’t hear me.
I was so very proud of Anna! I knew at that moment that she earned her title. I was very surprised to learn at the awards ceremony that she finished 2nd over all missing 1st place by 0:00.20 seconds. Anna finished 2nd place in the Interiors and her title was pronounced.
Pronounced means all four judges feel that the handler/dog team demonstrated exceptional technique and/or teamwork at the trial. This is not part of the title, but rather an acknowledgment of exceptional Teamwork. The judges will evaluate the following elements in the teamwork: Professionalism, handler and dog safety, observational skills, leash handling technique, off leash control, speed and efficiency, accuracy, stamina, enthusiasm, clarity of alert, odor obedience.
Earning the Pronounced ribbon means more than you will ever know. In my heart Anna’s life with is Pronounced.
Judge's comments : Great, great team! So much fun!
Judge's Comments : Fun game, excellent job
Judge's Comments : Excellent job! More clear Finish
Judge's Comments : I could not help myself from grinning ear to ear. What a joyful team to watch!
Anna has passed all her Odor Recognition Tests and participated in two NW1 trials and two NW2 trials. She earned her NW1 title in Huntington Beach, CA January 19, 2013 and her NW2 title in Vista, CA June 28, 2014.
For more information about Danish/Swedish Farmdogs learning K9 Nose Work® Click here.
Both Anna and Luke run the Obstacle Lure Coursing at Wags for Wishes once a year. About six times a year they participate in field lure coursing. They both really love chasing the lure and getting out in the field to run.
This section of Anna's Website is still under construction. Please check back later for the updates ...
Anna did a little Go-to-Ground (Earthdog) her first couple of years, but because she was not an AKC breed she was not able to title. Flyball tournaments always seemed to be the same weekends so we had to stop. Anna has not forgotten the thrill of the hunt and loves to find the rats.
We wanted to participate in this new sport. Anna tried it once in Arizona, at a Wags for Wishes Flyball tournament (2009) and once at a Barn Hunt Fun day in Southern California (2013). There are no breed restrictions for the Barn Hunt and it takes place above ground.
Anna passed her herding instinct testing when she was 10 months old at Wags for Wishes. She has been on sheep twice and loves it as much as she does rats and flyball. We have to travel too far to do herding and with this economy it just isn't in the cards for Anna right now. I do hope someday that will change.
Anna is very entertaining. She is always happy and a wonderful friend. She has a keen sense of smell and can locate, cats, rats and opossums anywhere they try to hide.
Anna frequently stands and walks on her hind legs looking like a meerkat. Another thing that she does is jump straight up in the air when she greets people. This must be the circus dog part of her background. You can see her do this when she enters the pen with the sheep in the movie.
Anna seems to understand people and dogs and she treats them accordingly. She was very calm around Rags, our old lame dog and wild around young healthy dogs. When Anna was six months old I was visiting a flyball tournament in Madera. This was the first time she had been together again with her mother, father, grandmother brother, sister and two aunts. She was so wild and happy to greet any person inquiring about her. A young women who apparently had Downs Syndrome came up to me to ask about Anna. Anna sensed that she was different from all the other people she had greeted that weekend and was very calm and cuddly with the woman. I was holding Anna in my arms and could feel the calm come over her. I knew then that I was holding something very special and was the luckiest person in the world.
In the beginning I wanted to focus just on flyball and when Anna had that down I would try other sports. We did start Canine Freestyle with Carolyn Scott, but we were not able to practice or do much because of life circumstances at the time. Plus Anna barked at me because I was way too slow; barking is not a good thing with freestyle.
We took some beginning agility classes with Anna a few years ago. She was good at it but her mother (me) was awful. I could not keep up with her. Someday when we are not doing so much flyball we may give it another try. Maybe by that time Anna will be older and not too fast for my old legs.
Anna and Luke had an opportunity to go to a tracking camp in Utah. They both were naturals at the sport, however their Nose Work did interfere. Tracking the dogs should keep their noses to the ground. Because of her Nose Work training she would quarter (going back and forth along the train) and air sniff (head in the air). Tracking was hard on me. I am getting too old for all that rugged cross country trekking.
Anna frequently went with me to visit my mother at the Senior living facility and father in a convalescent hospital before they both passed on. She was an unofficial therapy dog and very entertaining to the residents.
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