Registered name: Heart of Dixie's Leaping Lehigh AX AXJ, NF, CGC, AAD, MS, NJ
Owned by: Janice Jones, Durham, NC
Breeder: Unknown, he is a rescue.
D.O.B: December 15, 2006 (our best guess!)
Lehigh started out his life in a neglectful situation. Animal control seized him and a concerned neighbor called an akita rescue group. Heart of Dixie is the akita rescue group who helped him and helped me find him. It was love at first sight! I knew from the moment I saw him that I had to have him and that he would be my next agile akita. And boy is he ever agile! He jumps 26 in AKC and USDAA, turns on a dime, is very responsive and enthusiastic, and does weave poles like a snake! Lehigh competes in agility in AKC, USDAA, UKI, NADAC, ASCA, and CPE. He is also a therapy dog certified through the Delta Society. He particularly loves children and works in my son's elementary school. We are in training with Helping Paws International to become certified in their B.A.R.K.S. program. BARKS stands for Bonding Animals, Reading, Kids, and Safety. It is an animal assisted literacy program. Lehigh and I have also just started lessons in carting.
He was about 10 months old when I got him and I started training him in group classes immediately. We started out with senior obedience, CGC training, team building and sports foundations all to prepare us for agility. We then joined an accelerated agility training group that was designed for experienced handlers with new young dogs. It was perfect for us. We started competing in agility in Feb. 2010. I prefer not to rush my dogs which helps us avoid ring stress behaviors. The only major training glitch we have encountered was when all the local trials went from 22in weave poles to 24in weave poles. You might think the wider spacing would help the bigger dogs but in fact it hurt Lehigh. He went from beautiful weaves to no weaves at all. We fixed it and he is weaving nicely again. But he still doesn't get the same speed on 24's that he gets on 22's.
Lehigh and I are a team that proves that quality of training is more important than quantity of training. Due to our busy schedule, two young human boys, and other dogs and commitments, we are only able to train one hour a week on average in agility plus some fitness training. Yet Lehigh is a very successful and competitive agility dog. I give all the credit to our coach and trainer, Valerie Olszyk of Pet Behavior Help, http://www.petbehaviorhelp.com. I am very certain that no other trainer could have taken a pair like Lehigh and me with our seriously limited training time and turned us into such a successful team. Lehigh is totally awesome and so much fun to run!