Brian’s Obedience titles.
Dennis in Rally.
Rigidity won’t work, so the handler can’t initially be worried about perfectly straight sits, or flawless heeling. We integrate nov- ice training into daily life, so that it seems natural to our Skyes. Upper levels of obe- dience training require more strategy and training time, but is time well spent. Skyes are an uncommon sight competing at any level in the obedience ring and are sure to attract public attention. We have success- fully titled a number of our Seamist Skyes in Novice and Open Obedience, as well as trained for the ultimate goal of Utility. Back in the 1970s, Beverly Hayes actu- ally attained Utility titles on several of her Northridge Skyes. For those people who think that com- petitive obedience is perhaps a bit too rigid for them and their Skye, Rally Obedience is a good alternative. Perfect heel position is not required and the novice class is all on lead. At every level—Novice, Advanced and Excellent, the handler may talk to and encourage their dog throughout the course. Th is helps create a real connection
between handler and dog, something that Skyes thrive on; ours love it. Th ere are cur- rently several Skyes competing in the Rally ring and at least one has earned his Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title. Darlene Sumner competes with her two Skyes, Sabrina and Norman, in agility. Darlene and Sabrina have competed sev- eral times at the prestigious AKC/Eukanu- ba National Agility Championship. Dar- lene says, “Agility and Skye terrier are not normally seen in the same sentence. But, believe it or not, they are quite capable and can be quite good at it. Th eir body struc- ture was developed for rugged terrain to kill vermin, thus they have the ability for jumping, climbing the A frame and twist- ing through the weaves. I prefer to jump at a preferred jump height of 4" less than their regular jump height and to do run- ning contacts, especially for the A frame. Both keep less stress on their long backs. “Training, in my opinion, should always be short in time and long in patience. Use the best treats you can and praise highly.
All training is done in baby steps and always ending on a positive note. Th is is where their loyalty to their people pays o ff . Skyes will usually focus primarily on their person.” Skyes don’t tend to have excitable dis- positions and a Skye with basic training and good socialization can fairly easily transition into therapy dog instruction. Th ey are a moderate size, so they are not as overwhelming as a larger breed may be to some people, or too small to be consid- ered fragile. Th eir size makes it easy to lift them to be petted, or settled onto a bed for someone who may be infirm. Skyes are generally not a breed that is familiar to most people, so introducing one is a good conversation starter. Skyes are great listeners and can be a reassuring influence for children who need companionship in reading programs, or even in a therapist’s o ffi ce to o ff er quiet comfort. We have four Seamist generations of certified therapy (TDI) Skyes and one with an AKC THDA title. Whatever the chosen activity, therapy visits are among the most rewarding expe- riences to have with your dog. As with a number of AKC breeds, there is concern about the low registration num- bers for Skye Terriers worldwide. Unfor- tunately a Skye Terrier most likely isn’t a breed of dog that comes to mind for some- one looking for a performance or therapy dog. Th ey are not suitable for everyone, but no breed of dog is. Skyes are terrific all round dogs with unique and endearing personalities. If they could be seen as the versatile dogs they are, it would go far in improving their popularity. For those of us who love the breed, there is no other dog that compares to them.
“SKYES ARE GENERALLY NOT A BREED THAT IS FAMILIAR TO MOST PEOPLE, SO INTRODUCING
ONE IS A GOOD CONVERSATION STARTER.”
256 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2015
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