I write romantic suspense books where dogs have a prominent role. I’ve written over a dozen books featuring K-9 working dogs both for the police and the military. The specialized training that goes into these highly intelligent dogs takes time, money and dedication. Doing the research for K-9 dogs has been extremely interesting and really sparked a passion in me to train a dog. Of course, joining the police department or the military and training a K-9 dog wasn’t a viable option.
But training an agility dog certainly was. In 2016, I brought home an Australian shepherd puppy. We named her Aubrey, as a variant of Auburn, because her coat is red and white. At eight months old, we started agility training. At first it was very basic obedience work and bonding exercises. So much of agility is the bond between the dog and handler, just as it is between a police officer and his K-9.
I have to confess, learning the sport of agility was a huge learning curve for me. Remembering the cues, the timing of the cues and staying mentally connected with my dog all were a challenge. I tend to be a bit scatter brained unless I’m knee deep in writing a book, but agility has really taught me to focus.
And the training never stops. We train even when we’re not at the arena. Going on walks is a lesson to be used in the arena. Learning the command to sit and wait until released is a daily exercise done at feeding time. She has a beautiful start line stay.
This month, after nearly four years of training, I finally worked up the courage to enter agility trials. I’m not going to lie, the first trial was overwhelming. I didn’t know how a trial ran, wasn’t sure I liked the idea of competing or that she’d listen to me in a strange environment. Our first run was terrifying. She didn’t listen well, there were too many distractions-strange people and barking dogs. We didn’t make it through the first course. Our second run was better, but she had three faults (faults are a dropped bar, a refusal to take an obstacle, a late cue or going off exploring).
The following week we went back for our second trial. Now better prepared, we made it through the first run with a couple of faults, but she stayed with me and ignored the distractions. And the second run, we did great! She was attentive, I gave cues on time, no dropped bars and we finished the course. I was happy. And then I discovered we placed first in our grouping and we received our first qualifying ribbon. Apparently, we can move up to the next level after three qualifying ribbons. I think I’m hooked.
For me, agility with my dog is my hobby, my passion and my stress reliever. And has helped me in my writing in was I hadn’t expected. Now, when I have my handler giving commands to their K-9, I have a feel for what it’s like to work with a dog and can add realism to my scenes.
I have an April release, Alaskan Rescue, book 1 of Alaskan K-9 Unit, a new continuity from Love Inspired Suspense. There are eight books and two novellas in this series. I hope you’ll enjoy our books.
Alaskan Rescue by Terri Reed, April 2021 https://amzn.to/3umsdni
Wilderness Defender by Maggie K. Black, May 2021
Undercover Mission by Sharon Dunn, June 2021
Tracking Stolen Secrets by Laura Scott, July 2021
Deadly Cargo by Jodie Bailey, August 2021
Arctic Witness by Heather Woodhaven, September 2021
Yukon Justice by Dana Mentink, October 2021
Blizzard Showdown by Shirlee McCoy, November 2021
Christmas K-9 Protectors by Lenora Worth and Maggie K. Black, December 2021
Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top twenty-five, Nielsen’s Bookscan top hundred, Amazon Bestseller and featured in USA Today. Her books have been finalists in Romance Writers of America RITA contest, National Readers’ Choice Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award and finalists three times in American Christian Fiction Writers The Carol Award contest. Contact Terri @ P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97224
Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions for Terri about agility dog training, or about any of her books with great dog characters, or this wonderful upcoming K-9 series from Love Inspired Suspense, leave it in the comments for her and she’ll be by today.