Obedience In the Spotlight


by David Zelitzky

I was so happy when Paddy Warner asked me to write something about her for the ASCA website. Since I’ve been watching her train for years it’s exciting to see that she’s getting well-deserved recognition for her training ability.  For those of you who don’t know Paddy, you are missing out on a great experience. She is one of the most positive and inspirational trainers I know and her results speak for themselves.  But it’s her massive enthusiasm and charisma that people and dogs connect to!

I’ve been lucky enough to watch Paddy train horses as well as dogs but since this is an article focused on her dog training we’ll stick to that. Paddy has been training animals all her life, but when she found out that there was a way to compete with dogs and showcase what she has trained them to do she was instantly hooked. Paddy seems to be able to teach her dogs anything – and that’s why she also is asked to do so many commercials with them – because everyone relies on her to get the dogs to do exactly what the scripts call for.
For me, as a dog trainer and competitor, the most impressive thing is her eye and uncanny natural ability to communicate to the dog as well as to the handler what she wants and when she wants it.  A natural teacher, as her students will readily confess.

For anyone that has seen the enthusiasm Paddy has for life and for her dogs they won’t soon forget. If you have ever seen Paddy’s dogs heel with their beautiful high-stepping, prancy gaits you will understand how contagious her enthusiasm is.

But let’s talk to Paddy for a minute and let her get a word in edgewise!

DZ: Paddy, can you tell us a little bit about your trip to the Nationals. How did you prepare for all those BIG wins?
PW: I wanted mental and physical conditioning.   I increased the amount of exercise for both my dogs and myself . We trained and played a lot more too. Stetson clearly enjoyed this program as he ended up HIT [High Scoring Dog in Trial] and HC [High Combined Score from Utility and Open classes] at the pre-show.  Then he WON the Utility Finals making him the 2014 Utility Finals Champion. And Stetson also won HC and HIT in Obedience at the Nationals.

DZ: How did you get into dog training?  Was it natural from horse training?  Any advice to new competitors?
PW:   Surround yourself  with competitors and trainers you admire!

There is NOT just one way to train! You must be open and creative as each animal learns differently. I am always trying to get better at various ways to convey a message to the dog.  But most of all it needs to be fun!  However, the dog still needs to know he must at least try and do it.

Here is the truth: if you have built a relationship with your dog and he is willing to try with all his heart… that’s what you are looking for.    All I ask for is an honest try from the dog and believe me, I ask the same from myself.  I don’t ask for more out of the dog then I put in !!!   That’s what they call a partnership. That’s why my dogs enjoy performing!  .  They are individuals and I train them as such.  And once you’re able to do that…. you’ve got yourself a REAL partner.

DZ:  Thank you so much for taking the time to do this,  Paddy.  Congratulations on all your successes. I’m sure there are many more to come.
PW:  And  Thanks , DZ, it was a pleasure. I know this all works because it also works on husbands….. John is my number one PARTNERSHIP!

Fantastic people I have met in the obedience world

by Paddy Warner

My very first Nationals (Vegas) I was alone (no trainer or friends in the breed) and scared.  I was showing in Novice obedience, which is always a huge class. I think there were 60 or so dogs in the class.  The big problem was that my girl was in heat. This created quite an uproar.  Normally you can’t show an obedience dog in heat but at the Nationals you can.  I was not able to bring her into the arena area and she had to show last.  I felt very sequestered, however one very special lady took me under her wing and talked to me and even let me sit next to her. That lady was Wendy Waggoner and she has become a fantastic friend and my go to breeder.  Wendy (Baywind Aussies) is who I eventually got my two time Nationals High in Trial winner, two time Finals Champion dog Stetson from —  the dog that is the reason I was asked to do this article.  This story still brings tears to my eyes!

A few Nationals ago Stetson and I tied for HIT (High in Trial).  I was in Novice and I tied with a Utility dog.   I was nervous but the lady who I tied with actually came up to me and offered to warm me up for the run off.  Now that’s a fantastic competitor and friend. Thanks, Laurie Sasaki, for being a true competitor and friend.

Moral to the stories is that there are a lot of great people out there in the obedience world.  WHAT A FANTASTIC SPORT!

Paddy is a full time Professor and head of The Equine Department at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, CA.  Paddy and her husband John own Tinseltown Aussies and reside in Southern California.