I like to say that ‘animal’ is my first language. Being raised as an only child on a farm with a house full of dogs and cats, my family agrees. I learn something from every animal I engage with and consider myself a devoted, lifelong student.
I have developed a deep-rooted passion for teaching people how to inspire their dogs to work and play with them. I’ve been a professional dog trainer since 1991. Before then, starting in 1979, I worked with race horses, was a technician at a veterinary hospital, managed a commercial boarding kennel and owned a pet travel agency. Managing the stress of these animals who were entrusted to my care has made me the intuitive trainer that I am today.
I started competing at 5 years of age, first with horses then with dogs. I honed the skills needed to achieve a world championship, 4 world medals, 4 national championships and countless placements at the national level with 6 dogs in 4 jump heights.
Beyond the pride I have for my incredible dogs and our accomplishments is the pride I have for my students. Their successes, in and out of the competition arena, are a testimony to my work – they inspire me every day.
Sandy has created an abundance of training materials including courses in training, handling and competing, workbooks and DVDs. She was a columnist for Clean Run magazine from 2009 until its end in 2020. She teaches and lectures nationwide. You may have seen her competing on television at thePurina Incredible Dog Challenge or the Westminster Agility Championships.
Who I am as a dog teacher, agility handler and world level competitor is the result of what I have learned from my dogs. I am grateful to them for my career and much of the joy in my life.
With the photos I am sharing with you I tried to show you their hearts and their accomplishments. The photos below are some of my favorite action shots. Enjoy.
Rasta (Binewood’s Rockin’ Rasta) 1989 – 1999
Rasta was my first competition dog. She became the first Border Terrier in breed history to earn any agility title and also the coveted UDX obedience title. She earned many placements at the prestigious Gaines/Pupperoni Tournaments and was an Agility Dog Champion. She proved a well trained dog could successfully compete in obedience, agility and the go-to-ground event on the same day! Because of Rasta I have a deep love of competing in multiple sports with my dogs.
Sweep (Scotswood Swept Away) Adopted from an Oakland, Ca. shelter as an adult in 1994 – 2008
Sweep was awarded the Ultimate Dog Award both regionally and nationally by earning the highest combined score in obedience and agility at the same event. Sweep was a diamond in the ruff. He proved that even dogs abandoned at shelters are capable of greatness even when they start their careers as adults. Sweep was a show stopper, he gave every performance his all. Sweep taught me much about getting adult dogs to play with toys in and out of training sessions.
Brink (Scotswood On The Edge) 1997 – 2013
Brink was my first Border Collie. He put me on the agility map by winning both USDAA Grand Prix and Steeple Chase National events on the same weekend. He went on to win the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge and was a High in Trial obedience dog. Brink was a $35.00 dollar purchase out of a local newspaper. Like Sweep, he proved that dogs with heart and soul are capable of rising to the top without fancy breeding.
I owe Brink what I know about teaching dogs how to collect their stride to turn, and he taught me how to rise to the challenge of a gifted dog.
Ty (Scotswood Bull Buster) 1999 – 2012
Ty-Bo had a rocky career, while he was possibly the sweetest and most “biddable” dog I have ever owned, but he was accident prone. While his injuries kept him from making it to the top, the talent and love of training and competing was all there. His USDAA Regional win was one of my proudest moments. I owe Ty much of what I learned to create the One Jump Two Jump program, especially “Zen and the Art of the Rear Cross.”
Quill 2004 – 2019
Quilly Bear literally showed me the world. Having never left North America before, she took me to England in 2010, Belgium in 2011 and Spain in 2012 where we competed for the USA World Agility Team. Because of Quill I have 4 medals in World Competition and I am a World Champion. Quill proved that terriers can have solid long lead-outs and strong contact performances! Quill has the leading role in my FEET FIRST program, she taught me the power of setting consistent lines.
Tux (Tuxedo) 2012 –
I lovingly call Tux my “masterpiece”, he is capable of extraordinary comprehension on course; any mistakes are mine. Tux’s performance at the 2019 Cynosports National Event landed us on the team event podium (Bronze) and placements in almost every round. COVID prevented participation in 2020 and 2021. Tux showed me the path to fabulous directional skills and helped me create my 2-ON 2-OFF program.
Jigs (Mr Jigs) 2014 –
Jigsy was a rescue from an Oregon shelter. He is my most talented demo dog, worth his weight in gold. Jigs represents many agility stars, he shines OUT of the competition arena. He did not develop the deep love of competing that my other dogs have, but he does have a deep love of training and is the best ranch dog and companion a girl could have. Jigs taught me to value my demo dogs, as I cannot produce quality training material without them!
Quiz (Smarty Pants) 2019 –
Quiz is my first “sport mix”, he was bred to do dog sports. He is a border collie x terrier mix and has the breed traits I love most in each. Quiz is fun to live with and train, never met a kid he did not adore and is a bonafide work-a-holic. Quiz inspires me everyday to excel as his teacher, handler and partner in competition. The future’s so bright we both need shades!