Is there anything better than one stunning Stafford Shire Bull Terrier kicking goals on Antinol? Well, we think an entire Stafford Squad living their best life is up there!
Meet Sherry and her girls;
Kaos, Frankie and Aggie.
Tell us about yourself, how long have you been involved in dog sports for?
Originally from New Zealand, I moved to Australia in 1987. I lived in Western Australia for 3 years before heading to the UK, eventually arriving in Brisbane where I have been for the last 25 years.
I came across agility by accident when I was walking past a park and saw some agility dogs training. At the time I had just lost my first dog, Jack, to cancer and my second dog, Ruby, was having trouble adjusting to Jack’s absence, so I thought it might be a good thing for us to try something new (which worked). Since then, I have had two more of my dogs compete in agility, Kaos and Aggie.
They say that it takes “two to tango” and in dog agility it is no different. In order to successfully navigate an agility course, the handler must be able to effectively communicate with their dog in order that the dog understands what it is that they are being asked to do. The bond that develops between the handler and the dog when they are “in sync” and working as a team is immeasurable.
I have been involved in dog agility for roughly 15 years now and have instructed elementary agility at a local club for around 4 years. Agility has changed over the years; I have learnt an awful lot, met some wonderful people and absolutely love the sport.
What attracted you to the Staffs as a breed? Have you always owned them?
My first two dogs, Jack & Ruby, were rescue dogs but I have always had a love of the Stafford – they are an intelligent breed of dog, highly trainable, have the most amazing sense of humour and know how to have fun! They do everything at full throttle; they work hard and play hard, but also know when to chill out and are extremely affectionate and loyal.
What do you love most about your squad?
Kaos: Contrary to her name, Kaos, who is 13 in February, is very laid back and is the sweetheart of the pack. Nothing seems to phase her – fireworks, storms, loud noises – she takes it all in her stride. Considering her gentle nature, she is still the alpha dog of the pack.
Aggie: Aggie is the joker of the pack; is always initiating play and always has a smile on her face. She is extremely intelligent and has been an absolute breeze to train – her enthusiasm is boundless in whatever we do together. She loved competing in agility and attained 15 titles over her agility career.
Frankie: Frankie (aka Frankie-Stein), is the younger and the most mischievous puppy I have had yet! She, too, loves to learn and has been really easy to train but she does like to be cheeky and test the boundaries every so often.
Kaos, Aggie and Frankie all have their own personalities and nuances, but what I love about them most is that they all get on so well together and they get on well with other dogs.
What do you find challenging?
Training all three at the same time has, at times, been a challenge. They are all so enthusiastic and want to push each other out of the way to have their turn – it’s much easier to train them separately.
What considerations go into owning Staffords?
The biggie for me is to purchase a Stafford from a reputable breeder and one who has carried out relevant genetic testing for hereditary diseases, such as L2-HGA (L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria) and HC (hereditary cataracts). Prospective owners should do as much research as they can when purchasing a Stafford.
Staffords are very active and require regular exercise and play time. They can be destructive if not given enough mental or physical exercise and can easily landscape your yard in the blink of an eye! They love to use their brains, so quite often I will do a little bit of training while we are out walking. They also love their humans, so you will have to put up with a medium sized shadow wherever you go!
What do you feed the team?
My girls eat better than I do! They are fed a very small meal of raw meat and kibble in the morning and will have a larger meal at night consisting of cooked meat with vegetables, fruit, probiotics and the odd dollop of Greek Yoghurt. Our main exercise is in the afternoon, hence the bigger meal at night.
Do you have any goals for the future with the girls?
Kaos has history at 13 years of age! She has had severe environmental allergies all of her life, has had cruciate ligament surgery and 2 years ago she had a high grade mast cell tumour removed from her flank and given a prognosis of 4 months. She has surprised everyone as, thankfully, she is still with us today. Aggie and Frankie have started training in Noseworks which they absolutely love, so we will continue with that and see where it takes us. I don’t have any specific goals for any of my girls, except to ensure that they all are as happy and as healthy as they can be.
Rapid Fire Five Questions:
Which breed would describe your personality and why? Stafford – tough on the outside, butter on the inside…..
What items in your wardrobe are on high rotation? Dog training gear
Signature dance move? None, but I don’t dance like I’m like spaghetti on legs either!
Pet peeve? Irresponsible dog owners and dog owners that do not have control of their dog when they take them out.
Why Antinol? With Kaos, we tried many supplements over the years, but Antinol seems to be the one where she wakes up in the morning and she’s not stiff in her back legs, she now barks at me to play or take her for a walk and, more often than not, she begins the day with a smile on her face. I have also noticed the difference in her coat, which used to be coarse and dull and now is soft and shiny, which is amazing (Check out how Antinol can help the skin HERE). Just that in itself was enough for me to start giving Aggie and Frankie their daily dose too, for Antinol’s preventative qualities.