Education

This girl and her dog beat hundreds of agility teams in national contest

Local dog trainer excels at national agility trials

Fifteen-year-old Avery Adams, this week's BND Student of the Week, and her border collie, Spark, competed at the National Agility Trials in Perry, Georgia. They placed 12th out of hundreds of teams led by adult trainers.
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Fifteen-year-old Avery Adams, this week's BND Student of the Week, and her border collie, Spark, competed at the National Agility Trials in Perry, Georgia. They placed 12th out of hundreds of teams led by adult trainers.

Of the 220 dogs at the National Agility Trials in the 16-inch jump height, little Spark and her trainer blew away the competition.

Avery Adams, 15, of Troy, and her dog, Spark, train at Dog Sports at Kim’s, also called DSK, in Caseyville. Avery was introduced to the sport by her grandmother, April Adams, when she was a toddler and doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t around dogs.

She’s always there for me.

Avery Adams on her dog, Spark

Spark and Avery — teams are always introduced dog-name-first, Avery says — took 12th place at the trials, beating hundreds of teams led by adult trainers in Perry, Georgia. She spends about 10 to 20 minutes a day with Spark playing Frisbee or running through agility training.

Avery is an assistant trainer at DSK Dogs, and may have her own classes later this year.

Q: What was the hardest thing for Spark to learn?

A: “‘Obedience,’ which is heeling and retrieving. Easiest is agility, with jumping and A-frames and tunnels.”

Q: How did you get Spark?

A: “She was owned by another lady, and they didn’t really connect. She came here (to DSK Dogs for training) and I fell in love.”

Q: Is she your only dog?

A: She’s the only one that stays at my house. ... She gets to sleep in my bed, gets tons of treats, plays whatever she wants.”

Q: Would she follow another trainer on an agility course?

A: (Ponders a moment.) “No ... unless she had a toy.”

Q: How does she treat you?

A: “She’s very protective of me. If someone comes into my room and I’m not paying attention, she’ll bark at them. She’s my first dog of my own.”

Q: What’s next in competition?

A: “I want to try and qualify for next year’s championship. We have all our points, just need all our double-Q’s.” (Double-Qs show the highest level in the MACH trails, or the Master Agility Championships, said Nancy Curtis, a trainer at DSK Dogs. A double-Q is earned by qualifying on both standard and jumps on the same day of a competition, and a team needs 20 to get a spot in the MACH. Curtis said Spark has “excelled at whatever Avery has done with her.”)

Q: Do you ever get confused on the course, knowing which way to go?

A: “Not normally, no.”

Avery Adams

  • Age: 15
  • School: Triad High School
  • Siblings: Kody, 21 and Nathanial, 9
  • Favorite food: Steaks
  • Favorite school subject: Biology
  • Favorite thing to do: Train dogs

Wyndspell Fireworks, aka “Spark”

  • Age: About 3 years
  • School: DSK Dogs
  • Breed: Border Collie
  • Favorite food: Cheese
  • Favorite school subject: The weave polls
  • Favorite thing to do: Run and agility
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