The name of our training facility “Happy Dogs” comes from the dance that Nellie and LuLu perform when I ask them if they are happy. Their “happy dance” brings a smile to my face every day. There was never any doubt that “Happy Dogs” was the perfect name for our new training center. It is my hope that everyone that enters our rings goes home with a smile on their face for having spent time training their dogs.
Nellie Rose is my first Brittany. I was hoping for a healthy, easy to groom, mid-size dog to go on long walks with me. I have since learned that teaching a Brittany to walk on a loose leash is one of the hardest things I have ever done. When we attended our first obedience class, Nellie was just a puppy and I was the typical pet owner. We’ve never turned back. Nellie is my Novice A dog and my first Obedience Trial Champion.
Nellie is a soft, sensitive and careful performer. What she lacks in courage, she makes up for with a willingness to work hard and a desire to please. Nellie Rose enjoys our early morning training as much as I do. She’s always willing to try a new technique to solve a problem or improve an exercise. I’ve taught her many complex tasks but I’ve learned so much more from her — the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, teamwork, patience, perseverance and the joy of being truly loved by an amazing Brittany . I am fortunate to have this little white hunting dog on the end of my leash.
LuLu is my second Brittany. She is independent and persistent. She lives to hunt and spends most of her day doing it in our backyard. Her real hunting career was cut short when I learned that she was born with a “transitional vertebrae segment.” Anyone watching her will notice the hitch in her step and the way her spine curves into a crooked sit. I will be forever grateful to my first rehab vet who looked me in the eye and said that with proper care and conditioning, LuLu could live an active life, and I am happy to report that she has.
LuLu has proven that there is not much she cannot do —although she certainly does have some preferences. She is a conformation champion and earned her UDX 3 and OM3 before retiring from formal obedience. LuLu is still eager to train and insists on coming along with Nellie and Henry. If LuLu could talk, I think she would say, “please bring me along for training, let me jump, retrieve, do articles — anything, just don’t ask me to heel.”
LuLu is an important member of Team Brittany. Nellie performs better when LuLu is ringside and she’s taught Henry some very important lessons about how to be a well-behaved dog and why it is important.
Henry is a typical boy. He loves his sisters and spends much of his time finding ways to irritate them. There’s never a dull moment in his presence. Someone recently told me that at 18 months old, he’s no longer a youngster. But as anyone whose ever owned a Brittany knows, they will cling to their youth and immaturity until they are about four years old as an excuse for being naughty. I have a lot of plans and big goals for this crazy little boy. Our journey is just beginning.
Team Brittany’s story would not be complete without mentioning the president of our fan club, our chauffeur, the one who carries the crates, makes sure the article bag and dumbbells are delivered to the ring on time. He’s got broad shoulders and gives good advice. Without Todd’s vision, determination, persistence and hard work, Happy Dogs Training Center would still be a dream. It is my pleasure to share this dream with you. ~Lou Ann