Local dog trainer hits 100 with canine partner
By Kris Leonhardt
STEVENS POINT – A Stevens Point dog trainer and her canine partner recently bypassed 100 earned program titles.
“Sirius and I earned our first title as a team in mid-October 2011 when Sirius was 4.5 months old. We completed the requirements for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen test at an event in Oshkosh, WI. Since then we have just been having fun working on teamwork, improving our performances and learning new games and sports to play” says trainer Renea Dahms.
Dahms and her Australian Shepherd, Sirius, earned their 80th title in January and set out to pass the 100 mark this year; but, COVID-19 brought its challenges.
The pair then turned to All Dogs Parkour, Dog Scouts of America, and GeoPup Sports programs to continue working together.
On Oct. 9, the team hit their 102nd title.
“It was an amazing feeling, I had not intended to reach 100 titles when we started playing, but Sirius is so incredible to train and work with in any sport I realized we could easily do it. When COVID hit I was sure we have no way to make it happen, but with some online options and more added during this crazy time I realized it we could do it,” Dahms said.
Dahms said that while online showing can have its benefits, the venue can add some new challenges.
“The major difference online is the lack of distractions at show. One would think online is easier because you can turn in only your best run versus showing up and it is what it is, however those judging do lots of replay, slow motion and manipulate the technology to find any little thing you did wrong, so they are far more particular. Judges watching you in person can miss things. You can turn in your virtual runs and still not qualify for a variety of reasons,” she said.
Dahms has been training dogs since the age of 18. She learned about dog shows and events in 1995 and has shown and competed with 11 dogs since that time.
She opened her own business, “Pawsitively Unleashed!,” in Stevens Point in 1997, working with training, behavior, fitness, and therapy. She is now training a service dog to expand her offerings.
Dahms currently owns eight Australian Shepherds – five of them seniors, including Sirius.
While Sirius and Dahms have reached their goal, Renea says this is not the end of the show for the team.
“Well I told Sirius to get ready for 100 more, but we will play as we can and learn new sports to master.” she said.